Ping: “Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes” Except…

…as far as I can tell, they in fact don't ever meet. You can't leverage your networks on Facebook and Twitter in Ping. It's another closed Apple system, another Apple universe in a gilded gift box. It's not that Apple hates the web, it's just that Apple is better…


…as far as I can tell, they in fact don’t ever meet. You can’t leverage your networks on Facebook and Twitter in Ping. It’s another closed Apple system, another Apple universe in a gilded gift box.

It’s not that Apple hates the web, it’s just that Apple is better than the web. Apple doesn’t need it. It seems Apple has it all figured out.

I am sure Ping will get traction because it’ll be fun, and if it truly helps folks discover more music, so much the better for all (especially iTunes sales). But I’ve a sneaking suspicion that Ping will soon be about more than discovering music – it will also be about discovering Apps and other media like movies and TV. And while paid media is a sanitized and bounded universe, it’s my fervent hope that Apps, over time, will not be – that they will be far more promiscuous. Breathless predictions aside, I simply can’t imagine you will want your Apps to be recommended to you only by your Ping “friends.” Likewise, when you find something cool, you’ll want to share it on Twitter, and post it to Facebook (and maybe even other places too, places that are outside AppleLand.)

You’ve invested in your Facebook and Twitter relationships, why can’t you use those to find and share good stuff inside AppleLand?

I hope Apple agrees, and will open Ping to the rest of the world. But I’m not going to predict it. I can predict this: If Apple doesn’t open it up, Ping will never crack more than 10% of social networking share. But my, will that share be profitable! And for Apple, that’s certainly seems to be enough.

UPDATE: Peter in the comments notes that Ping does have a “very limited” Facebook Connect integration. So good on them, but if it’s just to find friends to feed your Ping network, I’ll stand by my comments above.

11 thoughts on “Ping: “Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes” Except…”

  1. Apple took facebook connect off sue to a server overload on launch. If you look at the artist pages, their updates have come from their facebook feed.

  2. Yeah, and its like, I’ve seen even fervent Apple supporters say today on Twitter, “What can only big name artists have an ‘artist’ page on Ping?” and I’m thinking “Are you surprised?”

  3. Hi John. An interesting point and I made a related one on my blog yesterday.

    This is an attempt to take one more step back up Apple’s vertical integration in the music industry. They already have distribution and consumption tied up with iTunes and iPod and now they’re trying to tie up promotion/discovery as well with Ping.

    Only iTunes users can use Ping, only iPod users can use iTunes etc. Not to mention only artists on iTunes can be ‘discovered’ on Ping.

    This is a threat to diversity and discovery, not a means of unlocking them.

  4. I agree with you but from my personal experience, it bought 4000 Facebook fans from and they added them to my page in a little over 1 month. All the fans appeared to be real and some of them turned out to be great customers.
    You should use to buy Facebook fans… we purchased 10,000 Facebook fans and we’re quite satisfied with the results. It’s completely legal because the fans are real and they don’t join your page until they check it and find it interestings. keeps sending suggestions to become a fan until the order is fulfilled.

  5. I’m not bothered by the lack of Facebook or Twitter integration. They’d be nice, but I think it’s unfair to say that anyone who wants to start a new social network *has* to bow down to the reigning champs and admit that their userbase cannot grow itself, that it can only exist or grow if it “borrows” from entrenched networks. After all, FB and Twitter were new once too – they had to grow their userbases organically. Every new social net should have the same opportunity and not have to admit that they can’t get traction without borrowing.

    Also, iTunes already has a userbase of millions – it’s not like they’re starting cold.

    That aside, what blows me away about Ping is how unfinished, how unpolished it is. There’s nothing to do there, and limitations everywhere. It simply was not ready for release, and that’s not very Apple-like. They’re known for new products that emerge from the gate with fit and finish, lots of polish. Ping feels like it needed a few more months of development time. This seemed like something Google would do, e.g. “Here’s our beta product – go play.”

  6. The more successful Apple becomes, the more threatened the established players feel, and the more feeble criticisms are heard in response to every Apple move.

    Facebook has been trying to monetize the music interests of its members. Apple is just adding some socialization amongst its already lucrative membership. They had hoped to include Facebook, but Facebook’s terms were too onerous.

    So they try it themselves… the joy of free enterprise is it will work or die on it’s own merits.

  7. Great blog John!

    I was wondering if anyone had found or thought of ways artists can use PING to market to new fans (outside of the obvious)? Any great marketing strategies or success stories people have heard of by leveraging PING or has its inherent exclusivity limited these opportunities?

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