"Read TechCrunch instead" – Pushnote lets users leave notes behind on any site they visit

Pushnote wants to make web browsing social by enabling users to leave comments, in the form of notes, on any site they visit.

It’s not a new idea and isn’t dissimilar in concept to Google Sidewiki, for example, which is perhaps more aimed at academic researchers. Pushnote on the other hand is intended to have greater consumer appeal, the site gives example use-cases such as the ability to leave a note saying that “this site is a scam” or “there are better deals elsewhere”, and so on. Or perhaps commenting on a news story or resource with a link to a more accurate or updated article.

The notes are free form text so can be about anything – comments aren’t even threaded – and users have the chance to thumb up or thumb down contributions, Digg-style, so that the most valued notes surface to the top. You can also browse notes chronologically via ‘Today’, ‘Past Week’, ‘Past Month’ etc.

To use Pushnote requires installing the browser extension, which is a very bare-bones affair. You then get the Pushnote button in the top right hand side of your browser, which is coloured red if there are already existing notes on the page or blue if there aren’t any yet. Clicking on the button enables you to read contributions or add a note of your own.

Of course, the biggest challenge – presuming users want to read notes left by strangers – is that the service will only become truly useful if enough people use it, so there’s a networks effects problem here. And for a service that claims to be social, Pushnote feels a bit anonymous, lacking a social graph either of its own making or tying into Facebook, for example. You don’t even upload an avatar, instead relying on a username alone.

Pushnote is founded by John Leaver, an entrepreneur with a background in digital marketing. Privately funded, the service is currently in early beta and Leaver is looking for feedback.