While not fully sure what Amazon’s new Web 2.0 compliant (just check out that font with rounded letters, the ‘beta’ designation and the use of Ruby on Rails) “UnSpun” is or exactly how it works , I signed up on it yesterday to give it a whirl (an unwhirl?). It is described as a community collaboration tool for building consensus rankings. In other words, it’s supposed to be a way to get a community of people (in this case, the people who are participants of the Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program and people who are registered on UnSpun) to create a list and then rank it.
One can request a list on UnSpun (if one doesn’t already exist) and when it is submitted, the Mechanical Turk elves (who are paid) start working on it somehow. I requested a list called “Best Christmas Music” and couldn’t figure out what else to do, so I logged-off.
I checked back in today. It took me a few tries to remember the name and to find it, however. I thought I’d be able to access through my Amazon.com account, but I didn’t see the link to it anywhere obvious. (Note to self: unspun.amazon.com)
Here’s the current ranking of the Best Christmas Music list I requested. It now has 39 songs listed (a couple of which are quite amusing) and the rankings are being voted up and down. The site has tools that allow users to merge redundant items on the list: I merged “Bing Crosby” and “White Christmas,” for example.
After seeing what happened to my list suggestion, I now get it. It’s like Digg. Except for stuff. And rather than being attached to a specific product on Amazon.com — i.e., each song on my list is not linked to a specific SKU on Amazon — the items listed are linked to a page that provides numerous ways to search for the item: A9, Amazon, Google, Wikipedia, Windows Live and Google. In wiki-like fashion, on that page, users can add links or comments about the specific item.
I’m impressed. But then, I’m easily impressed with rounded-fonts.