Time For Sendage?

Time For Sendage?

Despite my occasional gentle ribbing of the site’s “eccentric” owner I’ve been a fan of 8a.nu since it started over 10 years ago.  The ability to track my climbs and somewhat voyeuristically follow the sends of friends and strangers from around the world is something I’ve really enjoyed over the years.  That said, I don’t think there is any debate that the design and functionality of 8a.nu is badly outdated.

Other websites like MountainProject, Rockclimbing.com and more recently 27Crags have implemented a sort of “log book” feature to allow users to track their climbs.  However none have really caught on here in the U.S. when compared to the popularity of 8a.nu.  As they like to frequently boast, 8a.nu has almost 35,000 members and nearly 1,700,000 registered ascents (not to mention the world record levels of traffic they enjoy).  This all begs the question in my mind if it is even possible for a site to catch on in the log book space given the head start that 8a.nu enjoys.

One site that is hoping to test that question, or at least carve out a niche of their own, is Sendage.  Sendage is sort of what you would imagine 8a.nu looking like if it had been designed any time this century for the Web 2.0 world.  Using a slick, responsive interface, Sendage allows you to create “sendlists” to use for setting goals and lets you track all the resulting “sendage” as well.  To help you get started you can even import your 8a.nu scorecard right into Sendage.

Here’s how site creator Jamie Chong describes his vision for Sendage on his blog:

The most significant use for sendage.com is to create a ticklist of climbs. Lists are great for everything. When you tick something off a list, there’s a sense of accomplishment. It’s satisfying. So why not make a list just so you can tick it off and be rewarded with good feelings. Think about how often you do this when you climb. A list is pretty much mandatory on a road trip. Whenever you travel to a climbing destination it’s likely you’re prepared with at least a handful of climbs that you want to try. The excitement and anticipation of a long awaited climbing vacation can easily be built up through a simple list of 5-star climbs that everybody says you should do.

When there’s sendage, there’s everything that happens afterward. There are friends who want to congratulate you; there are others who want to know your beta; there are people back home who want to know if you just sent your dream project; some want to know how good the climb is; and some just want to talk to you about the experience. Friends get friends psyched on climbing and most definitely after a send there’s a lot of psych going around. Spirits are high and everyone wants to share the good vibes. Let’s face it, even though climbing is a very individual and self centered sport, there is no doubt that climbing is also very much social. People thrive on others’ success. So when you send, you’ve not only accomplished something great, but you’ve provided motivation for someone else to do the same.

The site relies heavily on Facebook integration, using your Facebook account as your Sendage login and allowing you to share your sends and comments straight to Facebook if you so desire.  The site is still in development so other features, like badges for certain achievements, are forthcoming.

Sendage is running a few promotions for free schwag from Arc’teryx and La Sportiva as a way of enticing new users to give it a try.  Since you can import your 8a.nu scorecard right into Sendage why not give it a shot??

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63 Responses to Time For Sendage?

  1. Peter Beal March 3, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    http://www.mountainsandwater.com/2010/04/how-much-longer-for-8anu.html

    A year ago I mentioned that it may be time for 8a to rethink its formula. I am not sure that Sendage can offer anything to overcome the substantial advantage that 8a has right now. It’s a bit like Foursquare versus FB. But given a few years that could change.

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    • Narc March 3, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

      I agree with most of what you wrote, but isn’t it odd then that 8a.nu continues to grow despite basically changing little if any since you wrote that post?

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  2. Peter Beal March 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    I agree. The main reason is that the “value-add” that 8a brings is not that difficult to provide but the critical mass the site has now is very difficult to achieve for other sites. 27 crags anyone? What is remarkable is that 8a is not talking to its users more aggressively through targeted marketing a la FB. But it is a European site. More on an upcoming blog post.

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    • Narc March 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

      Indeed. Thanks to their critical mass they really don’t have to do anything to attract users other than simply exist. Maybe they’ll be the Myspace and some other site that comes along will be the Facebook of the climbing world???

