TechCrunch's guru Michael Arrington has

by francine Hardaway on September 20, 2006

TechCrunch’s guru Michael Arrington has admitted this week that he is an investor in Dogster ( Now, he may be a brilliant man who has taken over Silicon Valley with his blogs and parties, but I must admit I think he’s going to get a quick Web2.0 lesson from this investment. The lesson will be in humility, because Dogster sucks. You can mash up many things, but I’m not sure you can mash up dogs and humans (yet).

Lest everybody who reads this because it has Tech Crunch as a tag, let me assure all you strangers that am an early adopter of just about everything. So when I heard that Dogster launched last year, I spent hours on the site signing up my own dogs and checking out the dogs of others. But after a few weeks of exchanging emails with other chow owners and other golden owners who wanted play dates or just wanted to give my dog a “rosette,” I got tired of politely returning the emails of other people who had a lot more time on their hands than I do and decided I could put that time to better use by playing with my dogs instead of writing about them.

In the immortal words of web design, was not “sticky.” I had no reason to come back.

When I went to the Tech Crunch party in August, I met one of the founders of Dogster, and he told me the site would soon launch many new features. Tactlessly, I told him it needed them and recounted my experience. I wonder what the $1m he just received in funding from people like Arrington will produce.

What would Dogster need to become the portal of choice for dog enthusiasts? (Read: sickos who sleep with their dogs). Well, for one thing, it could aggregate information about canine health,saving me countless trips to the vet’s office to ask questions like “What’s the best food for a golden retriever “? or “do I really have to brush his teeth every night”? I also occasionally want to know how much exercise my dog needs, or how much chocolate will kill him. I love being able to look these things up on the Internet, and I use Google to do that.

Even more interesting to the committed dog owner are the dog behavior problems. How do I stop this goofball from raking my arm every morning when I want to stay in bed and he wants to be fed? How do I stop him from running up to other dogs barking like an idiot while wagging his tail wildly, and then stopping at the last minute in a downward slide like a cartoon pup?

And oh, by the way, the site could always sell pet products. I buy rubber balls by the case from, and I get my dog food dropped at my house by Goober Express. A one-stop shop would be nice.

Other sites have this information, but no one place has it all. A place like Dogster should have it all.

One other comment: the site’ s so busy it’ s hard to find out what it DOES have. A couple of weeks I had to put one of the dogs I listed on Dogster to sleep, and I wanted to transfer him to a part of the site for memorials, or to take him off completely. However, I couldn’t easily find out how to do this, or how to write his obit. I suspect that capability is on the site, but I just couldn’t find it. So for the owners of Dogster I recommend a simpler interface.

I’ve made a note in my calendar to go back to Dogster in six months to see if there’s anything new. When I went back yesterday to do my research for this blog, I saw that there’s now something called “Catster,” too. Actually, I also have a cat. But when was the last time YOU arranged a play date for your cat?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Barce October 17, 2007 at 1:43 pm

Hey Francine, Did you go back to dogster? We have more of the information features that you mentioned in your blog.


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