It is time to talk about My Starbucks Idea again!  Starbucks has revamped and improved the site as of yesterday late night, and this time with all true improvements after a night of site maintenance.  Time to invite my readers to come check out the improvements. So what has changed? The big change is that there are now profiles!! For the first time, users can have a profile. It’s a very mini profile, but it is something. A user can provide a name, location, and favorite beverage. The box that allows you to write in your favorite drink has some limitations.  Apparently you are not allowed to use it for links or urls to your favorite website, as you might do with a  profile signature, or other free form profile box. Either that, or Starbucks doesn’t like  I’ve tried several times today to put in the box, in a couple of different ways, and lo and behold, moderators remove the link. I guess you’re really only allowed to put a favorite drink in that box.  The profile shows when you hang your cursor over a participant’s name within a comment thread.

There a number of smaller, but also important changes.  The site layout seems easier to read in terms of colors.  It takes fewer clicks to get to comments now, because you don’t have to constantly click and unclick the hide/view comments button. The comments area now has a basic text editor! Participants can place comments in bold, or italics, and paragraph breaks finally work again. The site seems to load faster too.  Some participants have icons near their names indicating “top commenter”.  I’m not sure I even want to be known as a “top commenter” but I guess I am flattered!

Every change that was made looks like a much needed improvement.  You can now see which way you voted on a thread too. That’s a little thing, but a welcome change also.  Previously, you voted on a thread, and the thumb-voting icons showed that you voted, but there was no way to go back later and refresh your memory how you voted.

On a loosely related topic, the photo for this thread shows off my prized latest Starbucks schwag. A kind person at the Starbucks Support Center completely surprised me by sending me this authentic coffee mug! Someone knows my pretty big soft spot for all things MSI. I love it! Thank you!

I assume everyone else likes the MSI changes, but I open it up for discussion on this or ANY Starbucks related topic…

[[Edit on 1-10-2010 – If you like the topic of Starbucks schwag, visit this blog post here too (Starbucks lunchbox and mugs):

Or you may like the previous blog post on Starbucks “flair” .]]

Edit on 1-11-2010:

In the comments there is some discussion of links being allowed at MSI.  People do sometimes put a variety of links in the comments of threads.  I’d agree with the analysis that it is inconsistent to allow self-promotion links in threads but then to constantly remove my link from my profile.  In fact, I think the profile link, which is more of a signature, is less intrusive than linking in comments. Here is a screen cap of the kind of links in comments that MSI gets (and there are many more, I just grabbed this one…)