Interestmix: Rate stuff and meet people all at once

It was the best blind date ever.  When your eyes met, you felt butterflies.  The movie was awesome, and you found yourself inching closer towards him during the scary parts.  After that, you had drinks, and if were possible, it got even better.  Your signs are compatible.  He is a great communicator.  He loves his mother.  Things are quite promising.

Then, as the night winds down, you ask the obligatory question, “What kind of music do you like?”  (FYI: you like Os Mutantes, Leonard Cohen, and Thelonious Monk.)  And, after taking a deep gulp of his Coors Lite bottle (your favorite!), he says, “I am obsessed with Nickleback.”  You spit out your beer and start choking.  The busboy gives you mouth-to-mouth, and when you regain consciousness, your date is hovering above you.  Your first words are, “Nickleback?”

“Oh my God, I love them,” he says.  “I actually followed them on tour last year, and it was amazing until they hit me with the restraining order.”

Dude likes Nickleback in an un-ironic way.  And with that, the dream is over.  Next time you’d be better off meeting cool people on Interestmix.

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Interestmix is a place where you can rate and review pretty much everything in one place.  Consider it a user-friendly mash up of sites like Amazon, Yelp, Metacritic, and countless others.  It’s a schmorgasborg.  A delectable bouillabaisse.  Better yet, Interestmix tracks your ratings, and over time, can suggest things you may like and put you in touch with like-minded folks (who can in turn recommend stuff.)  To that last point, don’t let my (long-winded?) opening anecdote lead you astray: Interestmix is *not* a dating site, but two things are irrefutable: 1) It’s great to meet people who have the same musical or artistic tastes as you (even if it’s platonic!) and 2) Interestmix is really good and putting you in touch with similar people, and if you end up meeting a fellow Sun Ra fan, and you choose to elope within 48 hours, is that really a bad thing?

Interestmix lets you rate stuff across the following categories: Movies, Music, Restaurants, Nightlife, Activities, TV, Wine, and Culture.  There’s also a page for Members.  Let’s a take a look at the Music section.  Albums popped up, and it was laid out very simply.  Each had a rating and a user’s comment below.  Click on the album and you’re taken to a page with its tracklisting, date of release, and most importantly, the reviews.  By clicking on the user’s comment on the previous page, you’re taken to – you guessed it – a page of all of their cumulative comments.  (Screen shot is below.  And you have to register – it’s free – to do this.)  Once you register, you can invite friends and pick your experts – people whose opinion you really, really respect – and be kept up to date on their reviews.  This process can be made easier by clicking on the Members page, to search each member individually.

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As a first-time user I was…relieved when I hit the home page.  Relieved in that the design was simple and soothing (nothing like aqua blue), with intelligent use of space.  I also saw familiar album covers, which also piqued my interest.  The navigation itself was quite simple.  A couple of suggestions:

* When I clicked on the Music tab, I could see, on the left, that I could sort the results by “Most Reviewed” and “Highest Rated,” as well as by genre.  That said, I wasn’t sure what the default sorting arrangement was (it wasn’t by “Highest Rated,” because “A Love Supreme,” listed third, had a higher rating – thank goodness! – than the first album displayed.)

* A version 2.0 comment is this: browsing by members is super-fun, but, in my quest to find an expert, it’s hard for me to know the precise areas of expertise for each.  I can sort by topic – and that’s extremely helpful – but it’s be cool if each could show a brief area of expertise (e.g. “Beatles,” “Italian Food,” “Lost,” “red wine”) on the search result page.  I admit, that’d make things a bit more cluttered, but it’d save people time in expert-hunting.

I must also say, is effective in getting users to contact other members.  For starters, sites like Amazon don’t have pictures for commenters and even if it did, their layout stresses me out.  Interestmix’s tidiness is refreshing, and seeing that person X, for example, posted an insightful comment on a cool album, makes me want to say what’s up to her (in a platonic way, of course.)  So I think Interestmix is great.  That said, I can’t say the same for your Nickleback friend.   You kept things platonic for sure, if by “platonic” I mean that you testified as a character witness in his stalking trial.  I think it’d best you two just remained friends.

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