Did Color Botch Its Launch by Launching at the Wrong Time & in the Wrong Place?

Color, the new photo sharing app from the brains behind the online music service Lala, launched last night. There are some ingenious algorithms behind the app, and while I wrote a rather scathing review of it last night, I think the app’s reception – which quickly turned from hype to backlash within a few hours – could have been very different if it had launched at a different time and in a different place.

Color was made for events, so why didn’t it launch at one (or at least earlier in the day)?

As The Next Web’s Martin Bryant rightly points out, the “natural home” for Colors is events. The app only makes sense when there are other people around you. So why wasn’t the app launched at SXSW? As an event, SXSW was almost made to launch an app like this (and where it could have easily blown all the group messaging apps out of the water this year)? At GigaOm, Matthew Ingram comes to virtually the same conclusion and wonders why “an app based on something so real-time and social seems almost perfectly matched to that kind of social environment.”

color_reactionsAlso, why was the app launched on a weekday night? If it’s meant to to be used in groups, launching it while people are most likely sitting at home just means its potential users won’t get the point of the app and move on. Most apps are never opened more than once, so unless you can immediately grasp someone’s attention, you’ve lost them. Launching on a Friday morning or early afternoon, so that people are excited to try out when they go out at night would have made more sense. That way, they would have gone out, told people about the app and could have had the experience the app was designed to deliver.

It also doesn’t help that there are no help menus that explain the app and that the only indication of what it actually does is the opening screen which tells you to “take photos together” – not exactly a phrase that highlights the point of the app. The service’s homepage on the Web also does little to explain its functionality (“Simultaneously use multiple iPhones and Androids to capture photos, videos, and conversations into a group album. There’s no attaching, uploading, or friending to do. “).

Also: Why make VC funding a part of the story?

Most people in this world couldn’t care less about how much funding an app got, but by announcing their massive $41 million funding round, the story suddenly almost became more about why it would take this much money to develop this app. Given that kind of money, any app is going to disappoint.