iCM 2.0 preview: checking any movie

We know you guys really want iCheckMovies 2.0 to be released. We are working our proverbial asses off, but to ease the waiting we will be posting a series of iCM 2.0 preview blog posts. In these posts, we will be highlighting a particular feature of iCM 2.0 to give you a taste of what is to come. Today, we start with a feature requested in about two gazillion emails: the ability to check any movie you'd like.

On iCM, you can check a lot of movies. However, you are limited to those movies that are (or have been) in at least one top list. iCM 2.0 will let you check any movie. This is achieved by letting you, our much-valued users, add movies to our database. The only resctriction is that the movie must have its own page on IMDb.com.

How does this work? Well, there are actually two scenarios: you add individual movies or you add a list of movies at once. For adding individual movies, you only need one piece of information: the movie's IMDb page. Suppose we want to add the following two movies: Cloaca (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0165832/) and Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0165832/). Having found their IMDb pages, we now have all the information needed to add them. The first step is to go to the (new) movie add page. There you will see three different input fields:

  • IMDb MyMovies list URL: add a list of movies at once by adding the contents of an IMDb MyMovies list.
  • IMDb movie URLs: add individual movies by specifying their IMDb pages.
  • Upload file: upload a plaintext (.txt) or comma-separated (.csv) file that can contain any combination of IMDb MyMovies list URLs and IMDb movie URLs.

Let's return to our example. As we wanted to add two individual movies, we add their IMDb URLs to the IMDb movie URLs textarea. Note that each entry must be on a separate line. The end result would thus look like this:


Now the last step is, surprise surprise, to click the "Import movies" button. You will then be redirected to a page that will show you the result of the import:


You might note that it says movie import queue. What this means is that movies are not added instantaneously to the database, but are first placed in a queue that will be steadily processed in the background. To ensure that you do know when your movies have been added, you can opt to receive a notification when they have been processed (and consequently removed from the queue).

Once the queued item has been processed, you can start checking the movie(s) just like any other movie! That means you can now finally keep track of all movies you have seen on iCM (which will save us a lot of time not having to answer all those emails ;) ). The import queue is of course clever enough to not add items that have already been added and will tell you this on the import results screen. To further ease things, importing your IMDb vote history will automatically add any missing movies to the database.

The second option is to put the movies you want to import on an IMDb MyMovies list. This option has one very big advantage: all the movies on the list are added at once when the list is processed. Consequently, your movies will be added to iCM much faster if you put them on an IMDb MyMovies list instead of adding each movie individually. I could have added the two aforementioned movies by using the following IMDb MyMovies list: http://www.imdb.com/mymovies/list?l=45157094.

The third option kinda speaks for itself. You can upload a plaintext (.txt) or comma-separated (.csv) file that can contain any combination of IMDb MyMovies list URLs and IMDb movie URLs.

We hope you will like this functionality! So go on, start creating those IMDb MyMovies lists!

There were some misunderstandings on how this feature fits into the current iCheckMovies structure. First of all, the focus of the website does not change, this is just an additional feature. Top lists will remain the heart of the website, the top users, neighbors and recommendations will all be calculated the exact same way in iCM 2.0. That means that only movies in the top lists created by us will be taken into account for those algorithms. New movies will not be taken into account, unless they make their appearance in one of the top lists.

Furthermore, this is an essential feature to allow you guys to create personal top lists. We have very limited time and there have been dozens and dozens of top lists suggested that we would love to add to the website, but for which we cannot find the time. Allowing users to create personal lists only makes sense when new movies can be added, as one otherwise ends up with the same lists over and over again.

The personal top lists are also an optional feature, if you do not want to they will not be shown.

And yes, the number of checked movies will only take into account those movies that belong to one or more top lists, just like it is now. The competitive aspect of the website is thus left unchanged.

8 May, 2010