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Where did Apple flawlessness go?

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Yes, we Apple users are spoilt.
Everything works – and it does not just work but every touch or click feels thought-through. That makes the system and the hardware feel like one solid coherence. And I’m happy to pay the price of being in a walled garden for that.

But parts of iOS 6 are worrying me a little – it almost looks like Apple lost that flawlessness they had for every single pixel. The App Store redesign is to be frank a disaster.
I’m not only feeling for developers who’s great apps are going to stay undiscovered but even more for us users. The charts are already a nightmare to browse but the search is just disappointing.

Does the interface designer really think one would swipe through 10+ pages of search results? I give up after latest the forth app. I understand that a screenshot in the search result is nice to have but it makes the search simply unusable.
At least give us an option to get back to the list view, ok Mr. Cook? And please find that flawlessness that we all love again.

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Well played UltraDNS

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Someone’s doing their homework!
I just received a cold call from UltraDNS/neustar regarding the GoDaddy outage yesterday.

We’ve got one of our bigger properties with GoDaddy – only reason for that is their pretty good DNS manager tool – I actually dislike them because of the horrible upselling techniques. UltraDNS now offered their better, more secure services as they’re concerned about our pages.
I like initiatives like that – Kudos to the neustar sales team for being so pro-active. Makes me want to move.

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Developers, just get over yourself

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Fuck you!
Account deleted!
Screw you!

That’s the kind of reactions in my Twitter (!) feed when Twitter announced changes to their API.
Now first of all: how many of you actually coded around the Twitter API? And don’t count your ‘tweet’ button integration. Almost no-one, I know. So think before you shout.

I understand your worries if you built a company merely around Twitter and are anxious about your future. But that’s a self-made problem – never built a product for one service and one service only. Think vertical scalable. Even Zynga learned this and tried more or less successful to break out of Facebook’s walled garden.

One of the biggest issues developers were having is the ‘contact us if you use our data extensively’ policy. Where is the problem? Wouldn’t you be concerned if any random third-party not only makes use of your infrastructure but sucks the most valuable part of your company, data? I’d like to at least speak to the person/company who wants to do that – we might even be able to work together and both of us make some cash.

And it’s tough but hey, they simply don’t need you anymore. Twitter is mainstream and their priority is at the moment monetization and not necessarily growth. So do they need your little service? No they don’t.
So just get over yourself.

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The Groupon Effect

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With this post I’m trying to shed some light on the question “How does a Groupon deal influence visits to my eCommerce website?”.
Please note that below graphs are not representing orders and the short and long-term brand awareness effect. It really is just a representation of visits on the page.

We had on two of our eCommerce properties Groupon deals – even though the deals were different in terms of length and the actual value were the effects on increased traffic pretty much the same.
One of the pages had the deal very close after launch and traffic increased therefore significantly – we’ve measured a increase of more than 800%. The other project was live for a couple of weeks and overall traffic on the page therefore higher but uniques still increased of more than 250%. The effect is still measurable for 2 or even 3 days after the deal – both properties had more than double as much traffic on day 2 compared to a normal day.

Let’s look at the hourly chart – the Groupon email goes out early (around 6AM) and the highest traffic spike is therefore at 8AM when most people arrive at the office and open their mails. We’ve recorded at one project more traffic in the three hours between 6AM and 9AM than during a whole normal week. Again – this project only just launched so this is not representative for longer established eCommerce projects with higher traffic but still impressive data. We even had to do some on the fly server tweaking as the load became too high for our 4 servers.
On deal day users spent average more than 7 minutes on the page and visited almost 10 pages. More than 80% were new visits, bounce rate was comparable low and basket size increased as well.

A Groupon deal is something that can and should be considered by eCommerce business – most business take a loss with their deals but especially for young projects is Groupon a good way to build brand-awareness for a comparable cheap price. Especially if eCommerce marketing tools like roadblocks for email signups and abandoned cart follow ups are in place such deal can actually become a powerful marketing campaign.
What is your experience with Groupon deals?

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Facebook Mobile | or “Facebook’s Death”

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Facebook has a problem according to the stock market. It lost almost half it’s value since the IPO. The problem is mobile.
No, the problem is not mobile. The problem is a problem that no-one found an answer to: “how to monetize mobile”.
Facebook’s biggest issue is that their business modell can’t be directly applied to mobile. And that’s a massive problem – I actually can’t remember when last I’ve used Facebook’s desktop version. I either fire up the FB iOS app or access the newsfeed through flipboard or pulse.


I’ve you compare above screenshots you know why. Let’s be realistic here, the FB app is one of the worst apps for iOS but it’s still better than the cluttered desktop version.

Facebook’s problem is not the amount of mobile traffic – and they’re making through acquisitions sure (Instagram, Glancee) that no other mobile social network can grow – but how to make money with all that traffic?
The second biggest income generator – the selling of virtual goods mostly through Zynga – simply doesn’t work on mobile. Zynga must be biting their butts now that flash is dead…
Facebook’s money making machine, advertising, doesn’t work either on mobile. The only way to get advertising mobile is to change the ‘no ads in the news feed’ philosophy. That’s kind of the case with sponsored stories but I understand Facebook’s hesitation. Mixing the news feed with paid for entries will make many users upset.

So the big question is – will Facebook solve the open question “how to monetize mobile” or will it fail?
My bold statement: mobile is going to be Facebook’s slow death. Facebook won’t exist in its form in 3 years from now. It’s either going to be a virtual ghost town or a sale candidate without an buyer. Goodbye Facebook.

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MWEB Service Fail

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Dear MWEB,

I was giving you a nice opportunity to show that you are better than the big Mama Telkom. But you failed. Badly.
2 months ago I applied for a new telephone line with Telkom. For some reason I’ve decided to order a uncapped ADSL package including the ADSL line with you MWEB. That was a mistake. It took Telkom not even a week to get the line activated but I’m still waiting for my MWEB ADSL line & account. That got me wondering if that’s your normal service attitude towards new customers.

Dear MWEB,

I was wondering if you ever get in contact with new customers yourself or is your service understanding that customers have to call in to get updates? I was also wondering if it’s normal that your call center apparently opens on Sundays at 10AM but you still hang up on people at 10:45AM? And I was furthermore wondering why the “technical” support can’t give me any assistance regarding an ADSL line – shouldn’t they have access to the same systems as your sales department?

Dear MWEB,

I’ve got some advice for you.
Why don’t you put some more cents in your CPA/CAC to build the following:
- a simple email or sms notification when an order has been placed online. Gives us customers peace of mind.
- a sms notification system for different order-status. Something like “Your ADSL line order has been placed with Telkom” or “Please send us your proof of residence to complete the order”. Keeps us customers informed and happy.
- a notification system for your outbound call center to give waiting customers are ring after ‘order open > 14 days’. Makes us customers feel special.
- a backend to see orders and notifications. But for that you need to enable a new account/email address immediately and not confuse customers why they can’t log in. Gives us customers the feeling that you’ve got your tech under control.

Sincerely,
Nils