Swivel, the “YouTube for Data,” is Live

When I blogged yesterday about Swivel.com, the site had nothing but a “coming soon” banner. Well, one day later, Swivel has gone live. There’s not too much there yet, and things seem a little buggy, but it’s well worth a look.

One commenter on the original post wrote: “Coming soon” on a website is similar to “Closed for renovations” in a restaurant’s window. It’s a safe bet that the restaurant will never reopen, and it’s at least a semi-safe bet that the website will never be up. I’ll believe Swivel when I see it.

So this Doubting Thomas turns out to be wrong, about Swivel at least. But he’s pretty right about the “Closed for Renovations” sign, isn’t he? Why do restaurants always post that sign when it’s not true? Is there an upside there that I’m not seeing?


yorik

I have heard the same as redgoldfly. When a restaurant is "closed for renovations" it has probably failed a health inspection. I guess some municipalities don't post the closure notice on the door, so the owner can claim "renovations". It should be easy to cross check with the health department files to see if this is true or not.

georgemoore13

Way to kill swivel :P

500 Error

Sorry, our servers seem to have hit a snag. Please try again later.

Seems like they weren't ready to go live quite yet.

snubgodtoh

That's really neat, will be invaluable for under-grad, budding econometricians. Levitt should have included wine consumption as a RSV in his crime model: http://www.swivel.com/graphs/show/1001967
(Another vain attempt at humor. How the devil do you embed a hyperlink in a word?)

chikin03

When I was at Cambridge last spring, the Copper Kettle had a closed for renovations sign, and sure enough opened with a new paint scheme while I was gone. I bet your observation is also frequently proven wrong for nightclubs.

You might post the sign to retain (or advertise) your brand value while looking for a new owner.

ftelegdy

Here in Charlottesville, there's a local bagel chain named Bodo's Bagels. They've had two locations open for quite some time and the owner leased a third location over a decade ago. After leasing the third location, a Bodo's Bagels sign was erected and a "Coming Soon" sign was displayed in the front window and time marched on.

It took over a decade for the location to open, with no movement in or about the location until the last few months before opening. You can read the full story at
http://www.readthehook.com/stories/2005/06/23/newsAllThingsComeTenYearsL.html
but some of the owner's comments about the delay are quite interesting...

"It was never a plan to postpone it. It was always season by season, and it never felt right."

"When I was done educating my kids and didn't have a wife anymore, I couldn't find the ambition."

"I don't know how much it has to do with it, but now I have grandchildren. It gives a little push to things because I want to help them out."

So, sometimes it just comes down to not having the drive to do what's necessary to take the "Coming Soon" or "Closed for Renovations" sign out of the window. I would imagine that it's also sometimes not having the money or other resources needed to do what's necessary.

As a web designer who has seen many web sites (and made a few, as well) that never emerged from a "Coming Soon" or "Next Version Coming Soon" sign, I would say it's the same thing for web sites.

Read more...

prosa

Okay, okay, I was wrong about Swivel. As for "Closed for Renovations," all I can think of is that some restaurant owners are too embarassed to admit failure, though ftelegdy makes a good point.

prosa

Another thing occurred to me able "Closed for Renovations." If a restaurant goes out of business, but the owner has some hopes of maybe opening up another one at the same location, he might use a sign of this nature as a means of showing the landlord that the property is not abandoned and is not subject to being retaken under the terms of the lease.

byrneseyeview

It's a zero-cost call option: Customers less likely to write off the restaurant completely, and the only cost is reputation (which, if they're going out of business anyway, isn't worth all that much).

Adam Lipkin

From their TOS:

According to their TOS, if you submit anything, you grant to Swivel, its affiliates and their assignees a perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, sublicensable, royalty-free right to use, reproduce, display, perform, adapt, modify, distribute, make derivative works of and otherwise exploit such User Submissions in any form and for any purpose, including without limitation, any concepts, ideas or know-how embodied therein.

