First, a caveat: I’m not doing this to pick on Wavii. They are no different from myriad other web companies who like to run extra vowels and consonants together. I’m sure they are magnificent people whose dogs love them. However, they have the misfortune of having hit my email box at a moment when I was thinking about customer acquisition tactics; had a full cup of coffee; and had a moment to write.
I just received the email below from Wavii:
First of all, like many digerati, I sign up for betas all the time. So often so, that I don’t remember what the hell Wavii is or what it does. I don’t remember signing up.
When you send the “we’re finally letting you into our beta” email, remind me what the hell you do. Maybe even note where I likely found out about you, whether that’s a TechCrunch article, a conference, bathroom wall graffiti, or what have you.
Less critically, you’ll see on the right the Rapportive plugin panel I use in Gmail. Rapportive is pretty popular among digital media geeks like me. It uses an algorithm to pull in bio info for the email sender. This is the first time I’ve ever seen it pull in an unsupported browser message.
Make sure that your site is friendly to app providers who might explain to me who you are and what you do, especially if you’re going to fail to do so.
But hey, I can “GET EARLY ACCESS”!!! I’m there. There, which is here:
So, I still don’t know what Wavii is, and I’m not behind the velvet rope yet. I have to pimp out my social networks, doing free advertising for Wavii. If I work hard, am non-spammy and do it at the right time and convert for them, they’ll be nice. Why, with only one friend on board, I can find out what the hell they do so I can know if my time is well spent. Deliver five heads and I can stand right by the velvet rope while I wait. I have to double that to actually get in to this thing that I don’t know. Maybe I’ll buy some Facebook ads to get 20 people in and get a free t-shirt that further promotes my new friends at Wavii whom I still haven’t seen.
(To be fair, there is an “About” link… below the fold on my full-screen browser on my 21.5″ monitor)
I know that the “get your friends to join the beta” to get access tactic has become de rigueur. That’s why I’m writing this– I’m dismayed to see that the exciting new New Media industry is already falling into a standard playbook, and generally doing so with so little regard for its users, customers, community. It’s tacky and lazy and cynical. It’s the sort of thing that makes me hate what some people treat social media as– a firehose for spam.
Wavii is not alone in this– I’m sure I’ll get another dozen of these from multi-million-dollar-funded, two years-old-and-unlaunched stealth companies in the next month. I’d just like to think we (the industry) can do better.
But maybe I can’t blame Wavii and their ilk, when the success stories set such a lousy example. Here’s the email I just got from recently acquired Summify, which Twitter is going to shut down and absorb its team:
You’ve probably noticed we’ve been quiet lately. Well, we’re extremely excited to announce that Summify has been acquired by Twitter! I know, right? We can hardly believe it ourselves!
We are going to focus our efforts on making Twitter even more engaging and useful for you. While we can’t get into details on what’s to come, we can say that we’re excited and we think you will be too.
Thanks a lot for your support!
What happens to Summify?
We will be disabling new account registrations immediately and we will also be removing some features. We will keep the email summaries for a few more weeks, but at some point we will shut down the current Summify product. In the meantime, if you’re a user of Summify you’ll still receive your summaries, just like before.
What features are you removing?
Starting today, the following chances will take effect:
- We’re removing the ability to make your summaries public (i.e. all summaries will be private)
- We’re removing profile pages and influence pages
- We’re removing the auto-publish feature
- We’re disabling user registration from the website, iPhone and Hootsuite apps
Why are you removing these features?
We are offering a more streamlined service as we transition our efforts to working at Twitter.
Will you still be in Vancouver?
We will be moving down to San Francisco and will work out of the Twitter office.
What will you be doing at Twitter?
We are joining Twitter’s Growth team and will continue to explore ways to help people connect and engage with relevant, timely news.
And, a huge thanks to @robncampbell for all his work with us over the last 7 months.
The Summify Team
Look, I get it. I had to make changes I didn’t like after selling my company. And I’m sure it was a deal you had to take. But, within the bounds of reason, acknowledge that. Apologize for killing the service. Empathize with the fact that I might be annoyed.
I’m seeing lots of bubble behavior lately. But I’m not so sure we’re in a real bubble, or will be for long. And while I don’t remember signing up for Wavii, I sure remember the way people conduct their businesses.
- Vancouver startup Summify joining Twitter flock (blogs.vancouversun.com)
- Summify Users: We’re here for you. You’re safe. (news.me)
- So That’s What Wavii is Up To: “Making Facebook out of Google” (xconomy.com)
- Time To Meet Wavii, The Super Stealth, Super Awesome Startup Based In…Seattle? (techcrunch.com)