Review 3402

Ian is from Malta, and is a skilled graphics and web designer. In addition, he is a superb photographer and world traveler. The aptly titled “Ian’s Travels” is a photojournal/blog outlining his recent trips to places like Sicily, Cambodia, Tanzania and Morocco.

The site is slick and verygood looking. The navigation in the top bar and side bar is flash driven, and the slideshows are Flickr-based (I presume from the pink and blue dancing circles on the loading photo screen).

The site is refreshing to behold after looking at countless blogs built with blogging tools instead of sites built the old-fashioned, hand-designed way of yore. Ian has a great eye for layout and user interface and this comes from the vocational information outlined on his About me page..

The bulk of the site is photography-driven, and his photography is quite stellar. I spent an hour just walking through his overviews, Sicily, the stunt photography… everything. But here is my criticism: With photoblogs, there is something lacking. Supporting narrative or simple captioning so we know what we’re looking at or what Ian was experiencing during his trips.

I know a picture can say a thousand words, but a few more words flowing from the hand of the artist himself would augment the site in wonderful ways. I think for example of a recently weblog reviewed photo blog by Massachusetts based photographer Tom Sheehan (see for the review and link to his site) who photographs locations mostly within his own neighborhood, but explains why he framed a particular picture the way he did, or what drew him to the spot to photograph.

In Ian’s News section, there are a handful of short articles, including a nice “to do” list that really gives an idea of where he wants to head in life. The About me page is very informative but talks more about his vocational life than his passion for travel and photography.

I enjoyed my visit here, but left feeling like I didn’t get the “full picture,” to throw out a bad pun. I would love to hear more from Ian… in addition to seeing where his eyes fall across the vast landscapes of this world.

I am giving the site a 2.75 rating for right now, because it is a very young blog, and I think Ian shows a lot of promise. Perhaps a re-review in a year, with some more content and some more narrative will boost that rating.


Review 3379

The Petsumer Report Blog is an interesting blog. Prior to reading I felt it would be a site to complain about the pet food recalls, but after reading the blog the author actually presents “decent” information about the pet food that has and has not been recalled. The author Susan Thixton appears to know what she is talking about, but I am hesitant to take her words as the bible for I could not find any academic or educational training or background that would make me believe her words. For instance, anyone who reads the law and stays current with the law can tell and state their opinion about it, but if the same individual did not go to law school and pass a bar exam then that person is not considered a lawyer. If the person who just reads the law practices, they are considered practicing without a license.

This blog claims to put forward the truth about pet food and how the companies create such food, but I as an individual pet owner feel that some of the things she says hold no merit, especially without credentials to back up her statements. She states much coincidental evidence towards why certain foods are good or bad for your pets. For instance, she discusses a specific chemical that is harmful to animals and “has invoked cancer” in some animals, and claims in a negative tone that it is acceptable for pet food manufacturers to use this product. She proceeds on stating how this chemical should not be used in the foods, but, correct me if I am wrong, there are numerous products that are approved for use in human food that cause the same effects by themselves or in high doses. I think that her blog could be better if she stepped back from the problem, and working through both the good and bad effects of the food she is reviewing. If you start with a bad opinion of a product, a bad opinion is what you have in the end.

The design of the site is very simple; it did take a little longer to load. The site is still too new to say too much about. It began in May of 2007 and has a total of 7 articles on the whole site. It has a simple orange and white background with red and black text. Each article is backed by a light shade of blue for easy distinguishing of what is the blog and what is extra. I feel the blog does have potential.

I would make the following recommendations. If Susan does have credentials to support analyzing chemistry or psychology, she should post her credentials to the site. She does state that she has created a video for how home owners can train their dogs. This does not make you a subject matter expert in how a dog thinks or how food is produced. The next thing is cite your sources better so that readers can hold the claims at a higher standard than just, “I said so!” If this is going to hit 20/20 or Good Morning America I feel these credentials need to be met. Plus it will make your argument stronger. Keep up the good work and continue on your quest to find out the truth. Just do me a favor and prove it rather than state a hypothesis with the appearance of truth.

Review 3379

I’ve never been an avid reader of Consumer Reports; I figure if I buy something and it ends up being a piece of junk, that’s my loss. But when it comes to buy toys, supplies, or even food for my dog, I do as much research as I can, because he can’t really tell me what he thinks about it. As foolish as it might sound to non-pet owners, I think anyone that finds themselves as attached to their pet as I am will find the Petsumer Report Blog a valuable tool.

The site is still relatively new, having less than half a dozen posts so far. As long as the author, who seems very devoted to the issue she’s blogging about, keeps things rolling with this site, it definitely has the potential not only become more popular, but help pet owners everywhere make better decisions on what to buy or feed their pets.

Susan, the author of the site, has worked in the pet industry for over 20 years, according to the brief about section on the site. She’s an accomplished dog trainer and author, giving her the perfect background and wonderful credibility to publish a site like this.

The layout is one of the standard Typepad layouts, which makes since considering that’s where it’s hosted. There aren’t many added bells and whistles to the site, and while the minimalistic look is good at times, I think a site like this could benefit from other links, product recommendations, or something along those lines to enhance the different information in each post.

Petsumer Report is clearly a very helpful site. The author mentions having sent out a press release and already being contacted by PBS. In order for the site to be a big hit in the blog world, though, it’s going to need to stick around a bit more. As long as the staying power is strong for the site, Petsumer Report will easily become a well-respected place of information for pet-owners everywhere.

Review 3338

I read a lot of blogs. More recently they have been of the businesses from home type. So I knew what I was looking for when I visited Work At Home Options.

The first thing I noticed was that this site was promoting feedburner a lot. And not just feedburner, but any and all RSS feeds. This was made apparent by the large text box that said add my feed and listed a bunch.

The site is very simple. A bunch of reviews about a bunch of different products. All of which are of course on some form of an affiliate program. Once I realized this, I found the reviews to be a bit on the false side. I mean seriously, what are the odds that someone has used a drop shipping program before?

Then I started to wonder where the archives were and of course there wasn’t a link to them. At the very bottom of the page there is a link to a blogspot blog. I visited there and it was all the same information however this time there was a design that I know I have seen someplace else.

This site was designed with one purpose. To make money. I am sure the author is doing that, however I really hate blogs where it is so painfully obvious that the author doesn’t care about the subject matter and is only in it to win it so to speak. For that I give this site a 2 out of 5. NULL