ChangeEverything.ca is a Canadian 43Things clone that will launch this month and is provided by the largest credit union in the country. Sixty year old Vancity credit union won’t be monetizing ChangeEverything, but using it as a branded promotion for its financial services along with other long running community building efforts. Though formal launch will occur on the 18th, the site is usable now.
These sites are based on goal sharing and discussion. Users list things they would like to do, tag those goals, describe them and add pictures. Other users find goals, add them to their own lists, add comments or blog about the issues therein. While 43Things is a general interest site, ChangeEverything will target users interested in making changes to their lives or the community around them – specifically lefty things like making their homes more energy efficient.
The site was built in Drupal by Vancouver design shop Social Signal, with the blessings and technical assistance of The Robot Co-op, the organization behind the sites 43Things, 43People, 43Places and AllConsuming.
At a time when many corporations are struggling to cope with a new era of user generated content, this is a nice alternative to the user generated advertising model exemplified by efforts like the forthcoming BudTV. That effort which will include something tentatively called BudTube – a Budwieser YouTube clone for young men to make and share their own beer commercials.
The implementation is different from 43Things in some important ways. 43Things is entirely tag based, meaning that intersecting goals will only be discovered by looking at other peoples’ tags that are already posted. ChangeEverything combines user generated tags with traditional categories and an autocomplete function in the tag field to show taggers what terms other people have already used. This design change is likely to decrease the forks in goals and increase overlap of shared goals – one of the primary intentions of this type of site.
ChangeEverything is also using small incentives (beyond the goals themselves) to promote population of the site. Best contributions, as determined by administrators, will win prizes like vacation packages.
Unlike at 43Things, there’s not the option at ChangeEverything to mark a goal as something you have done already or the question of whether a goal is worth persuing or not – perhaps leftists are too Quixotic for such features.
There’s also not visible promotion of RSS feeds, though they are available. ChangeEverything is a less technical, more accessible, private label service that I think has room to grow in a big world full of people who are coming online but largely have not heard of sites like 43Things.
I think this is a great example of a company making use of Web 2.0 tools to promote themselves in a way that places the ballance of the impact on providing value to users and incurs promotional benefits for themselves as a consequence of that. Though this model may seem less immediately lucrative, it’s also much less likely to face the kind of anti-corporate backlash bubbling up in MySpace and YouTube.