I am sure everyone has heard of Flock by now. It was almost impossible not to read about it at least somewhere with the amount of hype it had going for it. I would like to jot down some quick thoughts on why Flock never stood a chance in replacing Firefox as the default browswer of the non-IE crowd or even have a chance of penetrating any markets. I know it’s still early in the life of Flock, but where’s all the positive buzz now that it’s available to download? I know saying that Flock never stood a chance is a bit harsh and comes across as downright foolish of me to say, but I figured that in this instance I should pick a side and stick with it instead of sitting on the fence.
I have yet to actually try Flock and therein lies part of the problem. I never tried it because I didn’t see a need for it. I don’t need another browser and I certainly don’t need another way to blog or view del.icio.us links. Flock simply doesn’t solve any problems that I am having with my daily computing experience, while Firefox did back in the days.
Part of what made Firefox so successful was that it came at the right time. It came at a time where many people were frustrated with IE and businesses were getting tired of IE’s vulnerabilities. When a company switches software there is a good chance that people will go home and begin to use the software, but companies don’t switch unless there is a underlying need to do so. I can’t think of any reasons why a company would need to switch from Firefox over to Flock.
Why would a normal home user be enticed to switch over to another browser when they just got used to using Firefox over IE? If they blog I am assuming the majority of them are comfortable with using the web-based interface that comes with their blogging package. If they are power bloggers then there is a good chance they use a desktop application to handle their blogging duties. How does Flock properly fit in?
Last week I spoke about branding and the message of a company and this is an area where Flock could use a lot of help. Their website offers no insight into what they are trying to do or even worse what Flock is really all about. A “social browser” tells me nothing.
Notice how nothing that I have written about has to do with how good or bad Flock is? If you are a lover of Flock you would almost prefer that Flock handles all the issues above and releases a shitty product because a shitty product can be fixed (ask Microsoft). It’s funny reading people write about how Flock will make money, but nobody talks about how they will even get the number of users to an amount that will help them make money. Maybe they have plans to stomp out these issues, but I’m just not seeing it happen.
One final thing that I think hurt them was that they simply used the hype machine a bit too well. They got overexposed before the product hit the shelves and you could just sense the blogosphere (yeah I used the word) waiting in anticipation for some great failure. A little buzz never hurt anyone, but a lot of misplaced hype can be killer. When I visited San Francisco I had the opportunity to meet some of the Flock team and you got the sense that they were also getting caught up in their own hype. Hell, it seemed that everyone in SF was getting caught up in the hype of whatever they were developing because it’s such an insular community. But that’s another issue all on its own.