What do you think? Is this bad timing, a buzz-killing mistake, or artificial scarcity that creates more buzz?
I was in an email conversation recently with the founder of one of the coolest new news apps available on the iPad, and he asked me what I thought about Flipboard.
I’m guessing why he asked: all that buzz, all at once. This is an iPad app released last week. It’s supposed to integrate Twitter and Facebook, with news and blogs, and a cool iPad look. In case you missed it, try this Google search. Nearly two million hits. Suddenly, everybody was talking about Flipboard.
Buzz envy. Who can blame him? Pardon my cynicism, but it doesn’t look that much different from the new Huffington Post app, or Apollo News, Pulse News, or Skygrid. So how did they get all that attention all at once? Have your marketing people study that one. It’s very impressive.
But here’s the business problem: timing. Wasting your buzz by not having your logistics ready for it. Take a look at what happens today, after you download your Flipboard, when you start to use it:
You guessed it: they’re taking email addresses and building a waiting list. “We’ll reserve your place in line,” they say. The bandwidth wasn’t set up to handle the marketing. I got interested, downloaded, and now have to wait for however long it takes to actually run the app. The buzz happened without delivery. Remember a few decades back, when people talked about vaporware? Credibility gone fast. Buzz wasted. What a shame.
Unless it actually works. After all, I just added another page to the buzz.