Week 4 Blog Post – We’ve been getting users, but we need more!

Mar 23, 2020

 

Another week, another post! It’s been an okay week over here at BuyLocalized. We’ve been figuring out some kinks in our research, improved our search and have been quite a few more website visits.

The Extension

This week was all about the search. So we have been experimenting with a search function, instead of just looking through the search results Amazon gives us. That method hasn’t been working very well though because making a search engine is a very complicated task, the results we produce would be filled with irrelevant stuff that just happened to share a keyword. We decided to shelve that for the moment and will be working on more of a hybrid method. We will find similar items to what Amazon has shown us, as well as seeing if any of their items match things we have verified as made in America, it’s got a lot of promise. We’ve also been adding a lot of backend stuff to make research easier and keep track of it.

Research

Research was a lot slower this week. We’ve gone through all the very large companies we’ve found that claim to manufacture exclusively in America. A ton of them are liars, it really surprised us. We are working on much smaller companies, but they are a lot slower because it’s a similar amount of work but 10 products instead of 100’s. So in the end we added 13,000 listings this week. This will have a huge bump in the near future as we improve how we search Amazon, it will allow us to add a lot of listings for previously researched companies.

We’ve also been thinking a lot about how to define something as Made in America or not. So many companies lie, again and again they lie. We were looking at a snowblower company, they publicize everywhere they are made in America, well it turns out they get their engines made in China and assemble it in the US. To us that doesn’t count as made in America, and we don’t think it would to our users. Things like that are very common, “Made in America” means some % of their items are made in America, sometimes 5-10%. “100% of products manufactured in America” can mean that a large piece like an engine is made abroad and then assembled with the rest of the components in an American factory. We think a lot about what our line should be, and we have been asking people for feedback in what combination of selection to manufactured in America they are looking for. We could only add companies that use American materials, in American plants, but then the selection of items would be much lower. We’re looking for feedback on it.

Content Creation

A complete fail this week honestly. I’m in a real rut in terms of making content. I’m planning still to write some articles and to make some videos, which we will advertise with. These blog posts are on the tips of my fingers, I think about them a lot and writing them is really easy. However the other content ideas we have are decidedly not. I’ve had a very difficult time deciding on the tone and breadth of the other things we have brainstormed, we hired 2 people for it in the past but both left without managing to write anything. I think there is room out there for content in this space. We haven’t found a publication that is specific to the advantages of buying locally made goods, in terms of the Environment and labor. I think we could write some insightful content on that, show off the tremendous amount of research we’ve done, I’ve just had a hard time executing on it.

Website

We got a lot more users this week! Getting around 20 visitors a day, which is double what we were getting a couple weeks ago. We’ve made some posts on Reddit, on Facebook that have gotten some traffic to the site. We don’t have that much more planned for it, other than the articles.

The most visited page, after the first page, is the mission, so I’m going to be going through that again and seeing if I can improve it at all. I will also be making a video for the Google Chrome store, it should be a clearer way to show off our Extension.

Okay that’s all for this week, see you next week.

Gareth Struivig de Groot is the founder of Buy Localized. He originally hails from Vancouver, and he is passionate about helping people get informed about where the things they purchase come from.
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