Did you use the Invite feature on Anahitapolis website? Yes, No, why?
We installed an embryo release of the Anahita ™ Invites app on Anahitapolis (www.anahitapolis.com/invite) you can use it to invite up to 3 of your friends to Anahitapolis so they don't have to fill out the contact form on this page Join Anahitapolis Atrium
Not many of you have used it. So there are 3 possibilities that I could think of:
You didn't know about it
Well now you know :)
You tried using it, but there was a bug and it didn't work
In that case we would like to know what went wrong so we can fix it.
You just didn't bother!
Which brings up a good question. Is the Invites app one of those features that we all think is good and we must have it on our social networks but in reality it never gets used, but we refuse to accept it because it goes against our belief?
Tell us what you think please!
Personally, I saw it, think it's a great tool, and intend to install & use it on my project, but don't know anyone at the moment that would be a candidate for inviting to Anahitapolis.
I saw it there. I didn't use it because my friend knew about the project. (Actually, now that I think about it, he isn't a member yet). I was referred to a person interested in developing a social networking site, so I will probably email him the site URL.
As I type this I am concluding that I probably won't use it simply to invite someone to a free membership as it is easy to just send an email from Thunderbird, which is always open and I don't have to look up their email address.
However, if by sending an invite my friends got a discount to the paid membership, I would undoubtedly use it.
If I end up developing the social networking site I have in mind, I would use the invite feature for this purpose.
Hope the feedback helps!
I saw it and used it. It didn't work. Arash said it was repaired and reinstated my 3 invites which I again duly sent, sadly again it didnt work. Fist tome round the links to activate didnt work, second time round my invitees didnt receive any emails at all...
It is though a MUST have feature, in the long term it should also extend to an additional invitation capabilities from other networks as well, particularly FB with a pop up of your own friends to check to invite.
Let me know when it's fixed and i'll try again :)
I invited one person, who will join after they return from overseas. I really wish I had more people to invite....but most people I know glaze over when I mention what i'm doing....;) I agree with Shane, invites would be more useful if it offered discounts or another extra, something a person could only get with an invite...
So far I have invited one person, don't know their status, I plan on inviting another person or 2.
I will install the app on my site later on today/tomorrow.
3) I just didn't bother! and i agree with your assumption behind it. if it can tell you more actually i never sent invite to people from fb, twitter, linkedin, gowalla, foursquare or others.
In my case I simply can't think of anyone else out there who might think about building a social network, let alone has the capability to do so - I don't work amongst programmers. I know some but none to my knowledge are looking at this sort of thing, and they use other languages, and/or have specialisms that really don't touch this area.
I guess that is 3, but I'd say you have made an assumption there that we know people who would be interested - but people who build social networks don't tend to hang around together, except perhaps in programming communities that I am not a part of. On the other hand my target market hangs around together a lot, rides bikes together, meets up for coffees, joins clubs, all in the real world, so Invites make more sense there I think?
Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn though will enhance it significantly - as Shane says, with email there are alternative methods to use - with people you only contact via Facebook or Twitter, an Invite feature comes into its own, plus of course it can then also be incorporated in the signup process (with / without Connect).
Possibly a case of it being the first app that, though it will have a real application elsewhere, isn't perhaps as appropriate on Anahitapolis itself?
I see that as a good thing, because the basics are there, and now perhaps its time to look at other apps that many Anahita networks will need to be successful, but not necessarily Anahitapolis - events comes to mind - when would Anahitapolis need those for example? Yet you can't deny they are important elsewhere...
That said, whether Invites will be as important elsewhere as some of us think it will remains to be seen...
@Andy... Good points! I support your opinion.
@Rastin...Same over here.
You can only invite people if you know someone who is an expert in programming, e-business and so on and unfortunately I don't know anyone who is interested in building social networks.
So Andy is right. Its easy to find and invite people to "riding bikes together, meet up for coffees, join clubs etc.
"I see that as a good thing, because the basics are there, and now perhaps its time to look at other apps that many Anahita networks will need to be successful, but not necessarily Anahitapolis"
Good point. The invite app is maybe not a strike for Anahitapolis but its a success for an event-site for sure.
Just to clarify, when stating I didn't know anyone who was a candidate, it was more correct to state that most people I know aren't involved in building sites on a technical level as such. Otherwise I'd have put my allotted invites to use.
Please keep the responses coming! This is starting to become a very interesting topic.
