Connect with us

Tech News

Thinking About Navigation

Published

on


I don’t remember who said it – it was a general expression about how people find them through long tail searches and then ‘hop-scotch’ around their site.

And it got me thinking:

Traditional blog navigation sucks.  Big time.

In July, the people that found me via search engine looked at 1.74 pages per visit.  Of course, half of those people were only trying to find a chicken sandwich joint and found me instead.  I’m sitting here on 272 posts and 21 pages on my blog over the last 14 months or so, and only a handful are looked at with any frequency.  And granted, only maybe 20% of anything there is worth reading, and that’s a conservative estimate.

If someone is looking at a post I wrote 18 months ago, how do I facilitate their exploration of the site from there?  How do I get them to recognize that the stuff they want to see might be there and that they can get to it easily?

Think about the typical category link.  You click on it, it shows you a bunch of posts in that category, a huge rambling list.  It’s ugly, it’s unfriendly, it’s not easy to use and see what’s there.  When did spewing mounds of tangentially related content onto a long page become an acceptable content organization paradigm?

Typically, you’ve got your little links across the top, some down the side, maybe even two rows of them – something I personally find incredibly difficult to read, and very distracting.  Lots of text links, sprawling down the length of the page.  I’d love to see some other heat maps of how many people actually click or look at those things.  I know from those of my own site – not many.  But I’m just a guppy in these waters.

What the big boys do.

I went over to Amazon to have a look around.  Who has more stuff to organize and show than Amazon, right?

So.  Amazon homepage.  Navigation: both sides, across the top.  They’re trying to sell me a Kindle and some Tevas in the middle, in some prime page real estate (Amazon doesn’t quite have me figured out, I only read electronic books while barefoot).  But hold on: I bet I can get to anywhere on Amazon using only that top nav bar and the small high-level side nav bar.  Because as soon as I click on, say, Apparel & Accessories, I get to pick: Apparel, Shoes, Jewelry, or Watches. 

Obviously, we pick shoes.  And voila, our navigation choices change.  I have now identified myself as a shoe buyer, and the site has changed accordingly.  The center is a special offer, prominent, followed by some basic category navigation with pictures.  The right nav – all offers specific to shoe purchasers, pictures of shoes, special savings on shoes, it’s a whole shoe orgy over there.  Left nav – more categories: womens, mens, childrens, athletic, eco-friendly.  Also: shop by brand, shop by size.

Translation?

This has some basic translation to real estate websites.  I want to talk to a first time buyer differently than I talk to a move-up buyer or to a seller.  So why do I show them the same navigation, the same links to the same stuff, making the same offers to everyone?  This makes no sense to me. 

If the whole point is to get the right information to the right person at the right time, then shouldn’t my navigation, my whole site adapt to that person as they make navigation decisions?

And as a corollary: if I allow people to navigate easily to the stuff they want to see, then wouldn’t it be more appropriate to not shove a huge thousand word post in their face unless they specifically request to read it?

(Also, I’m accepting gifts of anything made by Privo, size 8.  Hurry, there’s some special offers…)

Kelley Koehler, aka the Housechick, is usually found focused on her Tucson, Arizona, real estate business. You may also find her on Twitter, where she doubles as a super hero, at Social Media Training Camp, where she trains and coaches people on how to integrate social media into successful business practices, or at KelleyKoehler.com, a collection of all things housechick-ish. Despite her engineering background, Kelley enjoys translating complex technical concepts into understandable and clear ideas that are practical and useful to the striving real estate agent.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Melina Tomson

    August 2, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    I have been messing around constantly with my blog due to this very issue. Flow is really important to me. I know when I go to sites with bad flow, I just leave. If you find a blog site with good blog flow let me know.

    I’m running out of ideas.

  2. Bob

    August 2, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    A lot depends on what your goals are. Amazon isn’t a blog and their sole goal is conversion, so the mindset is different. Most RE bloggers want their posts to be front page, and that happens at the expense of conversion.

