Wednesday, 28 July 2010

What have people got against Blackberry?

So one of the things when you go on holiday and don't take your blog with you is that you start to notice what random old posts are still directing traffic to it in the absence of any new fresh stuff. I looked at my site analytics at the weekend, and found a lot (well, a lot in the context of visitors here - so like 5 a day) of people had tracked down a post I wrote about 18 months ago called "How to break a Blackberry".

It wasn't really about how to break one, no. It was a pun on 'break' as in break a new band, about the pitfalls of giving a review model of a new mobile phone to Apple geek Stephen Fry, a man who in Dec 08 couldn't tweet about picking his nose without the national press eagerly reporting it. So when he predictably hated the Storm, lots of tech publishers had a ready made story.
Anyway, I wondered how people were tracking this down, and naturally they were all Google referrals, but not ones that had ever cropped up before. So I wondered if there is something specific that Blackberry had done to provoke a mass breaking. But it turns out that this has been a steady growth of traffic
story (current global exact match volume is around 140 queries per month, so not by any means huge. But then that's exact match on one long tail query).

All of this is only mildly interesting in its own right, but puts the recent advertising assault for Blackberry Messenger into context. If the people who have always had Blackberries, the folk who get them free though work, are choosing to buy a smartphone instead because it can do all the work stuff as well as all the smartphone stuff, then Blackberry would need a new market who can't afford smartphones. Hence formerly rock solid email performance becomes rock solid messenger performance.

And why the need to break Blackberries? Well they're a 'gift' from your employer. If you want the latest smartphone then you'd need to make it look like a mistake. A couple of things happened around the time that traffic spiked. Droid was announced, and Microsoft Exchange (ie work email on iPhone) improved (it was around since 08, and I don't know how it improved, as I never worked out how to do it before whatever changed late 09)

Of course, I might be reading a whole lot of stuff into a harmless set of figures and post-rationalising it a little too much, but it all sounds plausible doesn't it?


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