in Junk Apps

Your Startup Acts Like an Obsessive Girlfriend

Ran Segall

Ran Segall

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post. Ran Segall is a designer who believes creative thinking & design can solve most problems. Product designer of @anydo

Imagine you’re going to a bar with friends.

Two days later you’re getting a phone call: “Hey [first_name]! we haven’t seen you for a while, how about coming for a visit?”, 2 days after that you might get this call: “Hey [first_name]! your friend [facebook_friend_name] was here today and really enjoyed, why don’t you come back?”. you might be sick of this cold calling by now, but be sure that two days later you’ll get another call: “Hey [first_name]! last time you we’re here you drank [whiskey], people who like that also like [vodka]! come by and give it a try!”.

This is of coures not some kind of a future vision – this is pretty much my life, and I’m sure your life as well.

Why? because most startups allow them selves to act like an obsessive girlfriend just because they have my e-mail address, or even worst – access to send me push notifications.

Every morning a wake up to an inbox filled with about 10-20 e-mail from services I probably visited or tried some time ago, and every 20 seconds I get a push notification asking me to “please please please open my app! I want you to love me!”

This is not some kind of result of “moden life” or “technology taking over”. It’s just the result of more brands trying to get more of my attention using more agressive techniques.

On the short term, you’re startup might get what you wished for – I’ll open the app or spend another dollar, but on the long term you’re about to make people sick of you pretty quick. Nobody likes the obsessive girlfriend standing outside his house screaming “WE SHOULD BE TOGETHER!!”

Change is on the way

I love Mailbox app. It changed my life. Really. but it also had another effect: it made me an e-mail addict. The app is actually so good I was checking my e-mail like 30 times a day.

When I realized I’m overdoing it, I turned off all my notification and even the badge showing me how many unread e-mails I have. Actually, I decided to turn off all my notification. If it’s not a phone call or SMS, it’s probablly not that important any way.

I also found out I was not alone: a friend I met last week told me he was also dealing with his smartphone addiction. My friend is an internet entrepreneur who decided to step from the apps side to the people side and now running a new campaign call: Undigitize.me encouraging people to turn their phone down when doing their thing.

Phone faced down campaign

While he’s trying to help the addict, I’m trying to tell the creators of the drugs – relax guys, before being aggressive will hit you back in the face.

To spam or not to spam? That is the question

I work for a startup company. So I too have to deal with “real life” which means I have to work hard to create user retention & engagement which of coures is not easy at all.

The easy, or classic solution is e-mail marketing, and if you are a mobile startup you have the benefit of sending a push notification. I can’t say I haven’t done it, or even that I won’t ever do that again. I, too, have to bring in results.

But – my eyes are open, I know I have to find a better way to make people love my brand rather then screaming at them at 2am that we should be together.

 

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