    WP is unbelievably flexible in the right hands, and with a slight change in perspective, conversion rates can go way up.

    Take a look at the sites of two who comment here on AG:
    MackPerryHomes.com. and Dan Connelly’s Realty4Atlanta.com. Both are on a WP platform, but the blog is not the focal point. The home pages are static and designed to sell (kind of a novel idea given that they are real estate agents). There are other static pages as well, but the key feature is that the right nav on these pages is specific to the page – the buyers page has right hand nav links useful for the buyer.

    The goal with both of these sites was to gain a more Amazon-like conversion rate, while maintaining the blog, all under one roof and set upon the same foundation.

    A third example is Kristal Kraft’s KristalSellsDenver.com. As many know, Kristal is a prolific writer and her blog archives go back 5 years, yet Kristal is a salesperson first and foremost. Conversion is priority one. This site is simple in appearance and the home page navigation is intuitive. Click through to the static pages on home buying or relocation though, and you will be presented with a side nav whose link architecture is specific to the page topic. It too is built on WP.

    By removing the blog as the primary focus, you can actually attain better results. Changing the focus is the hard part though, because most will find that a very small percentage of users who enter the site on non-blog pages click through to the blog. That can be hard on the ego for some.

  3. Teri Lussier

    August 2, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    I happen to have a great fondness for thousand word posts.

    Amazon? Brilliant idea, as usual. I’m trying to find a theme that gives me a gazillion, or at least a few, ways to get to information. The normal blog category idea does suck and isn’t as useful as it could be and that’s where I lose a few people. I’m not sure I want to be Amazon, but one or two steps more than what I have would be nice.

  4. Seth Parker

    August 2, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    I hate the navigational structure of most blogs, including mine. I’m always changing themes, looking for plugins, etc., and it’s hard to look at it from a potential client’s perspective. I would like to find a widget with a “My Favorite Posts” or something that I could specify to keep some fresh links on the main page. I have a few good ones (I think, anyway), but they’re buried in with the bad ones.

    Plus, I had to throw a comment in here. My RSS feed keeps telling me that I’ll get a free pizza or a leprechaun or something if I comment! 🙂

  5. Benn Rosales

    August 3, 2008 at 1:10 am

    Seth, you’ve come to the right place, here’s exactly the plugin you dream of https://www.ditii.com/2007/05/31/featureme-wordpress-plugin/

    I tested this plugin with 2.5 but not 2.6. Try it out and let me know what you think.

    Best, Benn

  6. Carson Coots

    August 3, 2008 at 1:43 am

    Joomla is an alternative to WordPress when you really want to have the site side modules and menus change according to the section or subject of the current page.

    You can assign ‘modules’ to show only within specific sections and categories. The modules can be lists, menus, photos, and anything else. Oh, and modules can be used in a plethora of positions including the footer and header.

    Oh yea, you can make the entire theme change according to sections also. So theoretically, a user might be reading a relo-based article and see nothing but custom relo buttons and banners down the sides, a list of neighborhoods, a map and you may even want only articles in the relo category to have moving boxes next to the logo in the header. All possible.

    The bad news is that Joomla has a longer learning curve than wordpress, and really can be a tax on time when customizing. But… it is a great CMS for getting more control over everything.

    One could argue that time used to increase conversion is better than time used to draw even more traffic in many cases. A site that adjusts around the visitor will always win if it manages to make the experience more relevant without ruining the simplicity navigation.

  7. Teri Lussier

    August 3, 2008 at 4:03 am

    Carson-

    I’ve been toying with the idea of using Joomla- do you use it? Have any RE sites you can share as an example? How long is “a longer learning curve”?

  8. Mike Taylor

    August 3, 2008 at 5:55 am

    I think as prolific as we might like we are sometimes, 90% of the people who land on our sites are looking for one thing…homes for sale. They might come back to the blog later to find out who we are and what we have to say, but I think you always need to have what they are looking for easily accessible.

