Monday 22 October 2012

A pyramid scheme is bad form, Cloudwork

As some of you might know, or rather, should, Integration is my middle name - you might even call me a one-trick pony and I'd take that as a compliment. So, when I saw that Cloudwork offers unprecedented integration (cough), I signed up immediately! I was even so enthusiastic, I even forgot to use a fake identity - and very much regret that now

Cloudwork didn't have me sign up. No, Cloudwork baited me into giving away my email address, so they could decide themselves when to send me that valuable invite to their beta:

Thank you for signing up for CloudWork private beta!

To get access to our beta, you need to share our unique URL with your friends:

If one of them signs-up, you´re in our beta. If three of them sign-up, you will enter into a draw to win a free annual Premium access. Check the CloudWork beta incentive program conditions.

As an example, you can share the following text on Twitter (or email, or FaceBook, or LinkedIn, wherever are your friends!) "@CloudWork promises to integrate my cloud business apps together to automate tasks. Sign up for the beta "

We'll let you know by email as soon as we're ready. Hopefully during the week of September 10.
You can always find out how many people you have referred by coming back to and entering your email address again.

Thank you,

CloudWork Team

[Reference foobar-red by me]
Mind you, this email was sent on October 16th - would that September 10 there mean September 10, 2013? Or is Cloudwork running behind its own schedule? That wouldn't surprise me in the least, with such a pyramid scheme.
It was Bertrand Duperrin who drew my attention to this overpromising company (thanks Bertrand), which made my eyebrows rise very highly because of its "We connect your business apps to make them work harder" false promise.

False? Well, the "business apps" on that same page aren't exactly business apps. Here's the full list:

Base CRM
Campaign Monitor
Capsule CRM
Google Calendar
Google Contacts
Google Drive
Google Talk
Pivotal Tracker
RSS feed
Zoho CRM

(half of these are greyed out btw)
Business apps hey? What kind of business would I be in then? Would this be considered core business? Then you'd probably be out of business very soon - unless you're Twitter themselves of course (but what integration would you need then?)

So, I wanted to find out how attractive Cloudworks integration was, before judging them and passing a premature verdict (which was challenging, after that "invite" email). Apparently, the beta is over and anyone can just sign up so I apparently do get a chance for that, without having to participate in the pyramid scheme?! Maybe they did see the light then?
  • There are 10 ways to integrate in total. Out of the entire list above, you get to choose 10
  • 4 of those integrate into Zoho CRM, and almost all others are involved with Mailchimp and Evernote
  • That's all folks! I followed the remaining active links, and found out that "CloudWork automatically pushes new contacts from any app to your CRM" actually means only Zoho CRM and Capsule CRM. Any app, of course, means one out of 3-5 apps on average
Well, that was it. I couldn't be more underwhelmed. I understand that you have to start somewhere small, but don't use big words like that if you do. Customer expectation is all that counts.
I do like the idea that this easily connects basic functionalities between cloud applications, even if the definition of those is very broad in this particular case.
If this were targeted at SMB, it could be a nice start for your business if you happen to have the exact combination of apps offered (of which chances are slim for more than 2 or 3).
But it doesn't address the burning issue of changing API's, API management, version control, monitoring, logging, archiving, reporting, etc. Well maybe that is because it's all in beta?

@Cloudwork, stop the stupid pyramid scheme (an apology would be nice), change the word business to cloud there, start thinking about the point-to-point mess you seem to be getting yourself into, and how to protect your customers from volatile API's and API changes

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