Saturday, July 02, 2005

New Friendster Interface Stinks

I recently logged onto my friendster account to be greeted by a nasty looking user interface.

I immediately sent this letter to Friendster's CEO:

To Whom It May Concern:

I've been on friendster for years.

I've seen you guys evolve from a no-name to a recognized king in the online social networking niche.

I know a thing or two about business.

Please, I'm begging you - return friendster to the way it was.

The new gray is horrendous and tough on the eyes.

Other users I've checked with agree.

Where I come from, if it isn't broke - don't fix it.

Your competitors don't have anything on you, but if you keep experimenting like this, they surely will.

The grey box under the picture has to go.

We like the white box on the side.

As it stands, interests and other user data are piled up too closely and navigation-unfriendly.

And that's only the beginning of the problem.

You guys are devolving into something like MySpace, which I barely use because Friendster was all I needed.

Until now.

Be real -- or else your bottom line will suffer.

Signed, Daniel Jacome

Contrary to popular belief, innovation isn't always the answer.

In 1985 Beverage giant Coca Cola tried to re-brand and introduce New Coke.

Retiring the original formula was not the success managers imagined.

It was instead the greatest marketing bungle of all time.

Though Coke would return to Classic Coke within a matter of months, it was too little too late.

The catastrophe remains an indelible part of Coke's historical fabric.

The issue here is flawed marketing.

Research showed people might like the taste of New Coke but the same researchers never considered how people would feel if the old Coke vanished.

New Coke was meant to taste more like rival Pepsi, which slowly began to psychologically destroy Coke in the mid 80s.

Coke's mistake was to focus on psysiology rather than psychology.

Coke was all "taste taste taste!"

Psychology, in my opinion, has more to do with marketing than psysiology.

The New Coke mess hurt the long-term strength of the brand.

As one expert put it, "New Coke introduced the concept of change and fallibility."

Coming back to my original point, the bottom line here is that Friendster never asked me how I would feel if the old interface disappeared.

And to me, that is very un-business like.

If it is any consolation, a Friendster representative contacted me shortly thereafter and assured me that Management would give my plaint some serious thought.

Let's wait and see...

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