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    RateSavvy.com - A new twist on business directories


    Hey guys. I've been working on this site for a little bit. I know it's best practice to present a finished website, but this is 95% of the way there. It will cost me money to continue work on this, which I will spend, if I receive some positive reviews.

    I've been working on this off and on for quite some time, here are the flaws I know - The search function can only index about 7 states. I also have only about 2,000,000 listings geocoded, so you'll only be able to do a location search around illinois, alaska, and most of california. The search issue is a lack of memory problem - I need to quadruple my amount of ram in order for the search function to index all states, and support bulk spatial searches. There is a mobile version with auto redirect, so feel free to check that out too: http://m.ratesavvy.com/

    Also, it's a little bare in some areas (always open to suggestions, but don't feel obligated).

    If you're going to try some sql injection, please nothing like DROP, or any form of delete (the back-ups are a day or two old)

    Like stated before, there's no point in me continuing if I'm not gonna spend the money on RAM, and I won't spend the money on RAM if it seems useless.

    Without further ado, the site is http://www.ratesavvy.com/

    I'm mostly looking for reviews on general functionality, usability, and applicability.

    Say your worst, I have thick skin
    Last edited by ntomsheck; February 23rd, 2011 at 03:14 PM.
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    functionality seems alright but what makes your site special?

    Also the design is a bit of a turn off and just looks very elementary.
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    Aye, I have to work on the design a little bit. Pertaining to that, what color should I use around the search bar? I wanted to stay away from orange, since people already have a hard enough time finding it....

    The site focuses on prices business charge. I know it has very few (read: one) listed prices - here is an example: http://www.ratesavvy.com/finite.php?ID=88040

    However, I have a bunch of friends that are willing to work for very cheap to fill it up with some prices (I'm thinking of starting with 1,000 per major city, 10,000 per major metropolitan area).

    I have yet to find a business directory that hands out associated costs. Otherwise it would just be an offshoot of yellowpages or yahoo local.
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    it looks nice
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    I like it alot...


    Love the idea of people developing from scratch.
    I can see many challenges... marketing, keeping the data relevant and fresh.

    This is developed from Scratch? or what did you use as your base code?

    I would suggest for you to target only one or 2 BIG cities with high populations to see how well it will be received and how many people will learn of it and participate. If you try to do many cities at start, u just gonna have lots of empty categories and so on. Will keep an eye on ya, just wanna see how u will move foward. I also play with a homemade directory. but I do not take my serious
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    From scratch good sir. Thank you for the advice, it will pretty much just start around Chicago and other large Illinois cities, since that is the only large state completely geocoded (it's a slow processes when there is a 50,000 address/day limit). I'll still include the entire database, since at worse, the site is just a regular business directory. Thanks for the encouragement, by the way.
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    Very ambitious.

    I would change your font to a sans serif, perhaps match your forum font.

    I would drop the black. Gives a feeling of dread. Most directory programs have a basic black on white. I would look at Angieslist.com for ideas on color.

    While I can't agree with you more that prices of services is a good idea, the db maintenance would quickly be a nightmare; and I suspect that most will low ball their real price depending on how it fits their market. A tremendous effort without a sustainable result.

    Alex
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    Originally Posted by AlexNinjaFighte
    Very ambitious.

    I would change your font to a sans serif, perhaps match your forum font.

    I would drop the black. Gives a feeling of dread. Most directory programs have a basic black on white. I would look at Angieslist.com for ideas on color.

    While I can't agree with you more that prices of services is a good idea, the db maintenance would quickly be a nightmare; and I suspect that most will low ball their real price depending on how it fits their market. A tremendous effort without a sustainable result.

    Alex
    Aye, I've spent close to 6 months off and on trying to work out every little problem that will crop up. I have come up with a few separate solutions for handling this. I suppose we'll see as the site gains more and more traffic (again, not sure of the percentage of people who view : percentage of people who will update information)

    I am thinking about dropping the black as well. When I originally started the site, it was lacking a lot of content, so there was a lot of white which made my eyes cringe going from a darker page. Obviously, there's a lot more content now. I'll also look at sans serif. I've had a couple different font requests, so I'm also going to try verdana and see how I like it. If everything falls into place, the site should be ready in about a week or two.

    There is a full back end management section by the way (another reason this project took close to 6 months). I agree with the nightmare of database management, so I'm trying to solve as many problems as possible with a simple user interface. Thank you for your suggestions
    Last edited by ntomsheck; March 29th, 2011 at 02:38 AM. Reason: Removed information on code function - felt it necessary to prevent idea-copying (or slow it down)
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    You need a better design! You can always get free or premium templates for cheap to get a better design and you need a better logo.

    You need search hints for the business names and city/state.

    As with the indexing, you don't need to indexing everything in memory you can use search engines like Lucene or solr to index all the stuff that you want in on your file system and search off of that index not directly off of database.

    That's what I do for my website and I cache the search results. It is good to have those stuff in RAM but you don't need to put everything in RAM.
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    Haha I already am using Solr, but the whole solr index has to fit in RAM for the spatial searches and distance ordering, and even for indexing. Solr can only hold 7.5M entries before failing completely, and at 7.5M I can't even make use of the spatial searches (as you can see).

    Describe what you mean by search hints - a little ajax for an autocomplete type thing? Or do you mean when a search returns zero results?

    BTW, I am updating the design as we speak. I'll do a couple drafts, and let you guys know when I've moved the the files to my web server. I'm ditching the completely gunmetal background like Alex suggested, making the search bar bigger, and giving it an entire row (instead of next to the quick-links div).
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    Alright, revision one is up and running. I ditched most of the gunmetal grey for white. There are still what I would call dark grey "accents" with orange... accents haha. Tomorrow, I'll probably work on color scheme since all I did today was just redesign the layout (slightly, but it looks much different and more modern).

    By the way, I'm using CSS3 drop-shadows, so only IE9, and newer version of firefox and safari will support it. I'll set up a more browser-compatible solution soon.

    edit: New color scheme utilized. Let me know what you guys think!
    Last edited by ntomsheck; March 28th, 2011 at 11:06 AM.
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    Your website design seems pretty simple. Some people might lose interest because the fact that it seems you did not put much time and thought into the design. They might think every thing about the site is just as simple.

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