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      • Cadaverchris March 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

        that’s quite a prediction! but not so much a stretch…

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      • Mike B March 3, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

        I’ve been really taking a liking to projectclimb.com – it’s got a really nice topo and beta function so you can actually get some real value out of e-stalking fellow climbers by figuring out how to get to the cool looking climbs they tick off.

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  3. jf March 3, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    It only functions through facebook. Really? You can’t even participate without one? How is this modern at all? It’s so modern it doesn’t even work?

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    • Narc March 3, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

      I know what you’re saying but Facebook integration is a direction a lot of sites are moving. It is limiting in that people without Facebook can’t participate but the upside is that sites get to tap into Facebook’s social graph which is huge.

      The other downside to Facebook integration is that many places of business have Facebook blocked which limits the site’s usefulness for those that like to browse the interwebs at work.

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    • Jamie Chong March 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

      jf, I’m taking a different approach to other logbook type sites. My view is that climbing is in fact a very social activity. I want to encourage people to share their climbing goals and their climbing achievements with their friends.

      I understand that if you don’t have a Facebook account, you can’t enjoy Sendage as much as others. My own Fiancé, who lives with me, doesn’t have a Facebook account and I hear about it from her every day! However, I believe there are more PROs than CONs to having Sendage integrated with FB for me to change anytime soon.

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      • jf March 3, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

        Ok.. not to be vitriolic, but you’re using weird language when you say I can’t “enjoy” Sendage as much as others. I think what you mean is I can’t use it at all.

        It’s neither fair nor safe to use facebook as a one-step auth for every site on the Internet. I am also a web engineer, and I find it really unfortunate that people go this direction. Don’t flaunt the site as being modern or super savvy when the reality is you’re choking the user into a forced poor user experience just to get a wider crowd of attention.

        Is the point of the site to add value to the climbing community, or to get traffic (implying profitability)? I can’t fault you if you have chosen the latter, it just means the site will be worthless for the chunk of the population who either don’t have Facebook, or don’t like being transparent online.

        I would love to have a usable, functional, clean way to organize my ticklists online – however, that service doesn’t exist yet. Why not implement a normal login with optional Facebook connectivity? That way I can at least find out if your user experience design is up to all this hype.

        One other note (sorry, wall of text) – majority of the comments here are people who don’t want to use it because of facebook. I assume that’s a vocal minority, and since this is obviously a somewhat orchestrated post with Brian, I would guess you’re running metrics to see how many people sign up today. I assume many more will sign up than complain, and that’s good news for you. I want to see you succeed because I think the web is awesome and many awesome things can be done with it – but not at the expense of users’ rights. Just my two cents.

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  4. Peter Beal March 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    Speaking of Facebook, the link with FB is both promising and problematic. Obviously 8a needs to work this angle more.

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  5. Julian March 3, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    Would have signed up, but the FB thing is a deal breaker for me. I’m on FB and will likely continue to use it, but I’ve got platform applications turned off – too big a security unknown for my tastes.

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  6. Mojo March 3, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Yeah the FB thing is huge turn-off for me . . . I have one but barely use it, and I certainly don’t want another website to publish shit to my wall for me and access all my personal information.

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    • Narc March 3, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

      The question about personal information is an interesting one, but you do
      have the option of disabling the posting to Facebook feature.

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    • -S March 6, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

      When you join sendage, you can choose to share NO information (except your name). I’m not sure if all applications are like this, but sendage is. The FB integration from what i understand is a means to keep everything you post more moderated. How many times have I seen phantom 8a accounts, just to screw around with things. With Facebook, it’s still possible, but will probably be quickly realized, and also has “more” consequence without being an alias.

      You can also choose to turn off all notifications, so everything you do on sendage doesn’t get posted anywhere (except sendage homefeed I think).

