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I took a break from updating all of my sites and started looking for a script I could use on my girlfriends (future) site. From what I know so far, she’d like:

      1) a place where people can vote on different fashions (PhotoBattle type script)
      2) a community where people can share all things fashion (maybe SocialEngine)
      3) the ability to review clothing and accessories

I never know what to search for when there’s a bunch of parts like this needed. A programmer would map it out and create it. I have to find a script with the most things I’m looking for and hope I can find either an add-on or plugin or an adept programmer to create the effect I want. I actually stumbled on to phpMyDirectory by accident when I was searching for portal and directory type scripts. I figure if something was going to be all inclusive, a maturely developed portal type script might match my needs.

My girlfriend and I have always thought a review site was a great idea, and then we found Yelp and we suddenly weren’t so gung ho about it. Something about starting a website with an existing idea that is dominated by another website in the Top 500 global sites puts things in perspective. Anyway, I found phpMyDirectory and I want it. I want to start that review site now because of this script. It’s not because it’s a review site. The review part is only one feature of it. It’s more because a lot of the options I saw in the demo are actual ideas I have purchased domains for and put on the back burner while I tend to other sites.

If you check out the sample listing in the demo, it’s for a pizza place with it’s name, address, and telephone number, so you have the white pages action there. Then below it you have the map integration, so you have directions for your customers. On the right is a plethora of other options such as:

  • Offers: Coupons or other promotions
  • Images: Sample jobs the business has done or small selection of items for sale
  • Send Message: Not sure who this goes to
  • Visit Website: If there business has a website, instant customer traffic
  • Add Review: Who needs just a review site when it’s included in your directory
  • Print: For maps/directions
  • Email Friend: Pass the word along to others
  • Download PDF: Company brochures, menus, etc.
  • vCard: Type of online business card
  • Add to Favorites: Self explanatory
  • Make a Suggestion: Self explanatory
  • Claim Listing: A business who finds his listing already on site can claim
  • Report Listing: Self explanatory
  • Bookmark and share: Social network integration

Not to mention you can browse by category AND location. This has been a problem for me when investigating other scripts. Whenever I would tell them my intended use and ask if there would be a problem (possibly/eventually) creating a category for every zip code in the USA, they would always warn me that it might cause database problems and that’s not what it was intended for. Well, this is a script exactly for that intended use. I really, REALLY like this script, but with every good comes a little bad too.

When I first glanced at the Purchase page and saw that the script was only $99.95, it was a done deal. Anything I like this much under a hundred bucks I usually can’t help myself, regardless of how thin I’ve already spread myself. It was when I started reading further that I realized the final price of this script would end up in the SocialEngine price range and this kept me from pulling the trigger. At that price the script comes with one year of updates and lifetime support on one domain. However, if you want an unbranded administration area where every one of your visitors will be signing up/in, it’s another $99.95. After all the add-ons like the zip code database, website screenshots, FAQ, and more, the final price comes to a bit under $350 if you install yourself. I also wasn’t crazy about the idea that people could pay to get quicker support than me, but I suppose if it’s you’re livelihood, you need someone to respond to a problem five minutes ago.

All in all, I think it’s worth it. If I had a few less sites to work on and add content to, I would probably buy it right now. It’s just easier to build the sites that cost nothing to start, but it’s also easier to walk away from them if you find that you’re spinning your wheels and not making substantial progress. Maybe I need to have a $300+ script hanging over my head so it doesn’t sit there idle, wasting money. Maybe…..but not now. Someday.

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