Interview with Ismail Elshareef of Noisetap

I was interviewed by Kristen Nicole of 606Tech about the work we're doing on Noisetap.com. Here's the interview:

Noisetap is a product of Cottenblend, a creative agency specializing in web development, and provides a  rare blend of user-generated resources for the music community.  There is a ranking system  built into their service that pushes the best content to the top.  Their posts are segmented by music genre and context, and offer an aggregate of relevant information for their users.  People are connected to each other through this relevant information, so based on your interests, you can find others that share your tastes and will offer information that is compelling to you.  Their relationship with Ticketmaster and iLike gives them an opportunity to research and develop intriguing products and provide additional value to their users. They are currently testing in beta, and hope to be launching their official service sometime later this year. 

I had a chance to chat with Ismail Elshareef of Noisetap.

How did the idea for Noisetap come about?

We are very interested in new technology here at Cottonblend, and Noisetap is the first of many Web 2.0 sites that we will be building in the coming year. We wanted to give the music community a cool, unique way to share news, rumors, opinions, etc. where the most compelling content rises to the top (based on our ranking algorithm). We also like to look at these new sites as a sandbox or testing ground—a great place to work all the bugs out before we offer features like these to our clients. Not to mention it keeps our designers and developers happy as they get to work on cutting-edge ideas.

Are most people considering you to be a specialized Digg for music?

That may be the first impression of the site, but aside from post submission and the ability to vote/comment on it, we introduced a competitive edge to the mix by displaying user ranking and giving users the ability to display a badge that shows their ranking on their blogs. We also feature articles/reviews by power users (i.e. editors), which is something that Digg doesn’t do. So while we do implement some Digg-like features, we took the idea one step further.


What are the key features of Noisetap?

Out of the many features on the site, the following do stand out:
1. The ability for users to vote and change their votes
2. RSS feeds for searches
3. User badges
4. Lightboxes
5. Granular user searches
6. posts broken up by music genre and context type.

Where do the social components of Noisetap come into play?

When users sign up, we ask for their ZIP code if they’re in the US, or their city otherwise. This information will come in handy as we roll out more social components that will mainly focus on connecting users who have similar interests as well as connecting them with resources on partner sites.

How'd you come up with the animal icons for each music genre?

We wanted something a little more exciting, something different, something that wasn’t just a boring guitar icon for rock. Thus, the animal icons were born. This was probably one of the hardest decisions we had to make in building the site—which animal goes with which category. After many conversations, we finally ended up with what you see today. Personally, I still like the Armadillo for Country, but I was outvoted.


How is beta testing going so far?  What type of feedback are you receiving?

It’s going great. We’re currently focusing on performance issues and logic bugs. Most of the feedback we’ve gotten so far has been positive with very little bugs to report. We want to pound on the site for a good period of time before we go into GAMMA.

Any plans to add additional social components or music genres?

Definitely!

Any hopes of branching out other specialized networks?

Of course. We have plenty of ideas cooking at the Cottonblend labs

What are the next steps for Noisetap?

The very next step for Noisetap is fine-tuning performance and fixing critical bugs, if any. Then, we’re going to implement new features one by one, allowing ample time in between for testing and fine-tuning. Noisetap is a living entity that will always change, evolve and improve.

When do you plan on your official launch?

No official date has been set, but if I had to guess, I would say mid-summer.

 

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