Idea: alternatives.to

I’m always looking for alternatives to sites, for one reason or another. An alternative to Google because of their politics. An alternative to CouchSurfing.com because of it’s unreliability. An alternative to RentaCoder.com because it’s good to spread the reptuation.

This morning, I thought it would be great to launch a simple site that lists alternatives to popular sites. While walking to the shops, the perfect url hit me, alternatives.to of course! Unfortunately, it’s taken. As is alt.to. However, alts.to is available.

So, questions for you, my faithful readers:

  1. Do you think it’s a good idea? Could it be useful?
  2. Is alts.to clutching at straws? Should I try to find a url that really works instead of a second best option?

Answers on a postcard, or a comment below for expendiancy! πŸ™‚

Update: Both alternates.to and alternate.to are available. Are they better?

11 thoughts on “Idea: alternatives.to”

  1. Why not set it up first as a KickApps site to see what the response is. You will also get suggestions and recommendations for other alternatives allowing you to build up your list.

    Apart from the ones you mention, Google, couchSurfing and Rentacoder what others are there? What’s the USP. I mean what you think is a decent alternative might be different to what I think, so are there alternatives to the alternative? How far do you go with it?

    What’s the alternative to the iPhone? I just got artificial grass fitted in my garden as an alternative to real grass..and so on.

  2. Thanks Raymond, some good points.

    My thought was to list as many alternatives as possible and allow people to add their own. So the format might be something like:

    alternatives.to/RentaCoder.com
    http://www.ifreelance.com/
    http://www.freelance.com/
    http://www.freelancedesigners.com/

    People could add notes on each site, and potentially vote them up or down.

    Alternatives to the iPhone, that’s an awesome idea. It doesn’t just have to be alternatives to web sites. It could be alternatives to anything.

    I’m not thinking of this as a commercial venture, I can’t see it making a lot of money. But I think it would be cheap to put together, and damned useful.

    What do you think about the names? I reckon alternatives.to is the best one. http://alternatives.to/ I think alternates.to is ok, but not quite as good. Might do to get started though. What do you reckon?

  3. You’re trying to give people choice about sites (which is awesome), so you should definitely make sure you give them choice about your own site. In other words, I agree, you should allow the users to supply the alternatives, and to vote up and vote down.

    While I’m on the subject, while I’m not arguing that one should have an alternative.to Google, what do you mean by “their politics”?

  4. Jonathan, I was thinking the first page would be alternatives.to/alternatives.to – as in, alternatives to this site! πŸ™‚

    I think the vote up / down thing would be good. Also adding the option to let users add new alternatives, etc. Very Web 2.0!

    My issues with Google are around privacy (if you use all of their really good, mostly free services, they know almost everything about you online) and then censorship (google.cn vs google.com). The second point might be moot now, they show remarkably similar results, unless Google only censors .cn to Chinese IPs.

  5. Thanks for the links James, some good sites in there.

    What about names? I really want somebody to tell me what they think about the name. The name, the name I say, what do you think of the name?

  6. I like! I hope you have snapped up all of those domain names. If there’s one thing I regret is not snapping up alternative domain names to the main trade name.

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