Zite’s Amazing Followup (& the App is Free)

One of my favorite iPad apps is called Zite. As a self-proclaimed news-n-information junkie, I’m always on the hunt for better and more powerful ways to stay on top of trends. In the past I’ve trolled my 300+ RSS feeds in Google Reader, but increasingly am using “aggregation” apps like Zite to do the heavy lifting for me. It’s a bonus that skimming/reading/trolling for news and information with an app like Zite is A LOT more enjoyable than in a simple news reader.

I was having challenges with one aspect of Zite though: for some reason articles I was saving to Instapaper for later (or offline) reading weren’t being saved. Since remembering where a piece of news or info came from is increasingly difficult in today’s “drinking from a firehose of information” world, this non-saving was a deal-killer for me with Zite.

Figuring that support for a free app like Zite would be either marginally or non-responsive to my concern, was I ever pleasantly surprised with what took place!  

Zite is a "+" app so it runs on both iPhone and iPad

When I reached out to Zite support I was delighted to hear back quickly from Zite’s community manager, Brian Bejarano. He looked in to the issue and we went back-n-forth in email a few times over two days. He finally recommended a fix of doing a quick ‘save to Instapaper’ of a Zite article but immediately logging out when the box popped up for a very brief time, and then relogging in to Instapaper and saving again.

It worked! I’m back to saving to Instapaper. The result? I’d begun to use Flipboard more and more since I could save to Instapaper, but Brian’s continued followup kept me using Zite. While Flipboard is more eye-candy-attractive than Zite, the underlying Zite algorithms is what is their ‘secret sauce’. As they say in their FAQ: “Zite is the first news reader to go beyond manual customization and make use of more powerful technology to provide an individually personalized experience. Your days of wasting time sifting through bad information are over.

My only wish now is that more and more of the apps on iOS and Android followed Zite’s example of strong community management. As many before me have said, “support is the new marketing” and the only way to build buzz, sustain positive word of mouth about an app, is through taking care of people as they use your app and interact with your company.

Well done Brian and smart support Zite.

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  1. Coleman Foley on February 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    A similar tool is Trapit (http://trap.it). It learns your preferences and displays recommendations in a pretty grid layout. It is a web app, so it is available on desktops and laptops as well as tablets and phones. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an Instapaper button yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if they added one, though.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.