  9. Mack in Atlanta

    August 3, 2008 at 8:33 am

    @ Bob You are absolutely correct. WP is an awesome platform and being able to customize the side navigation based on whether the visitor is in the buyer, seller, home search, blog, etc sections of the site does give the visitor a more personalized return to their query.

  10. Kelley Koehler

    August 3, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Thank you Bob! I’ve been saying for a while that a blog is just a framework, so the question of do I have a website or do I have a blog is like asking if you want to eat fruit or if you want to eat an apple. It’s just an easily leveraged framework.

    Teri – you and your thousand word posts… 🙂 Long posts are fine. Are they fine for every situation and visitor? Maybe not.

    Carson – we ended up with WP mu (yeah, I know I said Drupal earlier. I got busy, didn’t have time to pick it all up, and we can do 90% of what we want with mu) and a structure that should allow us to present the proper information to the proper person. Someday, I’ll learn Joomla, it always sounds interesting.

    Mike – the people that land on my blog aren’t usually looking for homes for sale, if you trust their search keywords. The people that land on my traditional static site – those people are searching for homes for sale. I’ve got 2 vastly different audiences going to 2 very different places.

  11. Seth Parker

    August 3, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Ben,

    Thanks! I’ll download and play with it tonight! I’m still on 2.5….lots of complaints about 2.6, so I’ll stay put for now.

  12. Erion Shehaj

    August 3, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    A lot depends on what your goals are. Amazon isn’t a blog and their sole goal is conversion, so the mindset is different. Most RE bloggers want their posts to be front page, and that happens at the expense of conversion.

    @Bob This post is unbelievable for those of us that blog for business. I love the idea of customizing options based on the characteristics of the prospective clients. In other words, looking at the hierarchy of links on a site navigation as a system of filters that tell you more and more about what that consumer might be interested in seeing, is the right idea here. But one also has to be careful in making sure that if someone misclicked a link, they are not presented with an unsolvable mase of worthless options resulting in an immediate clickout.

    @Kelley Great post! As soon as I read it, I opened up a new tab to see how Amazon’s navigation structure worked. Considering some changes to my site as well. Thanks for the chore 🙂

  13. Bob

    August 4, 2008 at 10:41 am

    But one also has to be careful in making sure that if someone misclicked a link, they are not presented with an unsolvable mase of worthless options resulting in an immediate clickout.

    Erion, that is an excellent point. While most online think in terms of site architecture, just as important is the concept of “information architecture”.

    Take a look a this article about carding sorting, written by Claus Schmidt. He discusses the technique for sorting any number of subjects into just seven themed groups. In most cases, this would be the top nav that would be consistent across the site.

    Claus originally posted that here on Webmasterworld.

  14. Bob

    August 4, 2008 at 10:50 am

    @ Carson, In addition to Joomla, Drupal is also excellent for this kind of flexiblity, but it also has a fairly steep learning curve.

  15. Mark Eckenrode

    August 9, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    this is a great topic of conversation and one that really should be held live since there are so many angles to the discussion.

    real quick aside re: amazon: i visit there often, not to shop but to see if i can spot any changes. they constantly are split-testing their layout, copy and design. constantly. watch godaddy, too. they’re often tweaking with things.

    back to regular programming: when it comes to navigation there’s really 3 things at work, layout/design (obviously), copy (big difference between “home listings” and “find a home”), and conversion channels (the paths you want visitors to take once they hit your site). all of it should help your visitor achieve their goals and yours.

    here i go with strategy before tactics again 😉 with your site, you’ll definitely have the main channel you want your visitors to take (you’ll most likely have 3 or so – one for folks ready to act now, ones doing research, and those still in the contemplation phase).

    now, when you create the content for your site (blog posts, tools, articles, etc) consider how it will re-direct visitors into one of those channels because, let’s face it, not everyone will be coming through the front page…

    amazon and godaddy both do this, go check out their sites now and look to see what actions they consistently keep guiding you towards.

    before you start playing with how and where you have your navigaton set up, get crystal clear on what channels your navigation should support.

