Sunday, March 18, 2007

Amie St : Funk and Functionality

I like Amie St a lot. But there is one thing I find odd. It has all the features of a good web 2.0 company but none of the functionality. Before I explain myself I guess I better give a brief Amie St overview in case you've never heard of them.

Amie St is on online music store with a difference. For a start all songs start out free. A songs price can go up to a maximum of 99 cents based on how many times it bought. Which means everyone has the opportunity to pick up great music at a great price. You can also earn extra credits by recommending songs. The more your recommended songs go up in price the more credits you earn. The other great thing about Amie St is that anyone can get their songs published. Which means it provides a great space to discover new music and for great music to be discovered.

To go back to my original claim. Some of the best things about Amie St is it's web 2.0 features and one of the most frustrating things about Amie St is it's lack of web 2.0 functionality.

When I talk about web 2.0 features I mean that users have a say in what matters on Amie St. A purchase is like a vote and it earns songs a higher value and makes them more visible to buyers. Your recommendations can further promote the songs you like and the system rewards you if users respond to your recommendation. Amie St's web 2.0 features make it a killer app for me. Which is a good thing because I'm finding it's web 1.0 functionality a bit frustrating.

The defining feature of web 2.0 applications is that the action happens within the browser page. You don't need to make a new page request to take some action. In that respect they are similar to desktop applications. But Amie St is all about page requests. Your playlist opens in a little popup window. You need to open a new window or leave a playlist to manage your purchases or to make a recommendation. The only web 2.0 like feature is the tiny dialog that appears to confirm a purchase. But this functionality doesn't exist in the player. There are lots of other things I could point to. But hopefully you get the idea.

Of course Amie St isn't the only web 2.0 service with web 1.0 functionality (most of is very web 1.0). In fact it's this distinction between features and functionality that has made "web 2.0" our best option for a name to describe current trends in web development. If all web 2.0 services offered social networking features without page requests we might have settled on a name that reflects the social aspect of web 2.0. Alernatively if all web 2.0 services had been RIA's (Rich Internet Applications) without a social element we probably been happy with the RIA acronymn. Which begs the question : if a web service can't be considered a RIA does that mean it should be considered a PIA (Poor Internet Application).

If you are wondering where the funk went in this post let me recommend : My House Is So Funky by TnBy.

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