May 25 2009
Every once in a while you come across a website that does exactly what you want. It contains no user groups that you don’t want to join. You don’t have to click through multiple pages of over designed functionality. It’s actually easy to find the information or functionality you need. Such was my experience in using Rhymer.com.
Occasionally I enjoy writing poetry. Trying to find the right words to fit together can be tough. It’s not uncommon to sit in front of the computer or notepad attempting to divine a word that both rhymes and fits. Recently I found myself in this situation, and so I began looking for an online solution. A quick Google search brought up rhymer.com.
The first thing I noticed about Rhymer is that it has a nice box right up front where I could enter the word I wanted. I pushed the button and voilà, a list of rhyming words appeared. They were clear to read, without a bevy of ads getting in the way. It was easy. Almost too easy.
I began to reflect on the simplicity of the site, and wondered how it ended up that way. I noticed that Rhymer appears to be associated with a greater organization, WriteExpress.com. I envision Rhymer being an afterthought in the overall business plan. The Write Express site has a variety of options, offers for demos, marketing rhetoric, shiny little badges and awards. Noise. All of which take away from the basic utility of the site. Here’s where VP’s spent their high paid lunches and board room meetings coming up with extra stuff they think is great. Here’s where original concepts come to die.
Meanwhile, off to the side, is the unwanted step child, rhymer.com. It was probably designed away from the scrutinous eyes of those who are deemed qualified. By qualified I mean influencers that don’t feel they are doing their job unless they change something- anything. If it’s A, change it to B. If B, change to A. The actual modifications don’t really matter as long as they get the opportunity to exert their position of authority upon the team.
And so, I theorize, Rhymer.com has escaped the harmful effects of management looking to secure their position. And for now, it works as expected. It lives happily, under the radar of the hawking eyes that may one day attempt to fix it.
Thanks for the review. I loved it except for one thing: It’s almost completely wrong.
I designed Rhymer.com not at all as “an unwanted step child.” Started in 1988, first release as a $79 DOS software package by WordPerfect (whose owners told me to sell it to them or resign), later bundled with WordPerfect for Windows (as I pushed it forward), returned to me in 1995 as part of a new job offer (six months after I resigned in late 1994), and released by me on Rhymer.com in 1996 (preceding WriteExpress.com by a year), Rhymer is my brainchild and I’m proud of it.
From the perspective of software, it has probably had more influence on mankind than anything else I’ve done. It would have been nice to have created something of greater significance.
I also designed WriteExpress.com and not during “paid lunches and board room meetings coming up with extra stuff they think is great.” In fact, I’ve redesigned it hundreds of times.
Rhymer.com is a free online tool. WriteExpress.com is an online store with how-to articles, similar to Nolo.com.
I’d love to put the WriteExpress.com letter-writing content online for free and just show ads. The problem is that I’d go bankrupt, my 7 kids would be homeless and my wife would probably divorce me out of stress. Unfortunately, nobody wants to hire an entrepreneur unless they were a major success.
If you have a solution for WriteExpress.com, please let me know. I welcome your comments.
Alas, my suspicions have proven false. You went from being my most feared adversary to revered champion. Come to think of it, WriteExpress seems kind of useful. I was checking out the apology letter page, and considered using some of the tips. But then laziness took over so I’ll just acknowledge that my imagination went slightly off course. Congratulations on your success and may Rhymer always persist as a free resource.