New gadget-grazing site Droolr is giving users a way to discover hot new gadgets, although it comes up a bit short in the usefulness department.
Josh LowensohnFormer Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Droolr is the newest single-serving site from the folks at Stateless Systems, the makers of BugMeNot, TrendsMap, and coupon site RetailMeNot. The site, which went live early Wednesday, caters to online shoppers who may not follow gadget blogs, but that still want a steady influx of shiny things to look at, and maybe even purchase.
The site takes a page from places like Digg, and the recently launched Deals.Woot site in letting users submit, and vote up items of interest. In this case, it's tech products, which are then categorized by whatever tags are provided by the submitter. The most-voted on items then jump to the front page where they'll hopefully garner more votes.
When an item is voted up and into popularity, it earns the user who submitted it karma (just like Reddit). For now, karma doesn't yield any special perks beyond a number that sits next to your user name and a spot in the top karma-getters box on the front page of the site. Stateless says that in the future, certain features could be added to the site that only high-karma count users will be able to access.
Other features include a way to round up items into a wish list, which can be shared for others. You can also recommend items to people you follow on the service. These recommendations, along with items you note as "wanting" can be spit out as updates to your Twitter or Facebook account.
Notably missing from the system is a way to monitor the pricing of any of these items. Instead, the site acts as more of a place for new or otherwise noteworthy consumables to get attention. To be honest, there are enough of these sites around, and Droolr doesn't add a whole lot in the way of features to make itself stand out. I would, for instance, like to see prices included on each item, along with a stringent dupe detector, as I was easily able to submit the same item twice. Considering there's no way to flag items as being a duplicate, or inappropriate, it leaves the onus on Stateless to keep Droolr clean.
It would also be great to see an automated roundup of where items have shown up in press/blog mentions, as most of the front page items I saw while testing had appeared in gadget blogs from the past week. This may seem insignificant, but those posts tend to have a lot more information and/or an editorial touch that the person who submitted that item does. Gadget site Gdgt does this to some degree, although its users add these links manually.
Another feature that's missing is a way to see if there are any coupons or discounts for that item from an online store. This one makes a lot of sense given that Droolr's sister site is RetailMeNot, which specializes in online coupons and rebates. Bringing together those two ecosystems seems quite logical to me, and would give the site more staying power. As it stands, there's not much to keep users coming back for that next hit of gadgety goodness.