Online communities spring up like mushrooms nowadays so it becomes more and more difficult to start one by yourself and compete against the dozens or hundreds of other communities out there.
The clever folks at dodo.com do not (yet) try to compete with big general communities like MySpace, Facebook, Friendster or studiVZ. They try to get their slice of the cake by entering the travelling niche.
Win 15,000 dollars to spend on travelling
The team behind dodo.com is developing their plattform since about nine months and decided that it’s time to go in Open Beta recently. To get the ball rolling and to encourage people to sign up and join the community they are doing a big contest with an incredible value of EUR 10,000 (USD 15,000).
The prize is a trip around the world:
The trip around the world can be organized from us or by yourself, as long as it does not exceed the value of â‚¬10,000 ($15,000).
What do have to do to win the contest and start your big trip? It’s pretty easy. Collect lots (“points”) by performing the following activities:
- sign up at dodo.com
- enter travel tipps
- enter travelogues (travel “diary”)
- upload your travel photos
- upload your travel videos
- invite friends
- set a link to dodo.com from your website
You get lots for each activity. Signing up for example gets you started with 2 lots, uploading a video earns 1 lot, setting a homepage link to dodo.com is worth 5 lots and so on. The more lots you have, the bigger your chance to win the trip around the world. The contest ends on 31st December 2008. The sooner you start the better. So jump at the chance and enter the contest now!
How does dodo.com work?
dodo.com is an online community specialized in us folks who like to travel and who like to share our experience, photos, videos and so on with likeminded people.
I like the idea. But how does it work? Let’s put it into practice!
Registering at dodo.com is pretty straightforward and shortly after you find yourself in the travelling “cockpit” (“Overview”) where you can enter traveltips, create travelogues (like a diary of your travels), upload photos and videos of your travels and complete your userprofile.
If you are interested in the experiences and travel tips of other people just surf around dodo.com, read articles of others, have a look at their photos and videos and add them to your buddy list. It’s like “friending them” in MySpace-jargon. If you want to friend me, just visit my profile at dodo.com by clicking here.
There is a small map (powered by GoogleMaps) in the “Overview” which displays your travels as small flags. You and all people who visit your profile see where you’ve been at first glance. It’s a real nice overview. The more flags you have all over the world the cooler it is of course. But don’t cheat, be honest!
While testing dodo.com for this review, I stumpled on some things which should be improved at any rate. Of course the site is still in Beta and the team is continually working on improvements. So here are the things I noticed. I hope it helps.
Assigning photos to a travelogue
When creating a new travelogue i did not find any option to assign already uploaded photos to this travelogue. It’s possible to upload photos while creating a travelogue which are then assigned to it automatically. This is fine. But it would be nice if there would be a possibility to assign photos that have been already uploaded before. This happened to me while creating my city trip to Venice. I created the travel, uploaded the photos, created a new travelogue and now what? I would have to upload the photos again to assign them to the travelogue.
Photo mass upload
Uploading several photos is a real pain in the ass. I uploaded 21 photos of my Venice trip and had to upload them one by one. A mass uploader is definitely a must have. There’s no way around.
After clicking “Send” when inviting a friend the form with “Name” and “e-mail” disappears without any further notice. Did it happen? What did happen? How can I invite more friends?
I have to click on “My Friends” again to get the form back and invite another friend. One.
My suggestion: Mass invitation like used in e.g. Flickr. There are several fields for several e-mail-addresses and the option to invite all friends out of your e-mail address-book. And please add a confirmation message like “thanks, your friends have been invited”.
A friend who accepts the invitation and registers for dodo.com should be added to the buddy list automatically. This does not happen at the moment. I got the lots for sucessfully inviting someone and a message “New buddy request from user” but it would be really helpful if the person would be a friend automatically. I would not invite someone if I would not like this person to be my dodo.com-friend.
As dodo.com is in Betaversion there are still some bugs. This is normal and the team behind dodo.com is working hard to fix all errors. This should keep no one from using dodo.com and entering the contest.
dodo.com works and I’m sure it will get even better in the future. So start using it and help them to improve the system further by reporting all bugs you’ve noticed via their Problem box (can be found at the bottom of each page).
This is what I’m going to do with all the bugs I’ve found while doing this review.
There’s also a blog which introduces the people behind dodo.com, their experiences and some other behind the scenes stuff. This is a great idea to connect with the dodo.com-users.
The blog features a RSS-feed (RSS 2.0, Atom 0.3) which is a great possibility to stay up to date with the content for all tech- and blog-savvy visitors. Not so tech-savvy users won’t use this feature as RSS is not as commonly used (outside the blogosphere) as predicted some years ago.
My suggestions to improve the blog and increase readership:
- Add a highly visible RSS-button (Link 1, Link 2) to your blog.
- Burn your feed with Feedburner, activate the e-mail-subscription for the feed and implement it into your blog in a highly visible position (e.g. like here on viZZZual.com). Use one of these e-mail-buttons.
- Get into a posting frequency. E.g. once a week on monday an article about the current (Beta) status: “Things are going well we have fixed 63 bugs and 3 ants. Thanks to all who reported them.” Keep people informed what’s going on, that’s the whole purpose of a blog.
- Register your blog at Technorati (the “blog search engine”). A lot of people with blogs are there. And some of them already wrote reviews about dodo.com. Connect your Technorati profile with them. Here’s the viZZZual.com Technorati profile for example.
- The list could go on … If you are interested in learning how to increase your readership and your users with your blog, subscribe to the godfather of all blogging knowledge: www.problogger.net.
All told I think dodo.com is a great thing for all people interested in travelling. For me personally it’s an additional way to spread the word about viZZZual.com.
I’m going to use it regularly in the future and will win the $ 15,000 contest, that’s for sure. You don’t stand a chance!
But you can try by entering the contest by clicking here.
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