Just to clarify that by no means we are counting to promote Anahitapolis by getting our members to send out invites, however the only way for us to test and improve an application is to start using it ourselves. One other motive of the ability to send invitations outside Anahitapolis was also a favor from Ash to make my job of processing the free account inquiries easier.
The concept of sending invites from groups to people have worked quite well, so this topic is mainly focusing on emailing out invites to people who aren't in the same social network or not even in your social graph.
I have to mention that other than Ash and myself only 4 other people have sent out 4 invitations. That is less than 1% when out of all the people on Anahitapolis about 500 of them are on the Atrium group and have been notified about the Invites feature. I understand that many of you may not have a network of people interested to build their own social networks, but if the method of sending out invites was even remotely efficient we should have had at least received some results in the single digit range (less than 9%) or up to 50-100 invitations going out.
So maybe this is one of those marketing methods that the Marketers Brotherhood (or Sisterhood) Society strongly believes in and if it doesn't actually work it must be somehow our fault or else trying to debunk it is considered blasphemy!
I personally would be quite upset if one of my friends stuck my email address into somebody else's online service to win some discount or prize. I think it is unethical and just pure bad ethics. We are already getting enough spam everyday, now if one of my friends contributed to that based on greed, I should perhaps either reconsider that "online" friendship or have a serious talk with them.
But let's get back to effectiveness of this method, which has been practically none in our case, but do you have any solid evidence that this method actually worked for a social network or online business that didn't have a brand as big as microsoft, google, or facebook. Is it just a belief you have?
I didn't bother. In my opinion Anahita needs a lot of work before I will recommend it to my peers.
Also features that initially attracted me to the project seem like they are going to be removed completely which is a bummer.
Lack of search and limited templates are also factors.
I'm not dissing Anahita by any means but it seems to me only a team of coders can get what they need out of the framework at the moment. I will stick with it though as Anahita is still, by far, the best social community platform out there. I just don't feel comfortable inviting people to use something that is evolving so quickly.
I'm sure things will stabilize in the future and us non-coders will be able to utilize Anahita in a meaningful way...
Out of topic: @william Anahita ™ Projects was basically Anahita Groups and Todos combined. Both Groups and Todos are now available. It is only more flexible now.
I'm not sure what you're referring to Rastin...
I was referring to the boards feature of Discussions and how you mentioned that it may be outright removed and replaced with the tagging feature. I found that to be very discouraging and now find myself wondering if i should even bother continuing to build on my test site.
I would refer you to the post I am talking about but I don't know where it is nor do I know how to find it...
No problem, I'll find the topic and post the link on your profile for you so you can comment on it. Here we can talk about how effective the concept of email inviting offsite people can be.
I didn't bother, because I had no immediate people I wanted to invite. Maybe you should have given me a few more reminders that I had invites to use, by e-mail or as a notice on top of the screen?
On a sidenote, and a bit off topic:
- I was not following Anahitapolis Atrium, but wanted to comment in this thread. It would be nice with a "you need to follow[link] Anahitapolis Atrium to comment in this thread", in the bottom, where I'd expect the comment form to be.
- I just sent an invite, to another e-mail address of mine, and I see that your e-mails are neutral on SPF and not signed with DKIM. I think it'd be a good thing to fix, for deliverability's sake. Invite e-mails is something you really *REALLY* want to make sure is delivered to the recipient. Oh, and SenderID of course.
we should have had at least received some results in the single digit range (less than 9%) or up to 50-100 invitations going out.
I'm not sure I agree that you can assume that - why not 1% or 15%? I simply don't think that there are that many people who know each other well who are all thinking about starting a social network. Perhaps colleagues (in which case they already know verbally, or you can let them know in a myriad of different ways). Personally it doesn't surprise me one bit that the reaction on Anahitapolis has been muted, and even without hindsight I'd have said so beforehand.
Even with e.g. Facebook invites, are the sort of people you'd want to recommend Anahita to your Facebook friends?
The presumption that 'it doesn't work here, so it doesn't work' is not valid, especially when it hasn't been front and centre on the site, in workflow etc, and there's no real incentive invite anyone - at the moment its basically competing for a scarce resource (people who users know who happen to have the same business idea as them - pretty rare surely?) with email, speaking in person, phones, text, you name it, while not offering any particular ease of use benefits over those.
There's no doubt that countless sites use such features to spread the word (I saw it on Klout yesterday, and you don't have to look very hard to find other examples), but that's all it is really for. Its not a killer app, just a missed opportunity if you fail to do it, and your message and market are appropriate.
