Have you received any random texts from friends to download an app recently? Or have noticed an increase number in “invites” to apps on facebook?
Is that app called circle?
Over the last few months Circle has been gaining popularity. With roughly one million new users a month and the folks behind Circle have been wanting to continue the growth of their app by any means possible. Unfortunately, many people have quite the negative view of the app before they have ever attempted to use it.
What is Circle? Circle is a local networking app that allows you to create posts targeting a location without giving away your specific location (they obviously don’t want your privacy to be violated while using their app.) This process is called local networking. Other applications like foursquare have done similar things before, but not quite like Circle.
The benefit of circle would be in a situation where you might be looking for something to do, or a place to go, but can’t make up your mind. Through using the app you can review Circle in your local area to find out what options that you have. You can see what is going on through different tabs including, Trending, Local News, Friends, Events, Recommendations, Sports, Nightlife, and Random. The people or businesses around your location will post through their Circle profile using one of these categories.
I thought this was a pretty cool idea! Circle seemed to do it better than anyone else that I have seen, and their app has a good looking, flat design that is easy to use. It has a very close resemblance to the iOS 7 update. And with the popularity growing the app is becoming more and more useful.
What’s the Beef?
There was one problem with the app, which just so happens to be the reason that I heard about it in the first place. For some reason, the developers of Circle had decided to be quite vague when asking its users about wanting to “share” the app with others. Not only have people complained about getting irritating invitations through social networks like Facebook, but somehow Circle had created an app that can send out texts to your contacts.
Thankfully, the CEO of Circle, Evan Reas has since vowed to improve upon the app’s sharability that came across as “spammy.” Now users can only invite as many as three friends on facebook, and can only send out up to two text message invites.
The question is, were these marketing efforts brilliant, or were they simply backtracking from their mistake? On one hand you could say that their efforts were successful. They were able to show off their product to a lot of people in a short amount of time, and since their product was a well build application that has a fair amount of value, you could argue that it was brilliant! I mean, heck, look at Candy Crush! It was probably the most often received “invitation” and yet they won people over by creating an addicting game. And Circle did change the way that their app is shared fairly quickly.
But on the other hand, I know that my initial response was something like, “Well, if you are going to choose to market in a way that made me feel tricked by using vague wording, I don’t know if I want to use your product, no matter how cool it is.”
So I guess it depends on which side of the fence you fall on. If you see the value in a well made app and are willing to accept that they may have had to resort to spamming in order for their app icon to make it onto your phone’s screen, then good for you! Or if you would rather hold out and form your own boycott against another farmville-like marketing mistake, them more power to you!