  16. Steve Simon

    August 12, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    You are absolutely right! (and I don’t often say that to people), however your point still leaves an unanswered dilema, “How do you get the user oriented variable interacting site without having a budget like Amazon’s?”
    I would like to test different page looks (let alone navigtion systems). The reality is unless you’re BMW, Amazon or the like, Google will not enen crawl your site with enough frequency to allow you to make the changes in a meaningful setting. You’ll be trying to gauge your new approach and Google will be showing your two month old cache. They are going to crawl the big guys ten times more frequently, and clean their cache close to real time; they are not going to allow you that same luxury.
    I am not always received well but I usually tell the truth 🙂

  17. Mike Taylor

    August 12, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    @ Steve – Have you ever heard of or used website optimizer from Google? This allows you to do what I think you are talking about with no penalty or any negative ramifications from G. You should take a look at it.

  18. Steve Simon

    August 13, 2008 at 4:57 am

    Well since you brought it up (and some others had a very good alternative) lets have some more discourse 🙂
    The Google optimaizer just lets you measure, track, and gauge which setup is working best for you..
    It does not create the different version, nor will it guarantee a faster more frequent crawl and crawl will and does ot mean an update of your cache..
    Some good points:
    Joomla the CMS king will do exactly what we are speaking of without much difficulty; the problem as stated, Joomla is so robust, that the learning curve is quite intense.
    There is another option!
    A really spectacular WP theme. You can download a “Magazine” type theme like this one:
    https://www.der-prinz.com/2008/01/20/wordpress-magazine-style-theme-branfordmagazine/
    It will do all that we have been discussing, but again the learning curve goes well beyond basic wordpress.
    It does however have great appeal to me, and I think a switch will happen soonas my school site is only seven months old, better now than two years from now 🙂

  19. Mark Eckenrode

    August 13, 2008 at 11:13 am

    steve, i am totally not getting your connection between google crawling your site and optimizing your on-page navigation for visitor experience. they’re completely unrelated. oh, and the google-bot is “trainable.”

  20. Steve Simon

    August 13, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    I don’t need to turn a series of comments into a debate. My point was and is each time you revamp a site, you can sit there for weeks with the entire site or portions thereof in Googles cache. If you’re telling me that the time and resources needed to do this and effectively make the changes while the Bot tracks the results for you is insignificant to you, you are very lucky.
    You have a very nice home page, but your point of view is a very aggressive Guerilla marketer’s point of view.
    I am just talking about fact and detail. Your response was a little cheeky, so in the interest of in-kind return 🙂
    Your home page has 107 html errors on it. I would attend to that before discounting what others had said. Here is the link to your pages validation report:
    https://validator.w3.org/check?uri=https://www.homestomper.com%2F

  21. Mark Eckenrode

    August 13, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    @steve: hey man, it’s all good. i’m not trying to discount what you’re saying – in a conversation on getting ranked and getting ranked quickly, your google cache point belongs.

    however, in a topic on optimizing page navgation for better usability and visitor conversions… ya lost me. i could just be dense but i don’t see the connection between google’s cache (rankings) and usability (conversions). but, hey, i’m in class if school is in session…

    and yeah, my site doesn’t validate ass 100% clean html/css because i have repeating CSS id tags. oh, the horror 😉 i don’t see how that ties into the topic at hand, either.

    it seems that you’re talking about aspects of SEO which is all find and dandy but, like i said, if the google cache has any weight on converting on-site visitors i’m all yours, man…

  22. Steve Simon

    August 13, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    The folks reading the original post were reading about navigation. Your suggestion(s) will allow for duplicate links, down time, needs for analysis and potential penalties from the search engines.

