If you have ever fowarded a funny or interesting email to a friend, then this site should at least get a second glance. FWDitOn is putting a new spin on an old habit – email sharing.
The way that FWDitOn works is by asking you to forward your funny or interesting emails to their submission email address. Doing that will automatically grab the subject line and content, and post it on their website.
People can browse those emails directly from the site, read it via an RSS feed, or through an email digest sent to them daily or weekly. On the website, users can then categorize an email into any of the preset categories in the FWDitOn system.
You do not have to have a FWDitOn account to forward your emails, but making a free account does give you some extra features. Members get the ability to comment on emails, as well as to grant them ratings by voting for them (1 to 5 stars). When you are logged in, you can click on an email you like an add it to your ‘favorites’, and when you are sending from an email address on file, all the emails you forward to them will show up in your account as well.
I also liked the fact that you can be browsing the site, find an email someone has submitted that you like, and decide to forward an email shown on the site someone else you know using the ‘fwdit’ button. If you are a non-member, you can only send a copy of the email to one person at a time, but as a member you can send to multiples.
A nifty little Ajax-style feature can be seen when you click on the ‘Spy’ tab. It takes you to the fwdSpy section of the website, and gives you a real-time look at what is happening on the site.
This is definitely the sort of thing that I think makes a statement in a time when social networking ‘clone’ sites are popping up all over the place. The idea is definitely social, but it’s also a market area that is thus far relatively untouched – and more importantly, it’s something that people actually have been doing for years.
That I have seen so far, there are only a few things I don’t immediately like:
The first is the web page code (you -know- I had to look) – it’s painful from a standardist point of view. But they are at least trying, you can tell that much, I’ve seen sites with so many errors as to make the ones they have practically negligible. However, I’m halfway tempted to see if they need web dev help, just because I like the idea of what they’re doing.
The second thing was that before I made my account, I wasn’t entirely sure what I would be doing with the little dropdown button that let’s you pick a category. In my head I was wondering… was it completely open edit like a wiki? If I change this does it alter the category entirely? In fact, for some reason I was so worried about that category dropdown that I actually read the FAQ (well written, by the by) to figure out what that actually would do. It was then that I discovered that it was like a rating system, and thus my earlier concerns about causing sitewide devastation disappeared. So, the short version suggestion — change the descriptive text on that dropdown so that it’s a bit more clear what it is. Otherwise, I think that the site is very well laid out in usability terms.
The last thing is more a general security concern. Since they allow emails with attachments to be forwarded on to their site, are those attachments scanned with a virus software before being posted publically? This question came to mind as I was reading an email with an attached PowerPoint presentation. I clicked on the link to the file, and it did the expected for Windows – it popped up my download/view options. I went ahead and cancelled and looked around for some information on whether or not there is virus scanning done ahead of time, and couldn’t find it. However, if there is, it might not hurt to put a really big red ‘All files scanned for viruses’ button (figuratively speaking) on the site. I imagine I’m not the only one who is paranoid about picking up viruses from my email attachments.
As I said, overall, a really great idea and a lot of excellent features so far. I look forward to seeing how this idea takes off.