      I guess i see this as now if you see someone flashing La-Rambla (not saying it’s IMPOSSIBLE, just improbable), you can associate a name with whoever posted it, which will make people think twice before posting bullsh*t sends. Wouldn’t it? Maybe it wouldn’t.

      All in all, if the FB still turns you off, I guess you’ll have to keep using an older system, but good job to Jamie? (I think) for trying something a bit new.

      -S

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  7. JPWill March 3, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    what’s this business about uploading your 8a ticks? i’m not sure i see that feature on the webpage.

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    • Narc March 3, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

      It doesn’t show up until you go to the “Add Another Send” link on your “My
      Sends” page

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  8. ABro March 3, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    I would’ve signed up but the Facebook thing is a dealbreaker for me. My social life doesn’t revolve entirely around climbing, and also I don’t like to boast to friends about my sends. I can understand connecting it to 8a, and I like this idea of a better sleeker looking ticklist website, but I don’t want that kind of stuff on my news feed.

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    • ABro March 3, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

      ok I disabled facebook publishing, we’ll see how this goes

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  9. dave March 3, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    Interesting, another competitor in the social networking climbing site biz. I’ve seen a few out there like Skimble. Good for the crowds that makes lists and like to spray.

    One downside I’ve seen from things like 8a and the related sites is that people want to spray/list their route so bad they’ll post routes at secret spots. Not cool.

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    • Narc March 3, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

      Yeah it is getting a bit fragmented. Funny how the site that has no web 2.0 social aspect is still the most popular.

      I’ve always found the secret area thing odd as well. One thing that is interesting about Sendage is that there are no points so theoretically people won’t be entering things just “for the points”.

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  10. Jamie Chong March 3, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    Hey Guys,

    Just a few notes about the FB integration:

    if you sign on to Sendage via Facebook, you will see that you are asked to share your basic information such as your name, location, your friends – basically just things that you’ve made public in your FB privacy settings. I also ask you to share your email address so that I can send you an email notification when someone comments on one of your sends or sendlists. There is a settings page that allows you to disable email notifications however.

    Also, as for posting things to your wall. I’ve taken great care to make sure that I don’t force anything onto peoples’ walls. Everytime you tick off a send, you can choose whether you want to publish it to your wall or not. Furthermore, there is also a setting that you can configure for Facebook publishing.

    This means that you have full control over posting news items to your wall. I will always follow this approach so please be assured that I won’t be shoving a bunch of sendage posts onto your walls without asking you first.

    As for privacy the only information I store in my database that comes from Facebook is your name, location, email, gender, timezone, and language. However, I don’t even get all that information if you’ve restricted with your FB privacy settings. So as you can see, Sendage isn’t about exploiting your personal information.

    Hopefully this will calm some of your fears about using a climbing site integrated with Facebook. Feel free to ask more questions here!

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    • ABro March 3, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

      Can you make it so you can change your sendage profile picture without changing your facebook one?

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      • Jamie Chong March 3, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

        I want people to maintain a consistent identity throughout sendage and between sendage and FB. This helps others more easily recognize their friends when viewing either site.

        Another huge reason for using FB logins is that it minimizes anonymous users who might like to exaggerate their accomplishments just for recognition. This behaviour degenerates the value of the site in my opinion. If you’re Joe Climber sending V15s daily, your friends are going to call you out quickly and keep you in check. Tying your social identity to the climbs you send just makes you more accountable. In my opinion this effectively helps reduce “spray” even though you’re publishing your accomplishments online. Really sending just becomes more a matter of fact than blatant spray.

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  11. DaveH March 3, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    I don’t have a facebook account. I cannot use Sendage. I am someone who wants to use it, but can’t.

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    • Jamie Chong March 3, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

      I realize that I’m ignoring a small population of climbers who don’t have Facebook accounts. If you’re interested in using Sendage because it offers a way to build discussion and community around your climbing accomplishments as well as provide a support system of climbers encouraging you to send your projects, then perhaps having a Facebook account isn’t so bad since it’s also about your social circle of friends.

