On the Introduction of “Guides” (née “Omuse”)

Posted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:30 pm Post subject: Giving you a sneak preview: try Omuse and give me feedback

Dear Auction Colleagues,

We have completed the basic development of our new tab (that one at the far right that has been saying, “Coming Soon!” for six weeks). It is called “Omuse” and it will be going live for the whole world to see in a week or so. O hope that you will give it a try. Even though the tab is not live yet, you can get there directly by typing omuse.overstock.com .

A good description of it was sent out today by its designer and creator, Judd Bagley, in a letter to some folks in the blogging community (some of whom are friends of his, some not). I copy and paste his letter below. Judd and I are big fans of 2.0, but we both see that there is a niche that is not currently being filled there.

Please remember that it is beta: that means, it is not fully launched, the tab is not live, we undertand there are bugs, and we are asking our friends to come give it a try in order to get your feedback, and so that we may hear about any bugs or ways to improve it. Please come back to this message board and share your feedback with Judd and me.

Oh yes: the best part is, we are viewing this as an extension of the Overstock Community, and so your auction sign-on will work on this new tab.



My name is Judd Bagley, Director of Social Media at Overstock.com. I’ve spent the past few months creating something we’re calling Omuse, which is an open environment for people with similar interests to find one another and jointly “write the book” on the activities they most enjoy.

You can find omuse at http://omuse.overstock.com

We’ve just entered an open beta phase and I want to give you the opportunity to get acquainted with Omuse and, if you wish, be among our earliest contributors by creating a guide to participating in whatever activity you find most interesting.

At this point, the question we most frequently hear is: “what should I write about?”

The answer is simple: Imagine you won the lottery tomorrow and never had to work again. What activity would you immediately set about doing day after day? This is likely the activity that most inspires you, though the one most people around you – spouses included – don’t entirely “get.”

It may be the same thing you blog about, but not likely. It’s almost certainly not the thing you do for a living, but if it is, you’re very lucky.

Whatever that thing is, that’s what we want your guide to be about.

As a guide’s creator, you are in charge of it. You may build it alone or – as we would recommend – with the help of others who share your passion. You get to decide who joins your team and the direction you take together.

Omuse is built on a wiki platform, so we’re frequently asked what makes it different from Wikipedia, for example. I’ve arrived at two answers to that question:

1- Where Wikipedia forbids the inclusion of original research, we like to think of Omuse as being built exclusively on original research, recognizing that everybody is an expert at something, and it’s usually the thing they most enjoy doing.

2- Where Wikipedia endeavors to be like an encyclopedia, where one version of the “truth” must be consistent throughout, we’ve built Omuse to be more like a library, where alternate approaches to the same topic set side-by-side are not only acceptable, but a sign of our success.

We expect Omuse to become the foremost source of practical and applied knowledge online, and hope you’ll help us accomplish that goal by launching a guide and encouraging others to do the same.

To get started, go to http://omuse.overstock.com, register, then click the button reading “Create a Guide,” then give your guide a title, and you’re on your way.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

[email protected]

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