What do people use RaveRants for?

February 12, 2010

If you’ve ever visited Google’s offices, one of the coolest displays is in one of their lobbies. There, projected on the wall, is a continually updated list of some of the things people search for. After watching this list for a couple of minutes, one starts to get a sense of the vast range of knowledge that Google helps people discover.

We figured we’d attempt the same thing with RaveRants. Except, rather than making you come to our “headquarters”, you only have to view a Twitter page: http://twitter.com/raveranter to see what people have recently searched for. You can also see a snippet of these searches on the left side of this blog.

While our index is nowhere the size of Google’s, even in our fledgling state it’s interesting to see what interests people. As this post is being written, people are looking up information on websites (Google Buzz), products (iPad), retailers (Costco), movies (MNIK, Book of Eli, Paranormal Activity), celebrities (Justin Bieber), cod (usually a computer game, sometimes the fish), and Santa (hmm… a bit late are we?). That’s a pretty wide range of interests. Long tail indeed.

A note on this search results feed: we screen out terms that might be offensive or NSFW. We also try to filter out searches that have previously occurred in the past few hours, as well as queries that deliver few if any results. The @raveranter twitter user is completely automated; however, the @raverants twitter user is human-edited. We’ll continue to use @raverants for short updates that don’t require a full blog post.

So, what do you make of all the searches that people are doing on RaveRants?


Now searching over one million sentiment patterns

January 20, 2010

People express their likes and dislikes in many different ways. Think of all the different ways you might express that you think that “X is bad” — you might say it disappointed you, or that it’s junk, or that you really, really hate it. While we as humans intuitively understand the meaning of these patterns, they explicitly need to be programmed into software.

We’re pleased to have deployed a new sentiment search algorithm that has a massive English vocabulary, which enables us to recognize over a million ways that people can express that they love or hate something. Further, we’ve reduced the time required to find all these patterns to about 20 seconds. That’s a very short time, considering all the pattern-matching that is happening.

Check out our new rollout, and let us know what you think.

Why use RaveRants?

October 18, 2009

Suppose it’s Friday night, you’re walking downtown, and you’d like to determine which movie to see. If you tried to use a movie rating site like IMDB or Rotten Tomatos, you would have very little content. Why? They don’t update in realtime. And they require users to spend a great deal of time crafting their review. It takes time for these reviews to accumulate.

RaveRants is different. It treats tweets as reviews. Reviews accumulate fast, since it’s easy to tweet out “I’m hating X movie” when you’re still in the theater. RaveRants also indexes reviews in near realtime. This means that RaveRants lets users search on the latest reviews seconds after they occur.

Because of this, RaveRants is ideal for reviews on breaking topics such as recently released movies, TV shows, clubs, books, products, software, games, and web sites.

Another problem with review sites is that they’re silo’d. Back to the Friday night example: does it really make sense to visit Yelp to find a restaurant, IMDB for movies, and so on? Not at all.

RaveRants provides a single site for reviews on any topic you can imagine: movies, TV shows, bands, concerts, albums, software, books, political candidates, ballot measures, products, celebrities, cars, restaurants, clubs, airlines, travel destinations, hotels, local businesses, and power tools.

As a result, RaveRants competes with Yelp, Amazon.com, Epinions, Zagat, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, Netflix, and a host of other companies. It is crazy to have that many competitors? Not at all, in our book.

What is RaveRants?

October 15, 2009

RaveRants is a web-based service that lets you search Twitter for opinion on just about anything: movies, shows, bands, celebrities, products, companies, sports teams, politicians, and more.

RaveRants summarizes how many positive and negative tweets that something has. If you’re searching for a movie, product, band, or show, you can use RaveRants to quickly determine whether it’s worth pursuing.

RaveRants also clusters positive and negative tweets about a particular thing, and lets you quickly ask follow-up questions to each tweet’s author. This helps you get more in-depth information about a product, movie, or band.

Our mission: To organize twitter’s opinions and make them universally accessible and useful. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Hola world

October 14, 2009

Woohoo! RaveRants is now live. Barely. But it works.

Even in its current embryonic state, RaveRants provides some decent insights into how Twitter users feel. Here are a couple:

  • Obama v. Bush: Barack has many more positive than negative tweets, currently about 92% positive. This is way up from before he won the Nobel prize, where it was about 50/50 in terms of positive and negative tweets. However, most of these tweets are supporters of the president who think he didn’t deserve the Nobel. Sorry George Bush fans. The Ex has a low rating on Twitter, with only 21% positive tweets.
  • Adidas v. Nike: Twitterers like Adidas more than Nike. Adidas currently has 91% positive tweets, versus 77% for Nike. Nike’s rating is pulled down by twitterers who are mostly concerned about sweatshops. Evidence that corporate social responsibility concerns impact brand affinity.
  • Coke v. Pepsi: Currently, Coke barely leads Pepsi, with a 65% approval rating versus 59% for Pepsi.

Since Twitter is realtime, these results change minute-by-minute. But that’s the fun thing about RaveRants. It’s a constantly changing view of real-time sentiments of online users.

So, enjoy!

Just don’t beat on RaveRants too hard. And be patient. We know it’s not that fast. It will get better. Promise.