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  12. eddie March 3, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

    The main drawback i see is that there ARE NO POINTS. LAME. How else am I to compare myself against others, degrade their accomplishments and feel the inadequateness of my own abilities?

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    • Narc March 3, 2011 at 10:43 pm #

      It would leave me no choice but to degrade your accomplishments straight to your face, Eddie!

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      • dave March 4, 2011 at 12:24 am #

        Yar! The old fashioned, low tech way!

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  13. M.Moore March 3, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

    like the idea, dislike the name.

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    • eddie March 4, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

      agreed, not all climbers are bros from the rado smokin the reeefer talking like morons. “sendage” is plain dumb.

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      • VW March 4, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

        Keep your negativity to yourself Eddie.

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  14. come on March 4, 2011 at 1:37 am #

    Come on guys… if 8a.nu and sendage were both brand new sites that had just been released today.. which one would you join? Obviously sendage is much better designed, more about personal achievement (without all the negativity), and easier to navigate. It’s cool that someone finally decided to give 8a.nu a run for its money and I think everyone on here should join it for this reason if for nothing else. Also, it’s a brand new site! Give it some time and I’m sure the designers will figure out what works and what doesn’t, as well as what needs to be added. One comment: I like the design a lot, but maybe there could be an option to reduce the size of the text/trophy etc so that you can see more climbs on each page? This is one thing I like about 8a.nu.. you can quickly see what someone has on their card.

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    • Narc March 4, 2011 at 1:44 am #

      I concur on that last point

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      • Brian Hedrick March 4, 2011 at 9:08 am #

        Same. It’s annoyingly large to me.

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  15. Kaleb March 4, 2011 at 2:07 am #

    I used to use 8a… just to keep track of things I have done. its too stupid to navigate and i got bored… fast.

    I didn’t want to join this site, but it did seem way easier to use, and it is. I like it, and I like how its not competitive.

    Jamie,

    One issue I do have, being from Newfoundland is that I can not add crags. You have flatrock listed which is AWESOME! but there is like 7 or 8 different areas in flatrock alone. There is a lot of areas on the Avalon Peninsula alone. I have a lot of my sends reported as being in blackhead, America… cause it was the only blackhead available. I would appreciate if you e-mail me (you have me in facebook? pm me maybe?) so that we can add those crags. I think there is only 3 or 4 Newfoundlanders on the site, but id like to represent the bounty of climbing we have here.

    Thanks!

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  16. Clayton March 4, 2011 at 2:54 am #

    use a piece of paper. Ghey…

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    • Narc March 4, 2011 at 3:32 am #

      ^^^^^^^^^
      worst comment ever???

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  17. Dylan March 4, 2011 at 4:50 am #

    After briefly perusing the site, I noticed something else. When navigating to the page for Devils Lake (my home crag), which is an exclusively traditional climbing area, the site lists a combination of “sport climbs” and “boulder problems.” Problem is, there are no sport climbs at Devils Lake. I’d suggest changing this designation to “routes” and adding an option to choose whether a climb was sport, trad, or top-rope in a send. In an area where leading is rare and people mostly top-rope, it would be great to see who’s doing what and in what proportions.

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    • Jamie Chong March 4, 2011 at 8:17 am #

      I do have a way to distinguish between sport climbs and boulder problems on the site. I think the problem is that by default, when importing climbs, I set the type to be “sport”. I’m working on having a way to suggest corrections to climbs, but for now, I can just change those climbs manually for you.

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      • Isaac March 4, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

        I think Dylan means that what are labeled as “sport climbs” should be labeled as “routes” with distinction of sport, trad, or TR. This makes sense, since the experience of all three is vastly different.

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  18. SP March 4, 2011 at 5:02 am #

    Trying to be objective, I guess I just don’t see this as a serious replacement or competitor to 8a. 8a is no doubt an ugly, user-unfriendly webpage with a seriously flawed route database. However, to me this seems more like a FB app to share climbs/to-do’s with friends than a serious web based tool to log routes and create tick lists. Sendage is clearly better organized, much more user friendly and intuitive however.