    Your marketing mentors the Guerrilla Guys are very aggressive.

    I would guess from your writing style I am a little older than you. Less aggressive, and am much more likely to buy into Google’s concept of Simply Provide Useful Content.
    In looking over your site at Homestomper.com (the name kind of says it all:) I see the much outdated concepts of force feeding material, manipulating short term responses, and more. Capturing emails and list building so as to ultimately “Assault Market” is counter to most of the best agents I have met. The best agents, have been organized consistent listeners, with good attention to details.
    I have taught over twenty thousand students (all adults) the principles and practices of real estate, sales and broker level, certified general appraising, and mortgage brokerage.
    I spent eight years in public office I have seen an aggressive slick delivery more than a few times.
    The tactics that you suggest (on your other sites will not lead to high level of ethical performance).
    We are simply very different people…
    Last post here for me, You were here first 🙂

  23. Mark Eckenrode

    August 13, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    @steve: all i’m trying to get from you is an explanation on how optimizing a site for visitor usability and conversion is related to google’s crawl and cache… and how you’d be penalized by google for doing so.

    a point you still haven’t explained. why am i pushing for it? because there’s enough mis-information out there already.

    my suggestion of understanding your visitor’s goals and the different levels of information they need at different points in the buying process only helps you to create releveant content so that they can more readily achieve their goals… and, yeah, you get to achieve yours along the way, too. seems like good business. aggressive? interesting choice of words for an approach that’s visitor-centric.

    let’s take a look at your arguments against this visitor-focuesd approach:

    1) duplicate links – cross-linking content is actually a good thing for google and site visitors. if google didn’t like you linking to on-site content then blogs wouldn’t stand a chance in their rankings but we all know that’s quite the contrary. google loves deep-linked content.

    as for the user experience side of cross-linking content – linking to content that’s relevant only helps them find the information they’re looking for in an easier more accessible manner. yay for usability.

    2) down time – turning on a split/taguchi/multivariate test on a site will take a few minutes at most. if you’re re-designing a layout or theme then you’re doing that offline. no down-time there.

    3) needs for analysis – umm, yeah, you definitely want to analyze your stats. a business owner who doesn’t look at his stats is plum crazy. doing so can even unearth market intelligence that could be contrary to your thinking – further enabling you to properly optimize the site for your visitor. site and business analysis is important – of course you want to do this. silly rabbit…

    4) potential penalties – you still haven’t explained this one for us but judging by the fact that google provides one of the best multivariate/split test tools available you don’t have much weight here. in fact, google even rewards advertisers in their adwords system for optimizing their ads (and sites!) for relvancy and click-throughs – they lower your bid prices. google likes sites that are designed with the user in mind.

    the suggestions i gave actually support google’s concept of Provide Useful Content.

    wow… look at all these words i just typed and not once did i attack you or feel the need to try and validate myself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tech News

Tired of Zoom? NVIDIA announces AI-powered contender

(TECH NEWS) NVIDIA’s AI-based video technology offers helpful features like face alignment, gaze correction, and noise cancellation to optimize video calls.

Published

on

Woman on video call with coffee, NVIDIA video conference tech coming soon

For the most part, Zoom has dominated video conferencing, but it might soon face competition thanks to NVIDIA. Recently, NVIDIA announced its new GPU-Accelerated AI Platform, NVIDIA Maxine, that it says will “vastly improve streaming quality” and offer incredible AI-powered features.

NVIDIA Maxine is a cloud-native video-streaming AI platform so data doesn’t need to be processed on local servers. Instead, NVIDIA’s servers process the information so users can use the cool AI features without having to purchase any new specialized hardware.

“NVIDIA Maxine integrates our most advanced video, audio, and conversational AI capabilities to bring breakthrough efficiency and new capabilities to the platforms that are keeping us all connected,” said Ian Buck, vice president and general manager of Accelerated Computing at NVIDIA, in a press release.

