If you are a web startup with a great idea, please read this, it might make the internet a less angry place
It really amazes me what some people think could be a good idea. I opened my twitter feed this morning to find many of the biggest names in web design in a state of shock. The responses ranged from bemusement to fury to a new site called “allthis” where you can buy 10 minutes of anyone’s time. The concept seems pretty interesting when you first hear it, Mashable would tend to agree. That’s until you find out one thing.
Allthis are selling people’s time without their consent.
Now I can’t imagine the outcome to a racket like this as anything other than disastrous. I mean, this is basically fraud. Stealing someones twitter bio, putting a big yellow “BUY” button next to it, and then letting people pay money to talk to them when that person never agreed to do any such thing. Not exactly the smartest business model. In fact as far as bad startup ideas go, this is my new favourite.
Yet this company thought this was a great idea! They were no doubt so giddy at how smart they were by creating some service that filled some huge gap in some market they just made up that they completely missed the point. That they were acting like colossal douchebags. The only reaction they get from anyone is negative, because all they are doing is annoying people. Annoying the people who pay for someones time and getting disappointed, and really annoying the person who was put up for sale.
Today there were many people announcing this awful behaviour to their hundreds of thousands of twitter followers and threatening legal action. I then watched the company themselves respond to these rightly furious people in a flippant and callous manner, when the ONLY thing they could have done to improve the situation was apologize. Not exactly customer service.
I know some people say that any publicity is good publicity, but there are exceptions. These guys have just dug themselves a very deep hole.
So to help all you startups brainstorming the next big thing, I have come up with a helpful system. When you are cooking up an idea, think of allthis. If it seems like they would like your idea, you are way off the mark. Let’s call it:
The Allthis Benchmark of Bad Business Models.
Further Reading: This Week In Douchebaggery: AllThis