The way self-ascribed Social Media Experts deserve an extended eye roll, many a corporation have run aground on the rocks of mistaking a social feature for a breakthrough new business strategy. Enter “Ping” the new social service in iTunes 10 launched earlier this week. It feels like someone mashed iMix, iTunes Store, WordPress, Disqus, and not enough Facebook or Twitter.
So I propose 5 ways to fix Apple iTunes Ping:
1. Other Address Book Integration
Facebook integration got you down? Read the reports that the cool kids don’t use email anymore? I have to imagine with over 300M active Hotmail accounts, this is an attractive option to help Ping the world. I suspect you could offer the ability to import consumer’s Hotmail address books as well. I hear Google has a few accounts on Gmail as well – maybe they have an API you can use too. Seems Ping doesn’t have many friends who want to connect via social media these days. I wonder if you could saunter over the Windows Live and get access to the new APIs like Activity Streams.
2. Anti-Spam Controls
Be careful folks, there’s a lot of spam out there. In a recent sampling of my Ping homepage, 12 out 14 comments were spam offering me a free iPhone as the first comment on posts by Linkin Park, U2, and other major artists. Even Rick Rubin’s first comment on posts was an offer of a free iPhone from my new Ping friend, “Claude”. Time for the Pingsters to hire a bunch of simians to weed Claude’s account and others out of the system.
3. Verified Accounts
According to Mashable Ben Folds isn’t really Ben Folds, just a wannabe. Twitter had a number of impersonation issues until they added verified accounts, a while ago. Time to get on it.
4. Band Support
What about the bands or how do missing artists get added? There are Artist accounts, but what about bands who want to create their own pages and collaborate together. I guess there’s always Sharepoint.
5. Slap a Beta on it
Call it what it is – Ping is a social feature deeply in beta. Give Ping some well-needed bake time and ensure expectations match reality.
Chris Pirillo has his take here. Personally I would have been happy with performance improvements being the #1 feature in iTunes. Or maybe a FaceTime chat client, but we’ll have to wait there since there’s iPhones and iPods to sell.
Update 1: Others are taking note.
- Xconomy “The Leaning Tower of Ping: How iTunes Could Be Apple’s Undoing” (Not likely)
- Sophos: Apple gets Ping’d with comment spam – They didn’t see this coming? (Should have from a mile away)
- Guardian: “Apple’s Ping succumbs to spammers” (Factual headline)