Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Shelf Life and Value


I have written several posts about value from the campaign's perspective. Let's not forget it from the user's perspective either.

I like to play with new online tools and services. I am happy to try new things, but my time is also limited. There is a short shelf life for my interest. I have to not only see the potential value of the offering, but also enjoy a valuable experience throughout. When a site gets me to sign up, its an investment on my part - not only to sign up at that time, but to actually use the tool offered. I need a return on that investment.

So when a tool uses email to communicate with me, it too must provide me value, especially when it asks for more of my time.

I recently signed up with Spokeo, one of many sites out there attempting to bring the Facebook News Feed to the general web. Once you sign up, you upload your email contacts, Facebook friends and other networks. Spokeo then consolidates your friends' activity on those other sites in one place. Unfortunately, Spokeo's external integrations are somewhat limited. For example, for Facebook, the only activity that is extracted and placed within your Spokeo feed is the posting of Notes. But again, the idea is interesting and I look forward to its evolution.

Spokeo periodically sends out emails asking you to return to the site to see the new activity. I like the idea and, despite its limitations, I continue to check it out every day or two. However, I continue to get these emails. One of two things are happening. Either there is no logic behind the emails, and they are simply blasted periodically. Or, the couple days in between checks are sufficient to trip the process.

I am a sucker sometimes, so I typically do check the site out when I receive one of these notices, taking time. My problem is that, on at east a couple occasions, the quantity of new activity available for my review was sparse - 4 or 5 entries - hardly worth my time. How many of these will I receive before I ignore them? Worse yet, how many will bug me enough to cancel my account?

My point here is that delivering value to the user must be considered throughout all potential interactions and communications. Spend the time to incorporate the optimal logic for automatic communications, to ensure they add value, rather than detract.

2 comments:

Harrison from Spokeo said...

I ran across your post, and I was surprised to hear that you are receiving those email reminders. If you log into Spokeo every couple days, Spokeo should never send any email to you. ONLY IF (1) you haven't logged in for more than a week, and (2) there are enough relevant updates that you haven't see, THEN Spokeo will send you a reminder.

If you ignore the reminder for couple weeks, Spokeo will automatically turn off the reminder. And of course, you can manually turn off this feature at any time.

We build this feature because couple people have asked for it, but we've designed it to be as unobtrusive as possible. For people who use Spokeo regularly, you should not receive any email at all. If this is what's happening to you, then it's definitely a bug. Please contact us here: http://blog.spokeo.com/?page_id=114 Thank you!

Gibson Stevens said...

Wow, great customer service! It wasn't all that obtrusive. It just happened to be an example of being on the edge... It sounds like you all did think through the interaction and built the right mechanisms to manage it. If only others would do the same! Thanks so much for explaining the logic.