Maxine’s “breakthrough efficiency” can be seen in its AI-based video compression technology. The AI tech reduces the bandwidth used on a call to one-tenth of the H.264 video compression standard without compromising video quality. In doing so, less data is transmitted back and forth so slow internet connection and limited bandwidth won’t be a problem anymore. Hopefully, this helps bring an end to the dreaded “you have a poor connection, blah, blah, blah” message.

Some of the features that make NVIDIA Maxine standout are face alignment and gaze correction. These two features allow for a better face-to-face conversation. For instance, people will no longer appear to be staring off into outer space. With face alignment, the software will automatically adjust people so it looks like they are facing each other. And, with gaze correction, it will help simulate eye contact. According to NVIDIA, “These features help people stay engaged in the conversation rather than looking at their camera.”

Also, if developers choose to do so, they can allow users to choose an animated avatar. These avatars offer a realistic feel because they are driven by a person’s “voice and emotional tone in real-time.” Plus, the auto frame feature automatically follows the person in the frame so they are always in view. This is great when you’re doing a presentation or demo.

The feature that stands out to me is the noise cancellation filter that removes background noise. Anyone with a toddler or dog will be a big fan of that one! Continually pressing the mute and unmute button could finally become a thing of the past.

Maxine also has a “conversational AI”. With NVIDIA Jarvis (not to be confused with Iron Man’s Just A Rather Very Intelligent System), developers can integrate virtual assistants to take notes, set action items, and answer questions in human-like voices. Additionally, this AI offers translations and closed captions all in real-time.

By taking a look at what NVIDIA Maxine has to offer, there is no denying Zoom has a lot of work to do if it wants to stay on top. Although it did dabble with real-time captioning back in June, Zoom’s offering was very limited. And, Maxine is on its way up.

Early access to the NVIDIA Maxine platform is available to Computer vision AI developers, software partners, startups, and computer manufacturers creating audio and video apps and services.

Continue Reading

Tech News

How psychologists are using VR to profile your personality

(TECH NEWS) VR isn’t just for gamers. Psychologists are using it to research how people emotionally respond to threats. But does it come at the cost of privacy?

Published

on

Man using VR in personality test.

When you put on a VR headset for the first time, most people have that ‘whoa’ moment. You’ve entered an enchanting otherworldly place that seems real, but you know it isn’t. You slowly tilt your head up to see a nicely lit blue sky. You turn your head around to see mountains and trees that weren’t there before. And, you finally look down to stare at your hands. Replaced by bright-colored gloves, you flex your hands to form a fist, then jazz hands, and back.

Playing VR games is exciting and interesting for a lot of gamers, and you would (or maybe wouldn’t) be surprised to know that psychologists think so, too. According to The Conversation, psychologists have started researching how people emotionally respond to potential threats using VR.

Do you think this is weird or cool? I’ll let the following help you decide.

So, why did psychologists think using VR would help them in their research?

In earlier studies, psychologists tested “human approach-avoidance behavior”. By mixing real and virtual world elements, they “observed participants’ anxiety on a behavioral, physiological, and subjective level.” Through their research, they found that anxiety could be measured, and “VR provokes strong feelings of fear and anxiety”.

In this case, how did they test emotional responses to potential threats?

For the study, 34 participants were recruited to assess how people have a “tendency to respond strongly to negative stimuli.” Using a room-scaled virtual environment, participants were asked to walk across a grid of translucent ice blocks suspended 200 meters above the ground. Participants wore head-mounted VR displays and used handheld controllers.

Also, sensors placed on the participants’ feet would allow them to interact with the ice blocks in 2 ways. By using one foot, they could test the block and decide if they wanted to step on it. This tested risk assessment. By using both feet, the participants would commit to standing on that block. This tested the risk decision.

