It is week 2 of these blog posts, and I figured I would do a little update on what we have accomplished, and what we are looking to do. In the past week we’ve had a few personal events, so we haven’t been as busy as some other periods. We are approaching 3 months of this project, just 2 days away, with 3 of us being there for all 3 months and 1 for 2 of the months.
On the software side we’ve worked a lot on our crawler, fixing some little bugs and making it work better. Currently we are working on making a search function, as our Extension works now by searching the Amazon search results of that page. However if all the US made products are deeper in the search results, it won’t turn anything up. This is particularly evident with something like “Candles”, we’ve found thousands of American made Candles, but if you search on Amazon using our Extension it doesn’t turn anything up. So we are making our own search Engine, and when you search on Amazon we will also search in our database to show you appropriate locally made options.
On the research side we’ve found thousands of companies that manufacture exclusively in the US, we have the biggest database of them in the world I believe. We are taking that list and finding their Amazon stores, and then going through them to ensure no other products have managed to be listed under those brands, which happens a lot. We are adding a lot of listings every day, around 5000-10000. We are still working on the question of how to classify products that are minimally processed. Stuff like Chocolate and Coffee, where you can buy US grown and processed versions, however it’s extremely expensive so most is grown abroad and then processed in the US. For the moment we haven’t been including them in our database, as the binary system we currently have doesn’t work that great for them. We’ve been discussing this internally a lot. We could do a system of stars for how local something is made, however there are a number of problems with that. We don’t want to overload people with information, we want it to be as simple as possible. Also, most companies won’t tell us where their materials come from, so we would end up with a much smaller database. For the moment we are following what companies declare, except for cases where the processing is minimal, and we will figure those out later.
On the content creation side we are executing a few things. We are exploring ways to get the word out about our Extension. It’s currently at a stage where it’s useful, and I think quite a few people would like to use it. I will be writing a wide variety of content to determine which clicks with potential users. You can look forward to some company profiles towards the end of this week. On top of that I will be doing these weekly blog posts, they are a version of something we do internally where we keep on track of what we have accomplished and what we are working on.
Our website traffic is still very low at around 10 users a day and it’s the most pressing part of the project, we need some traffic so we get some installs, and we need some installs so we can get feedback on the Extension and find out if it’s something people want.
On the management/organisation side, this blog post is a version of an internal weekly report we do, to keep ourselves focused on our goals and to track our progress in iterating our project. I haven’t been doing much of them so far, as we have been building and haven’t had any expectation or need of traffic. However we are roughly what you could call a launch time and it’s time we start tracking our progress on a weekly basis.
See you next week!