Upcoming updates its event listing; leaves me wanting

Upcoming.org just updated with a major redesign. I think it’s going to accelerate the movement of people to Facebook to keep track of their favorite events (a trend that’s been accelerating lately). It’s sad, too, because this is one of the places where early adopters actually are engaging with Yahoo.

First of all, my event page is dreadfully slow. Demonstrates they haven’t tested it out on accounts that have tons of friends (they should stop trying to display thumbnails of all my friends).

But the home page that I see used to be a lot more useful, because it would categorize the kinds of events I was shown. It is dramatically different than it used to be. I hate when Web services redesign their sites so completely. It disorients users and gets them to wonder if there’s something better out there.

Unfortunately I think they redesigned because of the “friend divide.”

See, sites like Upcoming really suck until you get somewhere around 40 to 100 friends. That is when Upcoming really became useful for me, because I could see the popularity of events and also had enough active users who were bringing interesting events into my view. The problem is that most people have fewer than five friends, so their experiences sucked and the events it was bringing into their view sucked.

Unfortunately they didn’t see a great way around this: I wish I could see, for instance, Scott Beale’s incoming events. He is one of those people who always finds out about interesting events and has an interesting group of friends.

It doesn’t matter, though. The site is so slow for me that it’s almost forcing me to go to Facebook and handle my event calendar there.

What do you think?

I’m trying to setup an interview with the team to get their take on these things and find out what drove such a complete redesign and what their goals are and also why they aren’t testing out their service for top users who are trying to spread their service around.

One major thing that’ll keep me on Upcoming rather than Facebook is FriendFeed’s integration. On FriendFeed I can see when people add new events, which I find very useful to make sure my event calendar is kept up to date.

Comments

  1. “See, sites like Upcoming really suck until you get somewhere around 40 to 100 friends. ”

    I think quite the opposite. I use Upcoming to find cool things that my actual, real-world friends are going to that I can meet up with them at. Once you get up to the level you’re talking about, unless they’re real people that you know, you’re going to get a lot of events which you’ll never be able to go to.

    Plus, of course, you’re forgetting about geography. I live in London. Friending you would be absolutely pointless, because about 99% of the events you’re interested/are going to are ones which are too far away from me physically to be of any interest.

    Smaller, tighter groups of more interesting and relevant friends are the future, Robert – get with it :)

  2. “See, sites like Upcoming really suck until you get somewhere around 40 to 100 friends. ”

    I think quite the opposite. I use Upcoming to find cool things that my actual, real-world friends are going to that I can meet up with them at. Once you get up to the level you’re talking about, unless they’re real people that you know, you’re going to get a lot of events which you’ll never be able to go to.

    Plus, of course, you’re forgetting about geography. I live in London. Friending you would be absolutely pointless, because about 99% of the events you’re interested/are going to are ones which are too far away from me physically to be of any interest.

    Smaller, tighter groups of more interesting and relevant friends are the future, Robert – get with it :)

  3. In places like Houston — see: http://upcoming.yahoo.com/search/?sort=w&loc=Houston&rt=1 — there is rarely an event with more than one person attending (according to Upcoming). That’s too bad. I’d like to use it more to find out what’s going on in the area. I know you mentioned that having a solid base of 40-100 friends makes it more interesting, but without an area with a good user base, there’s a barrier to getting to that critical mass of friends.

    But, like you say, I like Upcoming’s integration to FriendFeed. It’s interesting to see the events that people add, even if the events are not in my area. In fact, I like Upcoming’s integration with Facebook via the Upcoming app. As long as services play nicely together like that, I don’t have to abandon Upcoming for Facebook Events entirely — I can use one or the other.

  4. In places like Houston — see: http://upcoming.yahoo.com/search/?sort=w&loc=Houston&rt=1 — there is rarely an event with more than one person attending (according to Upcoming). That’s too bad. I’d like to use it more to find out what’s going on in the area. I know you mentioned that having a solid base of 40-100 friends makes it more interesting, but without an area with a good user base, there’s a barrier to getting to that critical mass of friends.

    But, like you say, I like Upcoming’s integration to FriendFeed. It’s interesting to see the events that people add, even if the events are not in my area. In fact, I like Upcoming’s integration with Facebook via the Upcoming app. As long as services play nicely together like that, I don’t have to abandon Upcoming for Facebook Events entirely — I can use one or the other.

  5. I agree with Ian, although some of my friends are virtual. I find my list of friends manageable and I rarely miss anything interesting.

  6. I agree with Ian, although some of my friends are virtual. I find my list of friends manageable and I rarely miss anything interesting.

  7. Ian: I have way more than 50 “real” friends on my Upcoming page. Plus, I like to know about events around the world so that I know to watch Qik, Twitter, FriendFeed, and Blog Search engines for reports about that event, too.

  8. Ian: I have way more than 50 “real” friends on my Upcoming page. Plus, I like to know about events around the world so that I know to watch Qik, Twitter, FriendFeed, and Blog Search engines for reports about that event, too.

