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Archive for the '1 Star' Category

My Appointments

Nov 27, 2007 in 1 Star, Business, Facebook, Money

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Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

How to “Facelance”

When it comes to Facebook applications there is a plethora of “just for fun” apps that don’t provide much added value or service to Facebook beyond entertainment. So when William Blanchard told me about his company LAMBcast, Ltd’s new app My Appointments I got very excited about the possibilities. My Appointments promises to help you monetize your “skill, talents, and expertise”. It enables you to freelance directly through Facebook by providing an appointment scheduling and payment system on your profile page. Could this be one of first truly utilitarian applications? Will it spark a gold rush of service oriented applications?

I had to investigate further so I immediately installed My Appointments. Well — almost immediately. There was a brief pause of confusion as I stared at the about page which had a logo and description referring to an application named “Hire Me”. I finally inferred that Hire Me is simply another name for My Appointments. It’s easy to assume that this is probably to attract both users of My Appointments and their potential clients who would hire them. But I must admit it made me hesitate. The last thing you want as a middle man service layer is any sort of doubt in the mind of your would be clients. People do not like their source of livelihood messed with.

My Appointments Logo

Once you install My Appointments you are prompted to fill out a short questionnaire about your services, contact, and billing information. After I completed the questionnaire I was taken to a page informing me that my trial period was now over and a subscription of $5 monthly through PayPal was required for “uninterrupted use of Hire Me!”. This was a little unsettling and jarring to me. Not that $5 a month is much to ask for from a service that helps you schedule more clients efficiently but the fact that I was never given a trial period to begin with. Suddenly I felt like I had been deprived of something I didn’t even know I had had.

My Appointments Trial Over

My Appointments Profile Box

After that I wasn’t sure what to do next. I wasn’t about to pay $5 now for something I supposedly could have tried for free and there didn’t seem to be anymore options or tabs to click on. I decided to check out my profile and see what a potential client would see. Boy was I in for a surprise!

My Appointments had embedded the largest profile box you can imagine that looked like a giant banner for “Hire Me”. It clocked in at a whopping 924 pixels in height. The bulk of it was a box featuring the “Hire Me” logo saying “Click To Enter”. Once you click on the profile box the interface is enabled and the large banner turns into your appointment calendar and scheduling form where clients can click on an available time slot and submit their contact information. There is also a PayPal button at the bottom of your profile box allowing your clients to be redirected to PayPal to submit their payments to you.

That is about the extent of the functionality of My Appointments. Oh — except for the fact that it kept spamming emailing me every time I did anything! Not only was I never informed that it would be emailing me, but I’m not even sure where it got my email address from. Did it get it directly from my Facebook profile? Or did it utilize my PayPal login email address in a way that I was not informed it would? Either way, receiving a steady stream of emails from an unidentifiable sender that contains the same messages the user interface already told me is completely irritating. Plus they are full of typographical errors like “Thank you for addming this Application.”

My Appointments Email

The Result

I admit it was love at first sight with My Appointments — but then I woke up the next morning sober! I was so excited about the idea of a truly useful app that I almost over looked the glaringly obvious user interface and usability issues. To top it off the usefulness of My Appointments is rather limited. I couldn’t figure out a way to import or export existing appointments so unless I use Facebook exclusively and have all of my clients book their appointments on my profile I am going to have some major scheduling conflicts.

The over zealous email notifications, super-size-me profile box, missing free trial, and handful of other quirks all contributed towards the 1 star rating. I haven’t given up on my dreams of a Facebook app revolution though. I think with a lot of hard work LAMBcast could be on to something with My Appointments. If they can fix all of the bugs and polish it up there is a potential market of hundreds of thousands of self-employed people on Facebook. Some who might even be willing to spare $5 a month. But if LAMBcast doesn’t, someone else will.

Uninstalled but you can still hire me for $160 an hour. Well, maybe. Let’s talk.

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My Aquarium

Nov 23, 2007 in 1 Star, Facebook, Just For Fun

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Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

My Aquarium is a virtual fish tank for Facebook. With a current ranking as the 28th most popular app on Facebook according to Facebook analytics site Adonomics I decided I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Economies of Fish Scales

My Aquarium starts off with a cute and harmless about page that looks like a lot of fun. Once I installed it I was greeted with a box informing me that I currently have 250 coins and can invite up to 20 of my friends in order to earn 25 more coins each. At this point it is apparent that the virtual fish for your virtual aquarium are going to cost me some virtual coins so I click a few faces and rack up some coins.

