Year 4 was the most eventful year yet. We shut down our archive for items, the main thing we were known for. But we introduced many new projects.
In similar fashion to last years birthday video, we will talk about the last year, what happened and which of our promises we fulfilled, and afterwards we will give you an outlook on our goals for year 5.
I will save you the “I never thought it would be such a long term project, and such a big part of my life” and get straight to the facts.
Year 4 in Review
RepArchive’s birthday is October 20th, 2017. Since last year’s video already gave you a wrap up about everything from 2017-2020, we will focus on what happened during the last 12 months.
October 2020: RepArchive Live Launch
RepArchive Live, available under live.reparchive.com, took an idea that admittedly existed in the past and brought it back with new approach and features.
It’s a livefeed for taobao and weidian items, pulled right from the shopping agents. That makes the feed more relevant than any recommendations you find on the taobao website.
Features include price and pictures info for the last 100 items bought, links to guides, and a currency selector.
It’s a lightweight solution, but incredibly powerful to find new items, get inspired and break out of the reddit bubble.
RepArchive Live will definitely be a part of Year 5.
January 2021: Instagram QC Feed
I guess you could say this service has already been forgotten, although it’s fairly new and quite useful. This might be due to me not promoting it after release.
The Instagram QC still uses our original RepArchive database, it’s the last true remnant of this period.
What’s on the feed? 3x a day you get QC pics from 1 random RepArchive item in your feed. It comes with the ID for you to cop, plus price and store information.
One problem of the design is that each picture is an individual post. This is a limit of the Instagram API. Another problem is that QC Suite, which it ran on, is down. We have enough pictures for a long time though.
Browsing the QC feed is actually surprisingly enjoyable. In year 5 we might start promoting it and expanding it to other sites that allow searching, filtering and album posts. Sadly, it might also have to go if the amount of followers doesn’t justify the risk of getting into trouble.
July 2021: RepArchive deleted all items
Due to growing pressure from trademark owners, and a general ambition to be fully legit I decided it’s time to leave the items behind.
Looking back, it definitely took a hit on visitor numbers, but not as big as most would’ve thought. Thanks to a strong and helpful blog that brings in first time visitors every day.
I haven’t gotten a single letter from a brand since we took this step, and developing new technologies is my passion anyways. Instead of regretting it, I’m thinking of ways to make more helpful software, that would have replaced RepArchive anyways.
September 2021: TaoBot.io launch
TaoBot.io is a knowledgebase for everything I’ve learned over the last 4 years, plus my time as a customer.
What makes it great is that there’s a natural-language-understanding chat bot sitting on top of it, that makes it super easy for you to access all the information through a single chat window.
TaoBot has it’s own discord, where you can also interact with the bot, discuss the questions and read our daily release notes.
Not only on the calendar is TaoBot.io the perfect bridge to what RepArchive is trying to be, it’s also a prime example of where we’re heading: effective, targeted technology.
Year 5: What we’re working on for the future
Let me preface this by saying that I’m already heavily investing in the upcoming developments, and working more and more with external developers to get more done at the same time. This is helping me learn a lot.
What I’m unsure about, at this point, is how exactly I will put all of these sites and features together to give you a better visitor experience. Right now, with so many projects going on, becoming a patchwork is more and more of a risk. That will be one of our challenges this year.
Project 1: Taobao/Weidian Best List
This new site will allow you to see the most popular items in a simple and streamlined fashion.
RepArchive was also sorted by sales. Naturally, with each page more and more people bounced. So effectively, this will cover the use case of the old RepArchive for most users.
The sorting will be more meaningful, and different periods can be selected. For compliance reasons we won’t be naming the items like we used to do on RepArchive, but the pictures should paint a clear picture.
Project 2: A Reddit based site
This project is already online because we took over the development of an existing project. The project is cool as it is now, but I have some good ideas how to improve it. Once we get there I’ll let everyone know.
So while RepArchive Live and the other projects are based on agent/Taobao data, this one is going to be one for the reddit fans, bringing together the community and taobao/weidian items.
Project 1 and 2 aren’t everything for this year.
There are some ideas, that are planned in detail, that I don’t want to announce publicly because time constraints mean it’ll be a while before I can develop them, and this is just going to give others the opportunity to steal them.
Then there are some ideas, that are really just ideas in the back of my mind, that solve critical problems, that I think will have a great impact, but I haven’t really thought of a plan on how to make them reality.
For a few weeks I tried to be more active on social media, inspired by my friend RepRevs, who seemed to gain much more traction with a few tiktoks than I got with my software projects. Well, it didn’t go that well for me, and later the reality hit that you are at the social networks mercy (didn’t hit us, thanks to our precautions from RA).
I came to the conclusion that it just isn’t for me, and not my core competence. There are others, that are born entertainers, and they can have great success with Tiktok, but I like to think that my strength is analyzing and solving problems, and I will keep focusing on that.
An old friend, part of the RepArchive Team, is making a comeback and is going to give Tiktok another shot in our name, but don’t expect much from me, bT.