Changes in the Offing – Part 1: How It Is

I’ve lately given a lot of thought to our registration process, and I think we need to implement some changes.

I’ve been spending a lot of time enabling more and better ways for users to quit GraphEdge or to stop receiving updates. I think that’s all good—if people don’t want the service they should be set free—but the fact is that it’s just too easy to join GraphEdge right now.

Currently, there are two ways you can join: you can follow the Twitter account @GraphEdge, or you can go to the site , click “Join”, and authenticate via Twitter. That’s all that’s required. The app will start collecting data, and will message the user several times.

We currently have two ways to message users, and the method we use depends on whether you follow @GraphEdge or not. If you do follow us, we send our messages via Twitter direct message. If you don’t follow us, we use our messaging Twitter account, @GraphEdgeMsg, to post a status update starting with @yourName, which you will (probably) encounter in your Twitter feed in one of several different ways, depending on your client of choice.

We use this alternative account because we don’t want to clutter up the @GraphEdge feed with a lot of repetitive, user-specific messages. We want to use that channel for community-wide messages, such as to announce new features or alert users to bugs.

We currently message users according to the following schedule. This is also outlined in our policies page:

  • Users receive an immediate initial “acknowledgment” message to let them know that their sign-up succeeded. This is especially useful if you sign up by following @GraphEdge (else there’s no feedback). NEW: the welcome page that new users see now has a link directly to the dedicated cancel page, in case any user signed up “by accident”.
  • We send a “welcome” message either 2 or 3 days later (depending on what time of day the user signed up), with a link to view their report. This will be many users’ first look at their own GraphEdge report.
  • After this our regular, recurring messaging takes over. We send updates every (currently) 5 days. Of course this frequency is user-editable, including to never receive updates.
  • The Report page—which is linked to in both the Welcome message and the regular messaging—now contains controls that allow users to change their messaging settings (including to never receive updates), and even to cancel the account—right there on the main report page.
  • After 14 days, the free trial is over and users will be asked to join GraphEdge when they try to view their reports. If they don’t do so within a couple of weeks, their application is completely deactivated, we stop collecting data on that Twitter account, and of course stop messaging.

Some of these policies, practices and interfaces are new, and I’m hoping they will help all GraphEdge users have a good experience, whether or not they end up liking or purchasing the service.

A few users have signed up for the trial, never clicked the links (therefore never returned to the site), and then complained that the service keeps messaging them. They try to block the @GraphEdgeMsg account, which I think should work, and they try to revoke the GraphEdge application’s access to their account within Twitter’s settings, which won’t work because we only use the Twitter app for account validation. All data collection is via Twitter’s public, open API, which does not require users’ permission. We prefer users cancel directly on the site. That way we know about it, and it’s good to know not only for feedback but because we can stop wasting bandwidth collecting data on the account.

I really hate to see users unhappy with the service. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it bothers me tremendously, and unwanted messaging seems to be the crux of the issue.

So I think it’s time to make some changes, to make registration a little more “intentional”, and require more from users in exchange for their accounts. In another post I’ll give more detail on what I’m planning, and a time-line on when we can expect to get it released.

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3 Responses to “Changes in the Offing – Part 1: How It Is”

  1. Changes in the Offing – Part 2: How it Will Be « GraphEdge blog Says:

    […] GraphEdge blog The official GraphEdge blog « Changes in the Offing – Part 1: How It Is […]

  2. Brian Del Vecchio Says:

    Thanks for taking this so seriously, Waldron. It makes such a difference in my perception of your project.

    When I signed up to try out GraphEdge, there was a delay between signup and getting my first results. I understand why it works this way, but unfortunately it makes for a difficult experience. I’ll give i another try now that you’ve made some changes.

    Best of luck,
    B

  3. TheCoachB Says:

    I look forward to seeing the results. This is very interesting. I’m relatively new to Twitter, and day by day I am getting a better feel for how I could best utilize Twitter in support of a few business ideas I have in mind. Your reports should be a huge help in analyzing benefits.

    Thanks,
    TheCoachB
    (Brett Peeples)

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