    A dream tool would be something that had a massive and clean database of routes and problems, and my ability to tick them and add my notes would not require me to spray publicly about all of my sends. It would also have category’s and route labels (crimpy, cruxy, dyno, endurance, etc.), so that I could create tick-lists or receive recommended routes that are based on more than just their star count (everyone has their list of zero star favorites).

    And without trying to beat a dead horse, the requirement of FB really takes a shot at the legitimacy of the site. While any legitimate site/business is going to have FB integration, making a social webpage a requirement for tracking climbs definitely makes this seem more of a college project than a legitimate source for tracking climbs.

    I do wish the creator the best of luck, but ultimately at it’s current release it just does not provide nearly enough of advantage to compete with 8a.

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    • Narc March 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

      I think in an ideal world there would be some sort of marriage between the type of route database offered on MountainProject (very extensive), a route database like RedRiverClimbing.com (very detailed as to the style of each route) and a site like 8a.nu/Sendage.

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      • SP March 4, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

        It’s funny that you mentione MP and RRC – those were the two sites I was thinking of.

        I think you’re on the right track here… Perhaps ClimbingNarc should do a little expansion? :)

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        • Narc March 4, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

          Yes. I definitely have time for this :)

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      • seebrown March 10, 2011 at 3:23 am #

        perhaps you should check out http://www.projectclimb.com .. it doesn’t require you to be a member of facebook (though in our next release it will be ‘optional’) .. it’s sort of like a marriage between 8a.nu and MP .. except with better topo’s and a cleaner interface

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  19. Paulp March 4, 2011 at 5:21 am #

    Congrats on getting off your butt and actually doing what many people, myself included, only talk about, Jamie. But I won’t be using it with FB integration. Personally I find FB’s tentacles into everything annoying at best, and scary at worst.

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  20. Colin P March 4, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    I know this has been beaten to death, but I’d like to add that I also do not have or plan to get Facebook, and am thus also prevented from using Sendage. I am also a programmer, and I feel that any design consideration that forces a process/ideology on the consumer should be questioned. I do not see why providing a method for native authentication is such an issue. If you are inflexible on this, how can folks expect you to be flexible on their other requests?

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    • Jamie Chong March 4, 2011 at 8:42 am #

      I’ll answer your last question for now and maybe get to discussing the FB stuff later:

      Take a look here:
      http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=155767311119657&v=app_2373072738

      This is the discussion forum where people have been posting questions and suggestions. I take every request into consideration and I’m hoping to provide features that satisfy most peoples wants. It’s been hard prioritizing tasks since my time is limited and really this project just started off as a hobby, but in time I hope it’ll be obvious how flexible I can be.

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  21. mikey March 4, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    I’m going to have to defend 8a on this one. I love it. Everyone seems to complain about it’s usability but I think it’s damn near perfect. The search engine is jacked and that needs to be reworked but everything else is good. I’m going to agree with Eddie also. I love the point system.

    And I’m going to agree with Clayton’s worst post ever, if you’re not into spray, rankings, trend graphs and all the other stuff that 8a offers use a journal or excel spreadsheet. An online format needs to offer a lot more and I think 8a does that pretty well.

    As for the facebook thing, I too don’t like the connection. I like the fact that if people want to see what I’ve been up to they have to seek it out on 8a. It keeps my lives separate. I don’t want my 60 year old Aunt to have to see my trophy everyday on her Facebook feed.

    That said I’m excited to see how Sendage works out and I wish the best of luck to Jamie with his project.

