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Blank vs. Blank, or, I Have an Idea for a Website

Mashable does a series of polls called "Web Faceoff" that pit similar Internet phenomena against one another, e.g. GTalk vs. AIM, Foursquare vs. Yelp, Nexus One vs. iPhone 3GS, and so on. This week, the Web Faceoff was "Chatroulette vs. Hot or Not." My first thought was, "…Huh?"

I read on to see why these two, to my mind, very different sites were matched up in the pen. Chatroulette, which was launched in late 2009, is a webcam-based chat site that matches you up with a random stranger. Hot or Not, launched almost a decade earlier, shows viewers user-submitted photos and allows them to rate the photos on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being smoking hot, naturally). What's the connection? According to Mashable, they both share a "philosophy of randomness."

Huh. Yeah, I guess so. It would make more sense to me to match up two rating sites, or two chat sites, but OK. The important thing is, this gave me an idea for a website: Blank vs. Blank! My site, too, has a philosophy of randomness. Blank vs. Blank, in fact, would pair up two completely random things in a faceoff, much like Mashable's faceoffs, and users would choose one or the other before being presented with another—random and unrelated—choice.

One of the fascinating things about my website is that it's not clear what the user is choosing—are they voting for the better of the two random, unrelated things? Can one even say which of two random things is better? You're comparing apples and oranges, or, more likely, apples and gorillas, or apples and apartheid. Also, will the results be presented back to the viewer at some point? Over time, we'll have enough data to basically rank everything in the universe against everything else. Apartheid will probably rank rather poorly. Pizza and Santa Claus, probably pretty high. But would all that data be made publicly available, or just stored on the back-end for eventual/nefarious use in some sort of master plan?

All that will have to be discussed when I get my first round of funding.

In the meantime, here's a preview of the Blank vs. Blank user experience!

Orchid vs. Odometer:

 orchid vs. odometer

Corn Dogs vs. Ben Franklin:

 corn dogs vs. ben franklin

Lake Erie vs. Arrows:

lake erie vs. arrows

I hope this doesn't already exist.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Photo credits: Orchid (http://www.flickr.com/photos/anniemole/3222479440/); Odometer (http://www.flickr.com/photos/emdot/7189806/); Corn Dogs (http://www.flickr.com/photos/intangible/2313038291/); Ben Franklin (http://www.flickr.com/photos/perpetualplum/4408336967/); Lake Erie (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicholas_t/3782116143/)

Comments

Rick
Mar 19, 2010

Elisa,

Brilliant! This could be even a bigger waste of time than Facebook. Can I sign up to beta test it?

Rick

Elisa Gabbert
Mar 19, 2010

Absolutely! Want to help me build it first?

Rick
Mar 19, 2010

Sure, but you'll need to find another name for it first. http://blankvsblank.com is already taken. The home page, fittingly, is blank white screen.

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