A few days ago GetGlue merged with i.TV and executed a "zoom-in" pivot dropping its universal check-in model to focus on becoming the platform for real-time updates about live TV. Aside from the expected benefits from the move itself, which is discussed in a post on Engadget, the dimension of execution seems to be leaving a lot to be desired and shows how carefully a pivot should be prepared.
The GetGlue app was updated on my phone to become tvtag; its icon changed and the functionality also changed as checkins became limited to live TV programs. So check-ins in books, magazines, DVDs and other forms of content were simply ditched without any prior notification. Additionnaly, since the icon of the app changed it took me time to locate it in order to try it out.
The change of icon on the phone was quite radical given that none of the graphical elements of the old logo are part of the new logo. So to the user of a smartphone, a device often cluttered with very many icons of all sorts of applications, it's a small challenge to find the app, especially if one does not use it that often.
Past data about a user's checkins in books, DVDs and magazines got lost in migration and to the best of our knowledge no steps were taken to notify users of what was coming. Not that the data is vital in any way, but it shows how easily users can loose data held within SaaS and smartphone applications and how bad practice it is not to notify a user base. I wonder what impact this move has had on the loyal user base of GetGlue and whether the level of attrition falls within the acceptable limits that were surely calculated by the bean-counters behind the merger.
But that's not necessarily the most dreadful part of a botched pivot such as this one. The biggest impact lies in the online and social visibility of the move, with some pretty bad side-effects. Indeed, when trying out the new application to find out how Facebook sharing worked, it turns out my Facebook friends got a security warning on the link; one of them was kind enough to provide a screenshot that you will see right below.