One of the top challenges of any service launching it to pass the influencers verdict. Look at Dan Reimold’s post (that I am discovering tonight because his post is on Techmeme) about the failure of Google+ “Worse than a Ghost town”.
So, here is the cycle:
-launch your service > if you’re lucky you will get (some) influencers, A list bloggers (not sure Dan is one of them), whatever you call them, write about it. In the case of Google+ EVERYBODY wrote about it, if it’s your startup, it’s more challenging.
-wait a few months > in most cases, the same influencers forgot about you and will never write again until you gain some real traction. In most cases, you never reach enough traction and just keep going as a errr…. ghost and mind you it might even make a very successful service. In some cases, like Google+, you will get obsessed users like Scoble and a few very loyal users, keep going.
-after your initial growth and success, you will generally go through a long, tough, painful no significant growth period, sometimes you will even get negative growth (read: active users declining). That’s when you need to hold tight, that’ the influencers verdict: will go through that moment and grow a loyal user base when all the influencers moved on
-if the influencers still pay attention (unlikely) like they’re doing for Google+ because it’s Google, they will trash you has Dan Reimold just did. And many others did the last two weeks. It’s like becoming fashionable to trash Google+ these days, just to be different, just because it will get eye balls, just because it’s cool to say Google will fail, again, on social.
That’s the “influencers verdict” moment. When the influencers start either not paying attention or trashing you. That’s when you are really testing your service against normal users because you have just completely reached 99.99% of the influencers and they wrote everything they could possibly write about Google+ so all there is left to them is to trash it.
Time will tell if Google+ will succeed, I am still getting incredible traction and interactions in it (thanks) so I don’t believe the influencers verdict, I was waiting for it to start to show up and it of course did.
It’s a great reminder on how to launch a new service: it’s not about the tech bloggers and writers, it’s about normal people and wether they will adopt it or not. Forget the influencers, the history is packed with services that succeeded when the influencers said it would fail and vice-versa.
No, Dan, your opinion doesn’t matter. It’s the other millions of users that matter, you might be right, but only time will tell. You’re trashing Google+ just because it will get you some attention today. update: it looks like you don’t even use Google+.