Smugmug's version of Interestingness

Chris McAskill of SmugMug wrote in email:

I noticed your fascination with Interestingness (we’re fans too) and thought you’d appreciate a pretty compelling variation. We silently introduced this a couple of months ago to see how it would work without telling anyone.

Our customers tend to be families, soccer moms, travelers…not as geeky as Flickr’s customers. They understand words like most popular and understand star ratings and thumbs up/down. They hate to be asked to register to leave a comment, even if it means just giving their email, and even writing a comment is kind of a hassle 80% of the time.

So we instituted a not-very-gameable (you could, but you’d have to be determined) simple thing: when you hover your mouse over an image, you get a thumb-up or thumb-down. No need to register.
We combine the thumb ratings with comment ratings and end up with a browse page of most popular photos for the day that gets over a million people per day dropping by to see and cast their votes.

Almost all our subscribers let democracy speak and flaunt their most popular photos on their home pages: [here’s mine]. And communities do the same. Here’s <a href=
>a flowers community. You can sort by most popular in any category or keyword, etc…. Pretty nifty? It’s a different way to skin the cat for a broad, consumer audience.

Whether it’s pagerank at Google, interestingness at Flickr, or diggs, or SmugMug’s most popular feature, we see all across the web attempts to incorporate human intelligence into web applications. As I’ve written many times, harnessing collective intelligence is the very heart of Web 2.0. And that intelligence is distinguished by its bionic nature: we’re building applications that are a fusion of human and machine.