Conceived by its founders as a gadget site where fans could "hang out all day," gdgt combines a sleek interface, gadget database, and social networking-style features to create a forum where the devices are the stars.
gdgt is the brainchild of Peter Rojas and Ryan Block, formerly top editors at groundbreaking technology blogs Gizmodo and Engadget. The site was in the works for about a year, with a placeholder homepage only offering weekly podcasts and a promise of more to come. On July 1, that day arrived.
In an introductory video from Tekzilla co-host Veronica Belmont, the site is described as "The place where your friends and your gadgets come together." Features allow participants to create "Have Lists," "Had Lists," and "Want Lists" of gadgets, to rank the devices, and to post lists to other social networking platforms, like Facebook. Account holders also have the ability to add gadgets to the site's database. The mash-up of social network and technology-driven information continues with features like user reviews and discussions.
In a statement posted on kick-off day, Rojas and Block wrote "it's the gadget site we've always wanted." But, in the spirit of the very technology that gadget fiends find so appealing, the site promises to remain dynamic, and the initial features are only the beginning."
Even the founders were caught off guard by the site's out-of-the-gate popularity. Traffic was immense, and gdgt had spotty accessibility during the first day of operation.
"The response to the site has been amazing, much stronger than we had originally anticipated," Rojas told HispanicBusiness Magazine via email. "We were worried that people wouldn't quite get what we were doing, but I've been very pleasantly surprised that not only have users gotten what we're doing, they've actually been incredibly active with contributions to the product database and adding gadgets to their Have, Want, and Had lists."
Rojas also indicated that he's impressed with the high quality of conversation that the community is engaging in.
Rojas says that there's no direct competition, as far as he knows, but perhaps CBS' CNET.com "would be the closest right now." gdgt's unique functionality is certainly a factor in its popularity, but isn't the whole story. While in light of the economic recession, the launch timing may have seemed counter-intuitive for a consumer electronics-focused site, Rojas has further insight as to why gdgt may be exceeding his initial expectations:
"Interest in gadgets and consumer electronics is still pretty strong. Even if sales aren't booming like they were before the recession, gadgets have gone from being luxuries to necessities," he wrote.
Case in point showing how gadgets have been woven into the fabric of our everyday working lives: Rojas, as busy an entrepreneur as you're likely to meet, responded to HispanicBusiness magazine's inquiries while traveling, via a Lenovo ThinkPad T400s running Ubuntu 9.04 (a Linux-based, open source operating system).
"On my Want List," he wrote, "this is a review loaner!"
Check out the rest of Rojas' Want List and other lists (user.gdgt.com/peter), as well as his and countless others' considered opinions on consumer electronic devices, at gdgt.com
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