(Note: I wrote this a week or so ago but just realized it was still sitting in Draft mode. The lesson, as always, is that I can’t even be trusted with my own stuff. –CT)
It took less than a week after the launch of Jelly, the new Q&A app that comes from some of the founders of Twitter, for brands to start poking their noses into the conversations that were happening there.
For those unfamiliar, Jelly is designed to tap into the power of your social networking friends, essentially crowdsourcing the answer to something you can’t quite figure out. It’s based on pictures and works by uploading photos and asking questions along the lines of “Hey, does anyone know what this is?,” with your friends then chiming in. The value proposition is that the people you know are smarter than a generic search engine, something that may not always be true but which is actually more applicable (at least in my experience) with pictures/photos than general queries.
So far limited metrics are available, and those that are show after an initial flurry of excitement usage and engagement dropped sharply. Jelly itself acknowledges that in its check-in post by saying this is just the start of a long slog in terms of acquiring users and proving its value.
Interestingly, the pushback has already begun. First you have this, about the brands that are taking initial and tentative steps into Jelly:
There may not be a pure business play yet but brands are tinkering with the opportunity nonetheless. GE asked its followers which scientist (past or present) they’d like to sit down and have a coffee with, Travelocity stuck to answering questions as the roaming gnome character while CNBC posted a picture of a Tesla and asked: “If you could own any car in the world, what would it be?”
And then, not much later in my RSS reading, this popped up:
No, the real deal-breaker is the marketing. The thing launched like three seconds ago and already I’m getting notifications for “questions” from mobile phone companies, soft drink firms and so on. As Mashable put it, Jelly is the new “play toy” for brands.
And then this from that same article which perfectly encapsulates my feelings about introducing on a community that hasn’t even had time to form:
But for Pete’s sake, can’t you marketers let me get comfy first? Maybe let me poke around and see why this new platform is fun (a debatable point) before you start hitting me over the head with the brand hammer? Do you have to be in there from day one?