Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Tagging Brands

So far brand tags has been my most successful project to date (or at least fastest pick up). Since letting the world know about it on Friday I’ve gotten over 77,000 tags. It’s also been on the del.icio.us homepage, metafilter and, most recently, Seth Godin gave it a shout out (including many others).

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few lessons, observations and other notes from the weekend:


The first thing I realized was I needed to iterate on the fly. Immediately I realized a few things in the backend weren’t working perfectly and fixed them on the fly. I also added a few features as ideas came in (specifically a game where you guess the brand based on the tags and a search engine to allow you to see all the brands tagged with a specific word. The other thing I did was keep track of where people where coming from so I could filter out tags at some point if I wanted to.


This was another big one, in addition to adding things and making things work a little better was trying to listen to people’s feedback and add both features and logos. A bunch of people asked for an easy way to see all the brands, which I added quite quickly. In addition I’ve gotten a ton of brands from people, which has both made my life easier and helped get the word out further (many people asked for the brands they work for/on and I’m sure they shared the results).

Unfortunate Words

It’s becoming apparent that as more people come, more unfortunate tags are turning up. I had to decide whether to censor pretty early on and decided not to (expect for spam … when one person adds the same word over and over again). This has all been one big experiment and I’m doing the best I can with it, but I can’t do it all. I figure I can always filter things out later if I need to.

Twitter to Get the Word Out

Twitter has been a huge source of traffic for the site. I’m not sure what more to say about that, but it’s been a great way to communicate with people on the fly and let them know as I hit milestones (number of tags, number of brands, etc.)

As the day goes on, I might add some more to this list and in the coming days I will try to go through some of the tags and give some of my thoughts (so far I think my favorite is how many people tagged Beijing 2008 with “tibet”.

Also, any other feedback, suggestions or anything else are welcome. Thanks so much to everyone for making this such a success.

Update (5/12/08): As a side note, I’ve gotten a ton of email as a result of this. If you’ve sent me email for this or anything else over the last week or so and I haven’t responded yet, I apologize.

Update (5/12/08): Wow, been a huge day for the site. Up to 110,000 tags. Links from kottke (a bit of a blogging hero of mine) and ReadWriteWeb. Anyway, thanks again to everyone for the links, emails, twitters, etc.

Update (5/13/08): Just got picked up by Wall Street Journal. Hot damn.

May 12, 2008