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What Social Networks Can Learn from the Mistakes of iTunes Ping

Launched on September 2010 as part of the 10th major release of iTunes, Ping created a lot of expectations as millions of accounts were created. However, after only 3 months, this social network has almost disappeared from the mindset of Apple users.

The Google Trends graph above indicates the search volume of the keyword “iTunes Ping” on Google and it clearly marks the downward trend in interest in Apple’s attempt of a social network around its iTunes platform.

Social network entrepreneurs and designers can learn a lot from the mistakes that Apple has incurred in implementing Ping.

Don’t Mess with Facebook

As the Internet’s biggest time sinker, Facebook is the king of social media. Therefore, your social network needs to pay close attention at how it communicates with Facebook and how it uses Facebook’ API. Steve Jobs hoped that Facebook would just accept that people were able to share their Ping feed into Facebook but he was wrong as Facebook pulled the plug just a few days later. Even though Jobs tried to reconcile with Zuckerberg over dinner, no agreement was reached.

Don’t Wall Yourself Within

Apple loves iTunes because they control the music delivery network, the transactions, the operating system, and the end-devices. Therefore, Apple tried to keep Ping within the iTunes universe. This is a major drawback because anybody wanting to use Ping would have to sign up twice: first for an iTunes account and then for a Ping account. Who would want to do that?

Do Monitor Spam and Dummy Accounts

Spam is part of several social networks such as Microsoft’s Windows Live but it is expected by users that the administrators will work hard to minimize. For example, Twitter has a @spam account to which users can report bad accounts and a block & report button. Throughout the first week, many users reported a great amount of spam that included links to websites offering  iPhones for free.

Cartoon via Nerdnirvana

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