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CanberraRoadWatch.com

June 13th, 2007 at 06:33am

A few weeks ago I was asked to help test a new Canberra based website, CanberraRoadWatch.com, so I had a poke around, did a bit of testing and provided some feedback. At that stage I didn’t know how close it was to public release, so I wasn’t entirely sure if my first impressions would still be accurate when the site was eventually ready to go live.

Yesterday I was informed that the site is now live, so I had another look. There have been a few modifications, but ultimately it is still much the same as it was when I was asked for feedback, which in my view is a good thing.

The website is essentially a “dob in a bad driver” site, something that has been done a few times before, but this one is different, mainly because it is by far the most straight-forward website of its type, and as the name implies, is focussed solely on Canberra. The main benefit here is that a simple website which focuses on one area is much easier for users to navigate the site and do whatever they need to do quickly and with minimal fuss, and without the burden of being inundated with information about people in cities on the other side of the country.

When you visit the website you are greeted by a short list of recent reports, and information on how to report an incident, plus links to a page where you can search for incidents involving certain number plates or locations, and another page where you can sign up to the CanberraRoadWatch monitoring service.

In many ways I think the monitoring service is probably the best feature of the site, especially for businesses with company car fleets (although as I’ve mentioned previously, the ACT Government’s car fleet seems to have been immunised against the road rules). The potential here for vehicle rental businesses is considerable.

Obviously the monitoring service has other uses too, such as monitoring the driving habits of new licensed teenagers, keeping tabs on people you lend your car to, and possibly even monitoring people you are investigating for whatever reason (hello private investigators…and perhaps ASIO).

I think the main benefit of this site is that people won’t want their car listed on there, so hopefully will behave sensibly…it may take them getting listed a few times, but with any luck, CanberraRoadWatch.com may help to make Canberra’s roads safer, and that can only be a good thing.

Samuel

Entry Filed under: Canberra Stories,Samuel's Editorials

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7 Comments

  • 1. Tim  |  June 13th, 2007 at 8:41 am

    It looks interesting. The only problem I can see is that people may start adding fake incidents as a way of revenge, or for pranks.

  • 2. Tim  |  June 13th, 2007 at 8:47 am

    Hm.. the other small problem, is that I wouldn’t pay $30 a year to monitor 10 number plates when there has been only 4 incidents recorded this month, and we’re almost half way through the month.

    Do you know how long the site has been open for, and if they’re planning to market it?

  • 3. davky  |  June 13th, 2007 at 9:18 am

    Its good to have a local version this type of website. I am just worried as they do not say who they are. There is no information at all about the company or individual running the site.
    It makes me question their agenda.

  • 4. Samuel  |  June 13th, 2007 at 9:48 am

    Revenge or pranks is certainly an issue, and I’ll take that up with the people behind the site to see what they are doing about it.

    And it’s only really been open to the public since yesterday afternoon, I believe the other incidents were spotted by the people running the site and mainly put there for testing purposes more than anything else.

    Certainly it would need a larger user base for the monitoring to be of much use, so I suppose the marketing is an issue also worth following up.

    I’m only aware of one person running the site (the one who contacted me), I don’t really know for sure, but will find out, if there are others involved.

    Apart from the monitoring service where more information is needed for billing purposes, the only information collected is the number plate, incident description, and location. I’ll also follow up on the privacy policy for you.

  • 5. Samuel  |  June 13th, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    Looks like some of your concerns have not fallen on deaf ears, an “About Us” page has been added which seems to answer some of the questions.

    I won’t quote the page because I would need to quote the whole thing to do it justice, but it might be worthwhile checking it out at http://canberraroadwatch.com/about.php

  • 6. kaydo  |  June 14th, 2007 at 2:16 am

    They only seem to have 15 records, and they spell ‘description’ wrong. Doesn’t scream credibility yet, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

    Certainly looks open to abuse if you see the freeform comments people have written, particularly that most just say “StUPID”. Not hugely useful

  • 7. Samuel  |  June 14th, 2007 at 3:13 am

    I pointed out the spelling problem to them weeks ago, looks like it has been fixed everywhere except for the individual incident descriptions.

    I was only able to find three records which used the word “stupid” (or variations thereof) and none of them were recent, but I do agree that if somebody is going to write a description, it would help if they included a few details.


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