Review: Gogobot


Gogobot bills itself as a social travel site. It is part reviews, part recommendations and part passport of your travels. I’ve been using it for almost a couple years now, and I love it. It is full of terrific information that seems much realer than Yelp or similar services.

I was originally drawn to Gogobot just before I left for Switzerland. I read about this new startup that was hooking up social and travel in compelling ways and thought it might be useful. One of the cool social features is its integration with Foursquare. I hooked up my account and now it auto imports places I’ve been right into Gogobot. On occasion, I go back through and look at my recent imports. This gives me a good place to start when I want to post reviews of recent places I’ve been.

You do not have to be a Foursquare user to take advantage of Gogobot. You can add other places via their website or mobile app. I went through and added a lot of trips I took before ever having Foursquare. After you have added a few places you have been, you start building your digital passport. It gives you a nice breakdown of the countries, cities and individual places you’ve been. Sometimes I find myself just browsing it to relive old memories.

Screenshot of a Gogobot passport page.

Like many other travel sites, reviews are part of Gogobot. You can add a star rating, a short text review and/or photos to any place on Gogobot. It is pretty standard stuff, but when combined with the other site features, it becomes quite handy.

One of the coolest features, and one that sets it apart from the pack, is letting users ask questions to the community. Let’s say I’m headed to Toronto for a weekend and want to know the best places to eat or how to spend my Saturday afternoon. I can head over to Gogobot and post a question. Anyone who has been to Toronto (or my friends) would automatically see my question show up in their feed. If my friends so choose, they can add places I should check out.

Something that makes Gogobot fun to use is its gamification. There are a number of badges you can earn for various things like adding photos or reviews and having other people like your reviews. Each time you do an action (even visiting the site once a day) you earn points. There is a site-wide leaderboard that you can compete to be on top of (I used to be in the top 100, but as the site grew and I explored the world less, I’m in the 300s now. Each year Gogobot chooses members with outstanding contributions and badges them as pros. I was a 2012 pro, and it was pretty cool to have that little badge on my avatar throughout the site. There are even pro meetups in major cities (SF, NYC, Chicago), but I could never attend one. Maybe next year.

I’ve watched Gogobot really grow in the last couple of years. When I first started using it, there was not a lot of content outside of some major cities, and there were not a lot of users. It has since really blossomed, and now contains a wealth of information. The site itself has added many new features like making reservations for hotels and restaurants right on the site. Overall I’m extremely pleased with it. I find it quite useful for planning trips, or even discovering cool places I want to visit someday.

Happy foursquare day!

4sq Day 2012 logo

Today (4/16) is foursquare day. Get it? What started as a clever play on numbers by a blogger in Tampa has turned into an international celebration. Foursquare has even jumped on board and offers a special 4sq day logo, badge and t-shirt. There are meetups and events all over the world today that will bring people together. Other platforms that use the foursquare venue database like Untappd are getting in on the fun. All of this over a little app that people use to check-in and explore the world around them. It’s really pretty amazing if you think about it.

Here in Kalamazoo the fine folks behind Foursquare Kalamazoo have organized an entire week of social media events. There’s some really cool events happening and I’m going to try to attend as many as I can. I will definitely check out tonight’s 4s Day event at Celebration! Cinema. It sounds great. If you’re in the area, you should definitely check it out too. Aren’t on foursquare yet? Here’s a post to get you started.

Meaki is Pinterest for Web Designers

Pinterest is quite a big deal right now. It’s branched out beyond just ladies pinning crafts and has even become popular with companies and sports teams. I’ve had an account for a while and I think it’s a great services. It’s a great way to keep track of cool stuff you find on the net. That said, I don’t use it. It doesn’t fill the one need I really wanted to use it for, pinning websites. On Pinterest, you’d need to screenshot a website, then upload that screenshot and paste in the link of the website. That’s a lot of work just to pin a cool looking webpage. After that realization, I pretty much pushed Pinterest aside and all but forgot about pinning.

Enter Meaki. It does exactly what I was looking for. Instead of just pinning a single image from a website, it actually pins the whole site. It’s perfect for web designers. I often come across websites with a cool feel or a neat trick that I’d like to remember for later. Inspiration is all over the web and as a designer it’s nice to have a collection of said inspiration easily accessible when your next project comes along. Meaki makes that easy. You just get their “Clip-it” bookmarklet and then “clip” any cool websites you come across. When you go back to your collections on the Meaki website you can see the whole site you clipped, not just an image from it.

A possible issue I see is what happens if a site makes changes after you’ve clipped it? Does Meaki actually save the site when you capture it or just embed the site? I haven’t been using it long yet but so far Meaki is a very promising service and I think it will fit in to my workflow quite nicely. I could even see creating a collection of sites for a particular project and then sharing that with a client as an online mood board. While their interface isn’t quite as slick as Pinterest yet, Meaki is still a very young service so I expect it to get better over time. It might not ever gain the widespread and mainstream success of Pinterest but I think within the niche market of web designers (and those who prefer visual bookmarks), Meaki could really take off.