December 3, 2011

Why did Color fail?

Once upon a time, a few months ago, someone in the United States of America came up with a great idea. A magical mobile application that promised to change the way people share photographs online. Then there was a lot of hype. And a lot of investors came along and put in plenty of dollars in millions hoping that this app is going to change the universe. And they called it Color.

That was the first time I heard about it. Color, a magical mobile application that investors trusted. I also heard that it was available only on iOS devices. So I lost hope, wondering what in this world makes these developers develop certain applications only for iPhone.

And then there was the Royal Wedding. I heard that Color was going to cover the event better than all the other Media Houses put together. I think they also encouraged some journalists to use the application so that it was back in news again. It was back in the news. Websites wrote about the great million dollar fund application that was going to show off its abilities at the Royal Wedding.

I didn't get to see how they showed off the application in connection with the Royal Wedding. First, because it was not available for download though someone said the application was now on Android too. Second, even if I had the application I will not be able to see a thing as I was not at the venue where the Royal Wedding was happening. Apparently, the photographs you loaded on the application could be seen only by people near you.

Color is back in news again. It seems that after some serious thought, they have dropped the idea of becoming the best photo sharing application in the world. As they were getting ready to conquer the world, someone who was already ready came along and conquered it. So they threw the photo sharing idea out of the window. Now, they are about to launch or relaunch the whole application as a video sharing application. The chances of color going to win the video sharing game? A big zero.

Why? I am sure these guys are going to repeat the same mistakes they made when they launched the application first. What were their mistakes?

One, when you create a massive hype you need to make sure that you capitalize on it as big as possible. You will never win if you create a huge hype and then launch your product only in some pockets of the world. Either you create a hype and launch a big way. Or just shut your mouth and trust the word of mouth. Color just created a hype which was more than it could handle. And it failed.

Two, never ignore the Third World. The Third World may not have the money to buy your application. But it has the human resource to click on your advertisements. Free applications win if they can get the maximum numbere of eye balls looking at them. That is how you get to sell people's data and serve advertisements. And Asia and Africa are they best places to get your eyeballs. Android is the best example for this. Unlike iPhone, android focused on the whole world. And it has the maximum number of users from all over the world. It does not matter to Android now, even if Americans do not use it. Color launched only in US and later in UK. I am not sure if they ever launched in other parts of Europe and America. I know one thing, it never launched in India. I never used it.

Three, there are three kinds of photographs people share online. Some of them are photographs you want to keep to yourself. You put them online because you are worried you will lose them. Otherwise, you don't want anyone else to see them. Some are photographs you want to share only with people you know and are close with. And some photographs you share for the world. Now you cannot have an app that allows you to share photographs you want everyone to see and then let only a handful of people around you see them. That new category does not exist. Color allows you to share photographs you want the world to see with a few random strangers near you. That is as dumb as photo sharing can get.

I read somewhere that the creators of Color has this new idea of sharing mute videos. Mute videos? Are you kidding me? That too at a time when real video sharing sites with plenty of voice and noise are struggling to make both ends meet! I do not know. I will never know how it will work for Color. Looking at the spelling of Color, I am sure that these guys are not going to launch anywhere else in the world.

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