In light of that, I can't imagine that anyone would use the service to upload any really unique data they'd worked on.

jerzy

Conversely,

In NYC, at least, when a Persian Rug store on Fifth Avenue sports a
"Going Out of Business Sale" it almost never goes out of business. It's a ruse to attract the out-of-towners, in search of a plush bargain.

What early thoughts do you have about Swivel and its benefit?

Adam L. - get good on the TOS. Assigning rights over to Swivel is a non-starter.

Jerzy

Jun Okumura

Would you go to a restaurant with a "Going Out of Business Menu"? Thought so.

Seriously, could some of those signs be posted by the landlords and not the out-of-business restaurateurs?

Swivel may turn out to be an amusing site, but I'd much prefer to see a wikindex of all the subscription-free data out there. If you know of a good one, I'd very much appreciate your pointing me to it.

scribbilyg

This is more than likely the byproduct of a half-remembered truth but I seem to remember watching a news report years ago regarding the "going out of buisness" signs that furniture warehouses would display and their claims, while being seemingly false as they would never ACTUALLY close their doors, were based in legal pseudo-truth as they would somehow be involved in a 'filing for bankruptcy' situation that never seemed to end... perhaps a revolving issue and passing of titles, I've no honest idea past that. Anybody know any more on that, or is it total bunk...?

pkimelma

Note that in many places, stores cannot have a going out of business sign for more than a fixed period (such as 90 days) and if they do not in fact go out of business, they get fined. Of course the loophole is they "sell" the store to a relative, who pulls this, and then sells it back, and so on.
As to restaurants, most leases require that the place be open most of the time, else are considered abandoned. The one exception normally allowed is renovation/remodeling, so it buys time (to sell the business, get funding, and in some cases, really remodel).

ftelegdy

In NYC, at least, when a Persian Rug store on Fifth Avenue sports a “Going Out of Business Sale” it almost never goes out of business. It's a ruse to attract the out-of-towners, in search of a plush bargain.

Here in Charlottesville, business actually have to purchase a permit to go out of business. It sounds counterintuitive, but it's certainly cut back on the number of "Going Out of Business Sale" signs seen around town, particularly the ones for the stores that weren't actually going out of business.

prosa

I hope this doesn't sound naive or anything, but why do cities and other governmental entities restrict the practice of holding "Going Out of Business" sales? My first thought was that such sales are anti-competitive as the merchants holding them often undercut their competitors. But then again, nothing prevents a retailer in normal circumstances from selling its products as cheaply as it wants. Another point is that transactions at a "Going Out of Business" sale are generally As-Is, with no warranties or return rights ... once again, however, in most instances retailers are free to sell on an As-Is basis, with any warranties or returns being a matter of policy rather than law.
Am I missing something?

redgoldfly

"Why do restaurants always post that sign when it's not true? Is there an upside there that I'm not seeing?"

-- I've heard that these signs indicate the restaurant has failed a health inspection and is closed temporarily to remedy the situation. I don't know if there's any truth to this, but it makes sense that restaurants would want to post a more innocuous sign than 'closed temporarily due to health code failure.'

pkimelma

prosa, in my area the reason for not wanting going out of business signs is two-fold: they are a blight (imply the area is unstable and can harm and area's image, which translates to less tax revenue); it is false advertising (and many people make buying decisions based on what they believe rather than carefully comparing prices all over town). There are also some rules to prevent other forms of deception, although not all. For example, doubling your prices on Monday and then on Tue having a 50% off sale (or in tourist areas, having a permanent 50% off sale).

yorik

I have heard the same as redgoldfly. When a restaurant is "closed for renovations" it has probably failed a health inspection. I guess some municipalities don't post the closure notice on the door, so the owner can claim "renovations". It should be easy to cross check with the health department files to see if this is true or not.

georgemoore13

Way to kill swivel :P

500 Error

Sorry, our servers seem to have hit a snag. Please try again later.

Seems like they weren't ready to go live quite yet.

snubgodtoh

That's really neat, will be invaluable for under-grad, budding econometricians. Levitt should have included wine consumption as a RSV in his crime model: http://www.swivel.com/graphs/show/1001967
(Another vain attempt at humor. How the devil do you embed a hyperlink in a word?)