Scanning through loads of content in search of topics that are truly in line with your specific interests is becoming an increasingly difficult task. YourVersion attempts to solve this problem by allowing visitors to search the most recent live content for keywords.
The startup has won numerous prizes including the People’s Choice Award at TechCrunch50 DemoPit, but to me their failure seems inevitable without a drastic overhaul of the way the website currently works.
I admire the concept that YourVersion is trying to introduce, but their approach is ineffective in many ways. The website allows visitors to search for content with keywords in six different categories – news, blogs, web, twitter, videos, Quora, and friends.
Google News and Google Blogs provide exactly the same service as the news and blogs tabs on YourVersion. I tried searching for the keyword ‘technology’ on Google News and the news tab on YourVersion, and I got almost the exact same results. Providing a service that is identical to Google News is hardly of any use; Google will always win (unless you’re Facebook).
The Quora tab does not work and the Friends tab requires you to invite your friends from Facebook, Gmail or Twitter before you can see what news your friends are following. The current lack of a ‘network effect’ on YourVersion makes this tab hardly as useful as it may seem to be. the Twitter tab usually returns many irrelevant results because many tweeters use highly personalised or irrelevant hashtags, which show up in search results on YourVersion.
On the brighter side, the website does provide a neat way of scanning the web for the most recent content on the web relevant to your keyword. YourVersion could do a lot better with a little bit of innovation by replacing redundant tabs with something that cannot be found elsewhere. The first thing that comes to mind is a new tab that would offer visitors to browse through their customised list of websites, just like RSS feeds but simpler to use.
YourVersion aims to solve a realistic problem; however, without some serious innovation, their only hope is to have Charlie Sheen invite his three million Twitter followers to the website.