If there's one thing I've been blessed with in this life, it's being surrounded by incredibly interesting, articulate people. Often, I feel the urge to capture the conversations I have with people so that others can listen in and get a sense of their insight and humor. Consequently, I am becoming addicted to using audio blogging services like AudioBoo and Cinch (in fact, I may soon fashion my thoughts into an extensive comparison article between the two services). These services allow you to use your iPhone as a recording device, capture a brief exchange, then upload it to the internet where it can be instantenously and automatically published on services like Twitter, Facebook, etc.
I have tried to reach out to Audioboo before on their forums and on Twitter, but have never gotten a response from them to any of my concerns. Recently, they apologized for not responding to me and asked me what my problem(s) with the service was. Rather than trying to reply to them via Twitter, which is incredibly restrictive with its 140-character limit, I'm going to provide some of my thoughts on the service below.
So, Audioboo here are my concerns with your service, and why Cinch may soon overtake you as my audio blogging platform of choice:
1) The 5-minute time-limit - This limit is restrictive and while I'm sure the bandwidth to maintain your site is already astronomical, the current time limit simply will not allow you to compete with a site like Cinch, which has no time limit. It's a hell of a lot easier to record a conversation (which, let's admit, is already a fairly daunting task) without having to check the timer every 10 seconds.
2) Your community support is nonexistent/terrible - When I created my first Cinchcast, I was inundated with comments and Twitter messages from Cinch's community manager and the founder of the service (who also created BlogTalkRadio). I created another Cinchcast a few nights later, and the founder of the service took time to comment on that one too. It was incredibly encouraging. I felt like my use of this service was creating content that could be valuable and thought-provoking. That is, after all, part of the way to fulfill the potential of these audio blogging sites, I imagine.
My assumption is that a new startup web service such as Audioboo would want to reach out to its most active users in some way. I have spent many countless hours creating content for AudioBoo, which essentially amounts to tons of free advertising for your site. I consider several of these conversations to be interesting/entertaining, although you may certainly disagree. Either way, the number of messages/comments I've gotten from Audiboo employees (other than your Tweet reaching out to me): Zero.
3) The profile options on your website are abysmal - Seriously, this is absolutely embarrassing: A huge part of the reason people use your site is to put their Audioboos on Twitter. But when I go to a person's profile page, there's no easy way for me to find a person's Twitter username. In fact, there are basically no display options for ANY personal information whatsoever! Moreover, there's no way to contact someone if I like a boo (other than leaving a comment, but that's usually where the conversation ends by necessity). How can you possibly hope to build a community of users this way if you don't have even the most basic social features on your site, other than commenting? Or maybe you don't expect to...but if not, then why the hell not?
4) No easily-accessible counter for hits - Content-creation services like Youtube and Vimeo have an easy way for me to see how many views my videos have received. Presumably, you know how many times an Audioboo has been clicked, but you don't have any easy way for me to access this information. Thankfully, you provide a Google Analytics option, but is it so hard to have a hit counter? Seeing which boos are more popular than others helps me to refine the content I produce for any site, and I consider it an essential part of my creative process.
There are many things you do better than Cinch, Audioboo, but the purpose of this post is to enumerate the things that could use improvement on your site. So, what say you? Are these concerns valid? Are my expectations unrealistic? Please let me know.