Marshall Kirkpatrick reviewed Tabblo on TechCrunch today. I'm of two minds about the review.
On the one hand, TechCrunch is a widely-read blog (as of this writing, it is sixth on Technorati's list of top blogs). It will surely bring Tabblo attention, and from an influential set of people.
And the review is very positive. Despite some qualifiers, the tone is upbeat and enthusiastic, so I am thankful for that.
But there are a number of jarring notes, beginning with the very first word (in the title): "Wiki your photo posters with Tabblo". When did we verb "wiki"? I thought it was a noun. And while I think association with the "wiki ethos" (as Marshall puts it) is a good thing, I'm not sure we have that association. Maybe we do, and I just need to get used to the cognitive leap Marhall has made.
Marshall casts our goals a bit narrowly. He's drawn us as purely concerned with printed products. It's true we have put a lot of energy into making great-looking printed products, and we have based our business model on revenue from those products. Our attention to print is one of the things that sets us apart from other photo sites.
But we are also building a great site for sharing stories through photos, even if they are only online. A spirited community is taking shape on Tabblo, as people share photos and tabblos, and get to know each other from their work. So while printing is a big part of the Tabblo ecosystem, it is not the whole story.
Just on a technical level, I was disappointed by this:
The template design function in Tabblo is quite usable. It's in dHTML, not ajax or flash...
Ajax must be one of the most over-hyped and mis-understood technologies around these days (this is the second time in two weeks that I've heard Ajax contrasted not with an opposite, but with a complement). And what's with the capitalization? Can't we get a modicum of editing on this post? I don't expect the writers at TechCrunch to be writing code, but is it too much to ask that they understand the fundamentals of the technologies they are touting or trashing?
I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. The review is positive. Marshall mentions a number of our feature innovations, including variations (letting others do a Save As on your tabblo, and using it as a starting point for the own creative impulses), our template engine, and undo, to name just a few. The comments include the usual trolls, but we're getting good feedback there as well. The word about Tabblo is spreading.