I think the 'marketing brotherhood' would refer to the 4 P's of product, price (sending an invite is free so we can tick this one off), promotion and place. In this case, the product concerned is unlikely to appeal to a significant number of people in the immediate social circles (the place) of existing Anahita customers, and the promotion (incentive? temptingly ease of use?), i.e. the notification to users was not that exciting. Fundamentally, there are many more important channels to market Anahita in than invites to existing users' contacts.
I don't think email will be ultra successful on its own anyway (it will be more so if linked with contacts though - ease of use), but amongst real communities a good implementation of Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn etc invites will be well used even if it doesn't make the site an overnight success.
I just checked using some typical narrow targeting criteria, and Facebook would charge me a max of £/GBP 0.68 for an ad on their site, so let's say 0.50 per click through, and this would probably be higher as I would also choose to target people who are friends of people who are already connected to my Anahita site's Facebook app (what an awesome targeting feature for a social network!), ie a realistic comparison versus Invites (I can't do this right now as the site is not yet public and there aren't enough existing users, so Facebook won't give me the numbers). So that is useful as an idea as to the worth of of an invite - let's say half result in a click through as they are highly targetted by the user, so Invites saves GBP0.25 per invite sent? 100 invites sent = £25. All guesswork of course!
Generally these features either include an incentive to spread the word, or are placed in-line within workflow that users want to complete, such as signup, adding a new Connect account, creating a new Group, or something else specific to that site. Some skip, but some do invite - I generally do so if its of genuine interest to some friends, and I would typically know at least 5 people who might be interested in a service such as the one I am setting up.
For a start I'd place Invites in a module around the site, secondly I'd incorporate it as a (skippable) stage of both normal and Connect signup, thirdly I'd make it one-click to launch a picklist of friends from Facebook or wherever, and fourthly I'd sell right there the benefits of bringing more of their friends to the network they have already joined. You could get more clever if you had benefits to give away - discounts in a shop, free group membership if 5 friends sign up etc.
I don't know of real world data to support the idea, but common sense (to me), the extent to which it used on an ongoing basis by so many sites across the web, and small amount of work/cost to set up compared to other methods of getting the word out suggests to me it is worth doing. The marketing folk would tell you that it doesn't even matter if it doesn't lead directly to signups - if a brand is new or unknown to the invitees then just exposing the site to a new potential user is a benefit that has no incremental cost to speak of once developed.
I personally would be quite upset if one of my friends stuck my email address into somebody else's online service to win some discount or prize.
What if the friend correctly identified that the invite was something you would be interested in receiving? Everyone's a winner in that scenario surely?
I think e-commerce sites that ask you to refer customers are quite common and legitimate. They will reward you if your friend purchases anything, so you tend only send it to people likely to purchase - you're not rewarded for sending it out to everyone.
Another good method is where both sender and recipient are rewarded - check out Graze.com - very tasty and healthy! If you live in the UK, ask me for my code for some free food through the post for you and me ;-)
I've come across attempts to effectively use a form of invite pyramid selling which is not so nice, but its rare and presumably Invites will not be structured in that way. Plaxo certainly used to annoy me when friends used it as it did not make clear it was sending mail to their address book, and recently I did not take to how a business leads website handled things, but fortunately its rare and good invites overwhelm the bad.
I do know one person that keeps inviting me to their page on Facebook that I just ignore, but generally speaking that situation doesn't arise too much in my experience (and even if it did happen, Invites should use the email once only and discard - haven't had a chance to see if it does). Plus I think most people know how such invites work and would usually blame their friend not the site, especially if the invite wording is well-written.
When you move away from email as a medium into social invites, the social bad manners of doing such things are even more keenly felt, and can lead directly to being unfollowed, blocked, etc and even ignored in the real world. I think people are generally self-conscious enough not to do that - but there are ways to mitigate such activity, and also to ensure that all concerned are aware that it is the user who has done wrong not the site.
This could happen outside the internet too - what if I put someone else's business card at a business, and they end up getting lots of annoying sales calls as a result? We shouldn't blame the messenger (Invites/Anahita/ourselves) for what is really a social faux pas on behalf of the user that could happen anywhere.
@Rastin I've noticed the "Invite" feature. However like most people, I don't know any coder that is looking to develop a social network at this moment.
For me the "Invite" would be worth using if it would be packed with more features. It means I would be able to invite my friends over other networks and see who has answered or not.
Plus this could in the future be connected with a points system that would reward members upon new registrations referred by the user.
But right now, as it is, I find the "Invite" feature a bit rudimentary. I would have to go to my email client, grab the email, paste it and send. It seems quite a long process.
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