  9. Which means you want to use Upcoming as a business tool, nothing wrong with that. But don’t say it sucks until a person has ‘x’ friends. Say it sucks for you as a tool to find more events to record more sucky videos. But for folks like Ian and the rest of us normal people it seems quite adequate.

  10. Which means you want to use Upcoming as a business tool, nothing wrong with that. But don’t say it sucks until a person has ‘x’ friends. Say it sucks for you as a tool to find more events to record more sucky videos. But for folks like Ian and the rest of us normal people it seems quite adequate.

  11. Yet-Another-Formerly-Hyped-Up-Service-That-Failed-To-Meet-The-Big-Fish-Center-of-the-Universes-Needs; A-Service-Of-Which-Everyone-Liking-and-Using-It-Normally, well “sucks”.

    Don’t assume your edge-case Pokemon-Gotta-Collect-Them-All concepts are ever even close to the rule. But a good indicator of how much this Web 2.0 stuff can’t scale.

  12. Yet-Another-Formerly-Hyped-Up-Service-That-Failed-To-Meet-The-Big-Fish-Center-of-the-Universes-Needs; A-Service-Of-Which-Everyone-Liking-and-Using-It-Normally, well “sucks”.

    Don’t assume your edge-case Pokemon-Gotta-Collect-Them-All concepts are ever even close to the rule. But a good indicator of how much this Web 2.0 stuff can’t scale.

  13. Not as feature rich (I guess) as Upcoming but I dig the new Anyvite (http://anyvite.com). Let’s you create an event in one step, allows attendees to upload pics and video directly to the event or you can use a custom tag on Flickr and YouTube and the event page will automatically pull that content in for memories after it happens.

    Pretty cool I think.

  14. Not as feature rich (I guess) as Upcoming but I dig the new Anyvite (http://anyvite.com). Let’s you create an event in one step, allows attendees to upload pics and video directly to the event or you can use a custom tag on Flickr and YouTube and the event page will automatically pull that content in for memories after it happens.

    Pretty cool I think.

  15. Mary,

    I don’t either. But I also don’t know if it was ever designed to scale for that purpose. It’s like saying a Mini Cooper sucks because it can’t tow your 30ft boat over the Sierras to Lake Tahoe. Using it beyond its designed intent doesn’t mean it sucks. Scoble is almost always a corner case user. No company builds products to satisfy corner cases. He would do well to realize that before passing judgement on a product.

  16. Mary,

    I don’t either. But I also don’t know if it was ever designed to scale for that purpose. It’s like saying a Mini Cooper sucks because it can’t tow your 30ft boat over the Sierras to Lake Tahoe. Using it beyond its designed intent doesn’t mean it sucks. Scoble is almost always a corner case user. No company builds products to satisfy corner cases. He would do well to realize that before passing judgement on a product.

  17. This is exactly why I like Scobleizer.com

    1. original angle
    2. makes his own investigations
    3. Cool tips on how to avoid issues or how to work-around them

    For Ian:
    If the experience Robert describes is: “The site is so slow for me that it’s almost forcing me to go to Facebook and handle my event calendar there”.
    he certainly has a point. And if this is caused by a design overhaul it dreadful! How can you disagree with that ;-)
    Also, your argue that;

    “Once you get up to the level you’re talking about, unless they’re real people that you know, you’re going to get a lot of events which you’ll never be able to go to”.

    How not-logic to conclude that it’s better NOT to get the info from your friends because you might not be able to attend an event. That just baloney.

  18. This is exactly why I like Scobleizer.com

    1. original angle
    2. makes his own investigations
    3. Cool tips on how to avoid issues or how to work-around them

    For Ian:
    If the experience Robert describes is: “The site is so slow for me that it’s almost forcing me to go to Facebook and handle my event calendar there”.
    he certainly has a point. And if this is caused by a design overhaul it dreadful! How can you disagree with that ;-)
    Also, your argue that;

    “Once you get up to the level you’re talking about, unless they’re real people that you know, you’re going to get a lot of events which you’ll never be able to go to”.

    How not-logic to conclude that it’s better NOT to get the info from your friends because you might not be able to attend an event. That just baloney.

  19. Conner,

    Or let’s ask any CIO of a F500 company why they don’t use GMail, Google Apps, Zoho, ThinkFree, or any other Web 2.0 app as primary business tools? Could it be they scale? Again, nothing wrong with Scoble trying to put a square peg in a round hole. My toddler tried that all the time with their toys. Their cognitive skills were still developing. My point is do some research before concluding if a service sucks because it doesn’t fit your usage model. It may very well be you are not their target consumer.

  20. Conner,

    Or let’s ask any CIO of a F500 company why they don’t use GMail, Google Apps, Zoho, ThinkFree, or any other Web 2.0 app as primary business tools? Could it be they scale? Again, nothing wrong with Scoble trying to put a square peg in a round hole. My toddler tried that all the time with their toys. Their cognitive skills were still developing. My point is do some research before concluding if a service sucks because it doesn’t fit your usage model. It may very well be you are not their target consumer.