Not that Impressive

By December 12, 2010

A new “personal network” called Path launched about a month ago to great fanfare. It’s backed by the likes of Shawn Fanning and Ashton Kutcher, so it’s gotta be good, right? Debatable.The good people at ReadWriteWeb summarize it perfectly in their article titled “10 Surprising Things you can’t do on Path“, and here they are:

1. You can’t comment on or Like photos

2. You can’t publish photos from your phone’s camera roll

3. You can’t publish to other networks like Flickr (for archiving), Facebook (for broader social sharing) or Foursquare (for location check-ins)

4. You can’t find friends via your accounts elsewhere, like Facebook, Twitter or Gmail

5. You can’t navigate by the tags you’ve added to photos – it’s unclear whether you can even add more than one Thing tag to a photo

6. You can’t see tags or captions once you’ve got a photo expanded

7. You can’t opt-out of email notifications from Path – and though emails say you can “pause” individual users, it’s not clear how to do that

8. You can’t visit a person’s Path profile page if you’re not already friends with them

9. You can’t apply any filters or crop photos

10. You can’t add friends on the web site, not even if they’ve already added you

The founding fathers of Path are touting such attributes as features rather than faults. I can’t say I agree with them in full, however Path will be a nice deviation from Facebook’s clutter, and its simplicity and user interface especially its mobile app give Twitter a run for its money.

Another fun fact: You can’t use the service unless you have an iPhone! Really? They are launching a service without including an Android app the device that was bought by over 20 million people in Q3 alone! Cheers to Apple, whose marketing is so good that any influencer in their right mind wouldn’t stray from the precious iPhone. (Yes, I’m a Android user. The Samsung Fascinate is phenomenal — despite its terrible name.

Will Path Succeed?

Possibly. I think it all depends on its marketing strategy, specifically its adoption strategy. With such an all-star line-up, I assume they’ve got some tricks up their sleeve; however, aside from Kutcher and Vaynerchuck, the majority of them are VCs and developers professions that aren’t exactly known for their marketing capabilities.

In conclusion, Path is nothing disruptive. Its success is dependent on influencing the influencers to adopt it for its high-profile appeal, not its technological functionality. I don’t doubt that they have the ability to do so, however its definitely an uphill battle.