Why did RememberYourFriends fail? I've emailed three friends about RememberYourFriends asking them what they think. The response has been the same from everyone: "brilliant!", "clever idea", "could be a big success", etc. But none of them actually signed up. Why??!!

RememberYourFriends.com is a reminder app that periodically reminds you to keep in touch with your distant friends. The idea came from the fact that I needed something like this for myself and thought it could be a good excuse to try some new web app techniques. It's fully web 2.0 compliant except for the lack of a shiny web 2.0 logo.

I thought it was going to be a huge success and become an interesting challange to maintain that enormous amount of email traffic that it would generate. The site is built to withstand about 1,000 requests per second but when I allowed digg.com and reddit.com to know about the site I think it collected about 3 thumbs-up across both of those news sites. Why??!!

For example the invite-sender. I put a lot of thought into that and made it extremely user-friendly (I'd like to believe) but since the feature has been available (about 3 months) only 2 single invites have been sent among the 16 registered users. Why??!!

Another thing was the fact that you really didn't have to worry about yet another password. RememberYourFriends.com has passkeys that you can log yourself in with but you rarely ever need it because you're logged in with a cookie and if you do sign out or clear your browsers cookies, you can just click any of the links in the last email sent to you which has the passkey embedded within the URL.

I'm fed up with it now. I'm not going to take it down but I won't continue to spend any more time on it other that maintenance. It's quite humiliating actually. Not for the time I've waste on it but because of the best effort I've put into it and yet it doesn't succeed. I must be doing something wrong. What??!!

Actually, one last attempt to regain my confidence, have a look at the site: http://rememberyourfriends.com/ and then return here to post a comment about why you didn't sign up either. Thanks.

betabug - 11 September 2006 [«« Reply to this]
Peter,
I was one of the few who signed up, but I didn't find a lot of things I needed reminders for. But one girl I know would like a service that sends out reminders every 28 days for a girl thing, maybe that would be a worthwile feature :-).

Appart from that, maybe it just needs a bit more patience!

betabug
Evan - 06 October 2006 [«« Reply to this]
Man, The idea is not good. I dont thing that you can forget your REAL friends so that you will need a reminder!!!Except that nowone trust someone that asks for the email..(spamm) Try something else. But it really needs a bit more patience!
Peter Bengtsson - 21 January 2007 [«« Reply to this]
Thanks for the honest feedback. Appreciated.

No you don't forget your REAL friends. Especially those that you have near you. My original problem is that I have friends I want to "maintain" who either live in a different country or very far away in the same country. Or people who are just acquaintances; where the social bond is weak but you still want to maintain it.

A LOT of websites ask for peoples email address for registration and such. The sheer fact that you did not recognize this is interesting. What I'm wondering is, what could I possibly do to prove to you that it's never going to be used for spam or something like that? What elements make people trust that? (loud thinking)
Ian Sparks - 21 January 2007 [«« Reply to this]
I remember reading that you started RememberYourFriends.com about the same time that I started http://AutomaticRomantic.com. I was worried because these ideas seemed to be in the same basic space - remembering your friends and remembering your partner : All using email reminders as the medium.

I'm sorry to see it hasn't worked out for you yet. It's a nice site but I didn't sign up because it didn't seem to solve my real problem of finding the time to maintain these friendships and knowing what level of communication was necessary (1 page email, a couple of lines, a forwarded joke?)

RememberYourFriends is still a good idea and I think you can still do something with it.

I've said more over at my blog :

http://automaticromantic.com/blog/?p=37

Good luck!
Peter Bengtsson - 22 January 2007 [«« Reply to this]
Hi Ian,
Thanks for your analytic thoughts. I'm glad you've recognized that it is a good idea. The truth is, I'm happily using it myself. I love it! It really does help me get reminded about old friends from Sweden and people I've met in London who have moved away.

For me personally/socially it was not a failure. In fact, it's been a success. In getting other people to also enjoy its benefit has been a failure and that's a shame I think. It's their loss.

Not everyone has a long list of contacts that they don't already keep constant contact with but I doubt that out of all my visitors, so few of them would benefit from the service.

The biggest problem I think, is peoples fear of trying it because of the upfront cost of having to register with their email address. My problem has been: how can I convince them in less than 2 seconds that it's safe to enter their email address? Tricky.

One thing I've been thinking about is to not ask for peoples email address on the frontpage and instead make it part of a Page 2 in the signup process.

PS. I've signed up for AutomaticRomantic but currently waiting for my password.
Jimmy - 01 February 2009 [«« Reply to this]
I know this is an old blog entry, but for what it's worth I think rememberyourfriends.com solves a real problem for people. I too have a long list of people who I don't keep in contact with. This week I actually resolved to actually write down that list and write to them all periodically. Then I came across your site. Perfect! Just what I needed.
One reason I may have this problem/need is because like the author I have worked and lived around the world, so I have friends in a lot of places. Furthermore, although I use them, I dislike social networking sites like Facebook because it's too "noisy". A simple email does the trick.


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