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Vodafone spurns UK’s Rummble for FourSquare

I saw Vodafone’s FourSquare deal announcement this morning and immediately wondered what the hell had happened to their rumoured deal with UK location-and-recommendation service, Rummble.

The word on the grapevine is that Rummble — having worked really hard on a very neat looking Vodafone 360 app — were due to get all sorts of on-handset distribution and a heck of a lot of Vodafone love. This is good news given Rummble is a home-grown British startup very well deserving of the attentions of the likes of Big Red.

But no.

I can’t quite imagine the frustration of the Rummble team wondering why Vodafone has plonked out this announcement.

The message is quite clear for British and European startups (as TechCrunch points out regarding Bambuser): Don’t expect a leg up from British operators.

Can anyone give me an example of a British mobile startup that’s been ‘made’ (or at least, substantially helped out) through it’s association with a British mobile operator? There must be some?

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

7 replies on “Vodafone spurns UK’s Rummble for FourSquare”

“Can anyone give me an example of a British mobile startup that’s been ‘made’ (or at least, substantially helped out) through it’s association with a British mobile operator? There must be some? “

Let me think.

Hold on.

Still thinking.

Nope.

ARM and Symbian… well, I suppose they count in the fullest sense, but they’re not quite startups, are they? I’m thinking of 5-guys-and-a-dog sort of thing.

In fairness to VF I've tried to get to grips with Rummble several times, each occasion coming to it as a consumer would (and shuold be able to – nay, MUST be able to) – not reading any instructions, just piling on in – via mobile and the web interface.

Each time I've been left wondering what's going on, and where to go / what to do next.

Using FourSquare it was intuitive(ish) from the start. Annoying, yes, but intuitive.

There's a very, very fine line between intuitive enough and deadpool.

My advice to Rummble: get rid of 75% of the stuff you CAN do. Then it might be clearer what TO do.

Flook are similar – I get it (now, after doing a few) but it's still just too hard.

People 'get' the idea of virtual stickes. They can see the value and fun in picking up wee notes from strangers, colleagues and friends. (the detection *must* be background though – no-one will endlessly check to see if a note is about). I just have not seen a practical, mass-market-friendly implementation of the idea yet.

Mike

Mike, we'd love to be able to push flook cards to the phone asynchronously but there are (sadly) technical reasons why we can't do this – on iPhone anyway.

If you'd like to contact us, I'd be really interested to hear more on why you feel foursquare is more intuitive off the bat that flook is. We are keen on making sure our user experience is as slick as possible.

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