My Aquarium Earn Coins

Once I finishing inviting my friends and have accumulated 850 coins I am taken to the main page which displays my empty aquarium, a box to send a fish to a friend, a button to claim my free 75 coins, and a link to earn 2,500 bonus coins. I quickly click to claim my free 75 coins and am taken to a full page ad promoting another application and message telling me to “Come Back Every Day To Receive Your 75 Bonus Coins”.

My Aquarium Claim 75 Free Coins

How to Hook a Fish

One ad a day for 75 free coins is a fair trade, I guess? But that is just the beginning. At this point I’m thinking well if it was that easy to get 925 coins I might as well go for the 2,500 coins next. When I click on the “Click Here To Get Up To 2,500 More Coins” link I am taken to a page with a list of different lead generation links like this one promising me 2,500 coins, and the chance to win a 42 inch plasma television if I fill out a survey.

My Aquarium 2500 Coins Survey

Now the red flag warnings are going off in my head. They want me to give up a bunch of personal information to generate a sales lead for something I don’t need for 2,500 virtual coins to buy some virtual fish? No thanks!

I return to the main page ready to buy some fish. I click more links, buttons, and tabs only to see the same pattern repeating, each one wants me to invite more friends, view ads, install other applications, or fill out lead generating surveys. At this point I became very frustrated. All I wanted to do was buy fish to fill my aquarium and I couldn’t find where to do this, all of the links felt very misleading and were quickly losing my trust.

After 5 minutes I finally found how to buy fish, a small link below my aquarium at the bottom of the page said “Send Chad A Fish”. Apparently My Aquarium was designed to keep you in this lead generating circle so the basic core functionality of buying a fish you can’t even do without sending yourself a request from yourself.

Once inside the fish store I browsed through a dozen or more cute cartoon looking fish and other marine animals. Adding fish to your aquarium in the store is as easy as dragging and dropping.

My Aquarium Fish Store

Half the fish though are glittery looking and clicking on these pops up a large dialog telling you that you must install the Webfetti Toolbar in order to view them because “Webfetti holds copyrights to glitter text, profile glitter, and talking smileys.” I am not a lawyer, but how do glitter fish fit into any of those?

My Aquarium Webfetti Toolbar Dialog

I bought a few non-glitter fish, jellyfish, and even a shark (500 coins) just to see how they would look. They bob around in your aquarium adrift joining other fish that your friends have sent you as well.

The Result

The graphics are certainly cute and any fish lover is sure to enjoy them. In the end though My Aquarium has lost all of my trust. It is easy to see how it has become one of the most popular applications on Facebook with such aggressive marketing techniques. It’s also no wonder how My Aquarium developer Greg Thompson is able to generate the $3 per user annually that he claims to.

Having worked for Internet marketing firms in the past though I know all to well how easy it is to mislead and confuse users into an endless circle of lead generating until they have had enough and uninstall your application. My sincere apologies to all of my Facebook friends who I sent invites to. Now excuse me while I go uninstall My Aquarium.

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Which Olsen Twin Are You?

Nov 21, 2007 in 1 Star, Facebook

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Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Yes — that’s right, the answer to life’s looming question is finally here! Which Olsen Twin Are You? is the Facebook application designed to help you sleep at night by riding your subconscious of this burning question. Brought to us by the minds of Katherine Barscay and Tomas Lin.

Mary-Kate or Ashley?

Which Olsen Twin Are You? presents you with two columns of choices that you are to choose your favorite from for each row. There’s about 10 questions in total. Based on your answers it then proceeds to tell you which Olsen twin you are. My results: Ashley.

What Olsen Twin Are You: Ashley

Katherine and Tomas claim this app was inspired by the following video. Does Facebook need applications like this? You decide.

The Result

After spending about 1-2 minutes installing this application and answering the questions to have the answer revealed to me I can honestly say I will no longer wonder which Olsen Twin I am. So what’s the point of having this in my profile box?

What Olsen Twin Are You Profile Box

Uninstalled

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