For the past four years, as BigOven has grown to over 160,000+ recipes with about 52,000+ members, the recipes could only be posted to www.bigoven.com by first downloading and installing the Windows recipe software. For the vast majority of users, BigOven was read-only, and they spent their time searching for recipes, finding ways to use up leftovers, and experimenting with flavor combinations.
This hurdle was somewhat deliberate on my part, both because (a) the HTML tools weren’t as rich as desktop applications to make it easy to enter valid recipes (e.g., ingredient lines had to be checked for validity, etc.), and (b) I wanted to throttle the volume of traffic to sort through operational and scaling issues. The obvious tradeoff though was that this severely limited the growth of the network of users (and recipes, and photos…).
Today, I’ve released a very important new feature that removes the desktop client hurdle.
In other words, now anyone can post recipes free of charge to BigOven.com with a web browser. It’s the easiest way to swap recipes online, and once you’ve posted a recipe, you can email it to friends, link it to other recipes (e.g., suggest pairings or uses for leftovers), you can create "Try Soon" and "Favorites" lists to plan your meals for the month, and much more.
Got a Mac? Or Linux? No problem! Join up for free, and contribute recipes, photos and more. By removing this hurdle, I think BigOven gets much closer to product/market fit, since of course, people want to be able to search for, rate, and exchange things like recipes and meal ideas with as little friction as possible, as AllRecipes.com ($65 million 2007 purchase by Readers Digest) and RecipeZaar.com ($25 million July 2007 buyout by Scripps) have shown.
Hey, did you know about the Amateur Food Photo Contest? Every month, we’re giving away $100.00 Amazon.com gift certificates to the user who takes and submits the best food photo. Got a digital camera? you could win $100.
Go ahead and try it, and by all means, send along any feedback!