The last couple of weeks have been pretty busy, as is to be expected when you have six or so active projects. Among other things, I got GDNote to the point where I could remove the placeholder page and make it publicly available. It’s still a beta, but from a technical perspective it’s done (the online/offline part, mobile clients are a bit more complicated).

However, from a non-technical perspective there are still some challenges - namely, getting users. I haven’t really done anything to market it yet due to taking time to catch up on other projects, but now that I have time to think about it more I realise that finding the right approach may be difficult.

The main problem we have is describing the product in the same way that people looking for it would describe it. So far the best we have is “online notebook”, which unfortunately means different things to different people.

GDNote is a fairly structured product, organised into notebooks, sections and pages in much the same way as OneNote. Smaller projects get a section in the projects notebook, while larger projects have their own notebook with multiple sections. Bringing in content from the web is possiblie in theory, but not something I use - most of my usage is writing down thoughts that have come from nowhere in particular. This is the structure that works for me, so it’s what I think of as an online notebook.

However, the same term can be used to describe quite different products - there are apps based on clipping web content (Google Reader does most of what I need in that space), there are quite a few that do short notes designed for searching later, and there are those like evernote that are relatively similar in concept but have enough differences to not fit with the way I expect a notebook to work.

GDNote is different from all of these, but the difference is hard to describe in a searchable way for users who have never heard of the product. Being based on Google Docs so that everything is stored in your existing account is a selling point, but nobody is going to be looking for that - it only becomes an advantage after someone makes it to the GDNote website. The way notes are organised is something that people will be looking for but is not easy to clearly describe for a search engine.

Short of trying every online notebook available there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to find the one that fits how you think - Obviously something that is going to require a bit more thought.