Will the real Rummble please stand up?

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We’ve been covering Rummble, a mobile-oriented social network “about finding and sharing stuff you’ll like” for several years now. CEO Andrew Scott is enthusiastic, smart and persistent. I’d be hard pressed to think of a more ‘full on’ entrepreneur to be honest. And I know he may punch me for asking this (Andrew, please don’t, I’m way out of shape) but, the question is: what direction is Rummble heading in?

Rummble needs some kind of break-out moment right now. I don’t know what their traffic is like and I daresay mobile traffic and non-US traffic doesn’t register at all on the graph below, which at least hints at an uplift:

But Rummble might need to focus. I had high hopes for it getting in on the back of the growth of Twitter with its Tremors service. Tremors is their new Twitter app which does the following: it attempts to match tweets to venues, based on a combination of fuzzy word matching, the general location the tweet came from and then a rough estimation of whether the Tweet was positive or negative about the venue. It’s not perfect but, it needs more people to use it. But Rummble is not pushing this service right now as far as I can tell, although Festival time in Europe would be great timing.

It’s now launched a video show, Rummble.tv . See below:

Rummble.tv Episode 1 is here! (also available in iTunes Podcasts) from Rummble on Vimeo.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m a fan of startups thinking creatively. But should they be putting effort into this? Will Tremors get pushed more? Perhaps their iPhone app, which is pretty good and lets you rate things far more easily than many other apps I’ve seen, should be their focus? There is all sorts of potential here – but where is the nugget of gold?

What do you think? Leave your thoughts below. Because I’m guessing they need to focus on one thing going forward. But maybe that’s just me.

  • http://www.rummble.com Andrew J Scott

    This post only confirms what I suspected for some time – Techcrunch has bugged London start-up offices!

    Rummble.TV is part of our re-engagement with our users. We’re lucky to have two eager interns working free for us this summer and (aside from my Razzie winning performance) they pulled it together in a day or two. With a headcount of 5 we certainly wouldn’t divert paid resources to create such a luxury!

    Joking aside, strategy is something we’ve been reviewing. For the first time this month (since launching Rummble for iPhone in November 08) we’ve been focusing back on engagement with our users. The negative investment climate at the end of last year put us under pressure to experiment with deals to secure immediate revenue (the Total Hotspots JV and app was one result).

    The majority of European investors see revenue model first, product second. That approach certainly contributed to us looking at partnerships rather than immediately and rapidly iterating our core app. I feel start-ups should be encouraged to obsess on the core product or service to create value for users (thus traction). The value can then be translated into revenue.

    All that said, some fantastic distribution deals have resulted from the diversion; we are official launch partners for the Microsoft Phone App Mareketplace and we’re working closely with a major mobile operator.

    We’ve also been building Rummble for Android, Rummble for Windows Phone, a mobile widget AND trying to iterate our web presence. A tall order for 3 developers. It’s a tough, fragmented, world in wireless. Mobile start-ups have it infinitely tougher than their pure web peers. Imagine having to build 5 different web apps to reach 75% of web users? Mobile today remains like the 1996 world wide web, but with an additional moonshine-induced hangover.

    Over the last 2 ½ we’ve ridden the wave of location based technology, as it’s matured to be virtually barrier free, educated people about the concept of a trust network and watched the mobile ecosystem take the first real step towards its domination-of-everything.

    In the process of building our technology it became clear that our trust network platform could be used far beyond a core use case of “finding stuff nearby that you love” instantly on your mobile. The last few weeks we’ve been having a relatively open conversation with those we respect and trust in the industry, to help us choose the right path and understand what we want to be when we grow up. Thus it was with a wry smile I read some of the recent Twitter docs, with their own discussions about what Twitter stands for and what it should become.

    2010 is going to be incredibly exciting for everything mobile and Rummble will be leading the charge. We haven’t been marketing http://tremors.rummble.com because it was an experiment; it was a proof of concept built in just 10 days. Think of it as Rummbles’ Google Labs! I can reveal now that the next release of Rummble for iPhone will include some cool things from Tremors .

    If you think Rummble is missing the point entirely, tell us! Who knows, maybe you’ll turn out to be the Messiah and prove Rummbles’ been a very naughty boy.

  • http://ajaxjones.com Ajax Jones

    “Rummble needs some kind of break-out moment right now. I don’t know what their traffic is like and I daresay mobile traffic and non-US traffic doesn’t register at all”

    If you do any analysis on that graph, say like a 3 or 5 point moving average you’ll find its anything like an uplift and is a downward trend.

    Ps. rummmbles has too many letter m’s its mis-spelt

  • http://uk.techcrunch.com Mike Butcher

    Thanks for replying Andrew – you’re right, it’s a shit environment for raising money right now. I guess that’s why so many startups are heading in so many different directions now to keep things ticking over.

  • http://www.gymfu.com Jof

    The other thing I’d add, Mike, is just look at Favorit; their side-project (Tweetmeme) ending up being the biggest player in the field and the old project was ditched.

    Sometimes you need to experiment.

  • http://plentyways.com/blog/ Brendan

    You’d figure that the Tremors service could get a lot better now that the twitter api includes geo location data from each twitter.

    I could see it was rough around the edges, but I think the potential on these geo located twitter apps are endless. Localized reviews, finding out local events in real time etc etc. Whenever you see a crowd and your wondering what is going on, an app like truemors should be able to tell you straight away just be reading the tweets from anyone in that crowd (based on the location attached to the tweets. I’m sure there are millions of other potential uses also.

    Keep it up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan_Allen/514919771 Jonathan Allen

    I admire Rummble’s team & tenacity but these initiatives dont seem to have any real joined up thinking about them. They are isolated side projects returning little value to the core brand. It’s all a bit Kool without the aid.

    For all the time spent (albeit free) on side projects they could have invested time and energy to build better partnerships. Time shouldha/wouldha/couldha been spent on getting their partners into shape to integrate the service.

    They are missing opportunities to get their brand out there.

  • http://www.rummble.com Andrew J Scott

    @Brendan As far as we’re aware, the location API is not yet launched. Once it is, you’re quite right that it will make identification of tweets to location much easier, provided of course twitter clients utilise the functionality, which I’m sure they will.

  • http://blog.rummble.com/2009/09/12/rummble-tv-episode-2/ Rummble » Blog Archive » Rummble.tv Episode 2

    […] first episode of Rummble.tv captured the attention of TechCrunch. Rest assured, we also have plenty of exiting tech announcements – some in this show, with […]

  • http://eu.techcrunch.com/2011/01/21/as-rummbles-ceo-is-ousted-the-story-of-a-european-startup-unravels/ As Rummble’s CEO is ousted, the story of a European startup unravels

    […] But by Summer 2009 Rummble seemed to have much varying degres of focus and it showed. It was an issue I pointed out in a post titled: “Will the real Rummble please stand up?” […]

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