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    • Narc March 4, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

      It wasn’t so much Clayton’s point I disliked but rather his method of conveying said point

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    • Narc March 4, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

      “They don’t appear to allow the visitor a constantly open window into the
      world of high-end climbing, which is a major draw for 8a.nu”

      ^^^^ This

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  22. Scott March 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    Agreed with that line as well, Peter. I don’t post many ticks on 8a.nu, I visit primarily to see when the latest hard bouldering or sport climb has gone down.

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  23. bee March 5, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    I think the layout of 8a.nu is just as user friendly as sendage.com and quite intuitive. sendage.com’s bells and whistles, stylized fonts, trophys etc seem a bit excessive whereas 8a.nu is simple and more professional. I also think 8a’s sidebar is way better than sendage.com’s big news feed.

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  24. Jamie Chong March 5, 2011 at 1:45 am #

    I’m in the airport en route to eastern Canada, so I’ll be brief.

    All of you guys raise excellent points of discussion. I respect all of your comments and I appreciate hearing “the other opinions” that I might not necessarily want to hear. Perhaps down the road I’ll consider changing the FB requirement because of the thoughts, complaints, insights, etc that I’ve heard here.

    I also want to point out that Sendage isn’t trying to compete with 8a when it comes to news sources. My feelings so far are that Sendage isn’t about spreading the sensational stories of elite climbers sending hard things. So to be compared to those features of 8a is a bit unfair, but perhaps my vision wasn’t clear, so I understand. When it comes to the Sendage news feed I agree that it doesn’t compare to 8a at all and I’m sure it will never have the same “newsworthy” posts. Really my feed is a bit of a mess – a bunch of random people that you don’t necessarily want to know about. However Sendage is about sharing with your friends, so I intend to add filters to my feed so that you can see just your friends’ achievements.

    Sendage will also never have a “scorecard”. You can seriously continue using 8a for that. I don’t want rankings to influence which climbs people are motivated to try.

    Sendage started out with the idea of ticklists only. From there it evolved into also logging sent climbs just because it made logical sense. I know these aren’t new ideas, but I believe that I can offer a better “experience” than some other sites out there.

    To conclude, I think there is room for both Sendage and 8a to continue down their own niche paths. There doesn’t need to be only ONE mega site.

    It’s great to hear my site compared to 8a so much. It just means that I’m on my way to having something as successful. And you’ll hear it first from me, there’s still a long way to go! :)

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  25. Ktmtkitchendrawer March 6, 2011 at 3:30 am #

    I really like the sound of Sendage and I went to sign up. But as @jf says way above, you have to have a Facebook account to login. I have a login and I’m not immediately excluded from using the site. Why exclude ANY potential users from your site? I have lots of climbing friends who also aren’t on Facebook. I’d love to check out Sendage, but there’s no way I will sign up for Facebook just so I can. I have no desire to be on Facebook. Jamie Chong: you should at least support OpenId as an alternative. Why would a new site EVER want to eliminate potential users? All should be welcome. Assuming we all have Facebook accounts is a mistake.

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    • Isaac March 7, 2011 at 1:19 am #

      Why are you (and so many others) so opposed to having a facebook account? Creating one so that you can use Sendage.com doesn’t obligate you to use any other features of facebook, and would take you literally about 1 minute. So if you’re actually interested in using Sendage, why not?

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      • Egghead March 7, 2011 at 2:05 am #

        Is it so hard to imagine that some people really do not want a facebook account? Is being “someone” on facebook some type of modern obligation?

        I disagree that “most climbers use facebook” as posted above. I highly doubt that. I don’t, and I never will.

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      • Egghead March 7, 2011 at 2:07 am #

        Also, I don’t really want a “sendage” account either, so Jamie, no site users lost here…

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  26. ktmt March 6, 2011 at 3:32 am #

    …that should read “I don’t have a login and I’m immediately excluded from using the site.”

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  27. Cliffhangerguides August 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    great site! We can all track each others spray, rad!!!!

    http://www.cliffhangerguides.com

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  28. Anthony November 22, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    So, over a year later, is it fair to say Sendage isn’t quite the replacement to 8a everyone hoped?

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