The study used 3 types of ice blocks. Solid blocks could support the participant’s weight and would not change in appearance. Crack blocks could also support the participant’s weight, but interacting with it would change its color. Lastly, Fall blocks would behave like Crack blocks, but would shatter completely when stepped on with 2 feet. And, it would lead to a “virtual fall”.

So what did they find?

After looking at the data, researchers found out that by increasing how likely an ice block would disintegrate, the “threat” for the participant also increased. And, of course, participants’ behavior was more calculated as more cracks appeared along the way. As a result, participants opted to test more blocks before stepping on the next block completely.

But, what else did they find?

They found that data about a person’s personality trait could also be determined. Before the study, each participant completed a personality questionnaire. Based on the questionnaire and the participants’ behavior displayed in the study researchers were able to profile personality.

During the study, their main focus was neuroticism. And, neuroticism is one of the five major personality traits used to profile people. In other words, someone’s personality could now also be profiled in a virtual world.

So, it all comes down to data and privacy. And yes, this isn’t anything new. Data collection through VR has been a concern for a long while. Starting this month, Facebook is requiring all new Oculus VR owners to link their Facebook account to the hardware. Existing users will be grandfathered in until 2023.

All in all, VR in the medical field isn’t new, and it has come a long way. The question is whether the risk of our personality privacy is worth the cost.

Continue Reading

Tech News

Failure to launch: Quibi’s short-form platform is short-lived

(TECH NEWS) Despite receiving major funding from big players, Quibi is shutting down only 6 months after launch. What led to their downfall?

Published

on

A mobile phone open to Quibi in feminine hands with decorated nails.

Only 6 short months after launching its platform, Quibi has decided to pull the plug.

The mobile-only streaming service’s vision was to create short-form videos with higher production value than that of competitors like YouTube or TikTok. Having enlisted big names such as Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Jennifer Lopez, and Lebron James, Quibi had high hopes for what the service could accomplish. In an open letter posted to Medium, founding company executives Jeffery Katzenberg and Meg Whitman cited timing and the idea of mobile-first premium storytelling not being strong enough as the primary reasons for shuttering.

“As entrepreneurs our instinct is to always pivot, to leave no stone unturned — especially when there is some cash runway left — but we feel that we’ve exhausted all our options.” The letter stated, “As a result we have reluctantly come to the difficult decision to wind down the business, return cash to our shareholders, and say goodbye to our colleagues with grace. We want you to know we did not give up on this idea without a fight.”

The move is somewhat surprising considering that back in March the service managed to raise an additional $750 million in funding, bringing its total fundraising to $1.75 billion. At the time, Quibi CFO Ambereen Toubassy had touted that the second-round of cash had provided the organization with “a strong cash runway,” that would give Quibi “the financial wherewithal to build content and technology that consumers embrace.”

Originally called “New TV”, the initial investors of the service included Hollywood titans Disney, NBCUniversal, and Sony Pictures Entertainment just to name a few. While the amount of money raised was minuscule compared to services like Netflix, it was still an impressive start for an untested idea.

The service did itself no favors, however, in trying to gain new subscribers. Along with being mobile-only, the service started at $4.99 per month for an ad-supported subscription, only slightly cheaper from more robust offerings like Hulu and ESPN+. While you could pay $7.99 per month to get rid of ads, you were also forbidden from taking screenshots, limiting the ability of content on the service to go viral.

Quibi was also financing content, meaning that ownership would revert back to creators after just a few short years. This means building a growing library of content owned by the service was an uphill battle from the start.

“This was flawed from the start, down to the idea of financing content and then giving it back to the creators after a few years.” Said a veteran producer who refused to work with the company, “There is anger in town right now, because it just makes it harder to raise money.”

Quibi is set to be inaccessible starting around the beginning of December, according to a post on the company’s support site. While much of the service’s content will not be missed, one still wonders what might have been had the company managed to gain some traction, or the COVID-19 pandemic had not come to pass. Either way, Quibi’s business partners may want to read up on some of these tips as they discuss where things should go from here.

Continue Reading

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!