The Dude, Check This Out beta was blogged by Cory Doctorow yesterday. The premise: a combination of collaborative recommendation software for web content, with social networking software (a la Friendster). Unfortunately, the interface is insane - you need to download yet another IE toolbar (designed to resemble a sushi bar). In order to enter your approval (no negative recommendations), you need to create a blog posting about an item, at your Dude blog. In their terminology, this is "to Dude" something. Oh, the pain.
So, I have two complaints about this thing. One, it's irreverent format is painful to read and look at, says he of the blah blog. The interface is insanely awkward. The knock against collaborative recommenders is that users don't want to spend their time entering the huge amount of data required to generate remotely respectable results. The solution here is to use the social networking as a motivator for entering data.
The other complaint is that the tone of the site will create an excessively self-selecting audience. The complexity of the interface, which assumes familiarity with the concepts of blogging and a desire to mess around with your browser, will filter out a lot of users. The extremes to which they extend the idea of "Dude, Check This Out" seems another user filter. This filtering, I think, will lead to a homogenized recommendation which match the Dude profile instead of my own. We'll see. I haven't been motivated enough to try "Duding" something yet.