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This article was published on February 27, 2008 checklists database in the making checklists database in the making
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
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Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

Checkser is a service that allows people to create public checklists, whatever the subject. Founder Marijn Deurloo came up with the idea during his brainstorm with his mentor, only a few weeks ago, and started to develop it right-a-way. The result is a very simple and clean-looking site.

You can look up checklists by browsing through the tags, user history pages or using the search engine. Some useful checklists I have found: a fishing trip list, Bottle soccer, Financial Management and a Web standards checklist.

Last checklist before fish tripKillerStartups reviewed the service as well, and they were pretty enthusiastic about it. Yet they did miss something: ‘Some more web 2.0 features would also be nice, such as user profiles’. I’ve emailed Deurloo to find out if he will add features like that. He replied: “Checkser is currently linked to the openID-initiative for linking to profiles, so authors can make themselves known by entering their openID-id. A link to their openID profile is then added to the “history”-page of a checklist. In the future, more social features like ratings will be added.”

I hope he will, since the anonymous approach might actually threaten the quality of the content. Especially since the checklists have a ‘read more’ link that the creator of the list can use to link to his own page. Deurloo deliberately added that function so that checklists can be used as teasers for companies. Yet it could be too tempting for gambling sites and other infamous low quality content sites to use it as an extra ad space.

So I’ve asked Deurloo how he will make sure that the quality of the checklist will remain good. Deurloo: “I’m hoping that the same mechanism that works well for Wikipedia will also work for checklists. Users help keeping the quality up, by being able to revert to previous versions of checklists and branching off those.” The self-control approach doesn’t really work yet, since the tag ‘test‘ contains 34 test checklists. More traffic and users might end this problem.

Unlike Wikipedia, Checkser does have a business model. It’s not much yet, Deurloo uses the Amazon affiliate program. “By suggesting relevant books to the checklists, I hope a little money can be made.” Makes sense, since he attracts a Getting Things Done crowd, and they’re generally eager to buy books.

But Deurloo has more good plans for the future: “As several businesses have already asked me, I will be creating a “pro”-version with company-private checklists for use on intranets for a small subscription fee. Kind of like the Basecamp and Backpack websites do.” So Deurloo can soon mark the ‘create pro version’ point on the ‘How to run a successful Internet service’.

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