Naysayers Attack Ping

Elmer-DeWitt joins the chorus who wants Apple’s ambitious Ping social music system to grow up fast, noting that one million users have signed up:

Philip Elmer-DeWitt, Can Ping be saved?

[…] many of those people are complaining – loudly and with pretty good reason – about Ping’s shortcomings. Among the more articulate gripers:

  • TechCrunch’s Erik Schonfeld. The Problem with Ping: “The biggest problem I have with Ping is that it lives in iTunes. Not only does it live in iTunes, it is isolated there. iTunes is not social. It is not even on the Web.”
  • All Thing D’s Peter Kafka: Ping Averts Its Gaze. Apple’s New Social Network Doesn’t Really Want to Know Much About You: “This isn’t about Apple’s walled garden that keeps Ping walled off from Facebook and other services. It’s about Apple’s decision to wall off Ping from your own music collection.”
  • Scripting News’ Dave Winer. Ping: It’s even worse than it appeared: “Ping is not a social network, by any realistic definition of the term… My guess as to why we can’t post to the timeline is that Apple is afraid we might say something harsh about them or Ping.”
  • Xconomy’s Wade Roush. The Leaning Tower of Ping: How iTunes Could Be Apple’s Undoing: “Adding a social networking interface, on top of all of iTunes’ other functions, is like grafting another limb to the forehead of an octopus. It’s just too much.”
  • Cthulhu and other crazies’ Swizec. Apple’s Ping is a big pile of steaming dung: “Meh I give up, there is nothing worth following on Ping. The artists I do find are labeled as users and everybody knows it’s not really them there, it’s some automated bot thing to keep us notified of their stuff.”

A lot of these comments have merit, as do Elmer-DeWitt’s.

Yes, Apple has to do a bunch, especially these key elements:

  1. Add a lot more musicians to the mix.
  2. Broaden the mechanisms for self-definition around music, specifically moving away from genres and toward what we actually play.
  3. Support style ‘neighborhoods’ of people with similar playing profiles.
  4. Allow liking, rating, and posting about music we already have in our libraries, not just what is in the iTunes Store.
  5. Add movies and other media.

I think Apple will move in this direction and quickly, but I am amused by the people suggesting that Apple has only 48 hours to fix things or they are dead.

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