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    The Bungee Line was an audio podcast for web developers, covering web API's, software development, and the creation of richly interactive web applications.

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People Know Like People

In an earlier blog about TiVo, I mentioned how the people at TiVo don’t get the whole social connectedness part of their product. Audible.com has the same problem.

Audible.com sells digital audibooks that can be downloaded and then transfered to your MP3 player, or burned to other media. I have used Audible.com for my literary listening since its early days. But there is something that could make Audible.com much better, and increase their sales. It’s based on the idea that people usually know people who like similar things.

I have to browse content on Audible.com. I cue up books that I find in a list from which I get my monthly titles for being an Audible subscriber, and occasionally I get an additional book.

But I have to root through Audible’s site to discover new titles. Ocassionally my buddy Erin tells me about something that I should listen to. Then I have to remember…what was that title again?

Audible.com has no way for me to associate my account with my friends’. For me to suggest a title to him, or him to me, we have to tell eachother. But we may forget the next time we see eachother, and even when we remember, it’s usually not at a time that it is convenient to get add the suggestion to on of our lists. It would be best if one of us could simply recommend the title while on the website. A “recommend this to a friend” feature, with a comment capability–I like to be able to explain my madness–is all that is really needed. That, and it needs to be permission-based: I only want to receive suggestions from people I explicitly allow.

So, if you know anyone at Audible.com, pass them my suggestion. And, more generally, if you ever find yourself creating any kind of site that will have content that attracts diverse people with specific interests, make sure that you allow them to use your site as a social tool.


3 Responses

  1. Audible does have a “share with a friend” feature. Its on the right below where you add to cart or next listen.

    What they do need though is a way to bookmark pages in your browser, as well as the ability to email book pages with your email client and post book references in blogs. You can’t do it now because after twenty minutes the page “times out” and goes back to the home page.

  2. Well, shut me up…it does!

    And it’s obvious enough in the interface, so I cannot even blame that.

    That means that I can only really complain about two features it’s missing:
    1. Where there is no trust, there is no security. Since this is based on email, it could be used for spamming book titles by an author or publisher. To make a “Share with a Friend” referral, you are required to register an account with Audible, but its an easy-to-spoof registration.
    2. Make it Easy. The referrals you make through “Share with a Friend” come through email only. They do not appoear in a “My Recommendations” list. I often download email and then read it while offline. So, by the time I am online again, I may have long forgotten the recommended book. I browse Audible only once or twice a month.

    So, Audible is a bit better than I thought. More fool me. But they still have a way to go.

    And they should support Linux, too!

  3. […] made suggestions to Audible.com before, and never heard a peep back from them. Now that they are apparently owned by Amazon, I hope that […]

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