Kahuna (Hotmail Beta) – extreme marketing, new teasers

Company: Kahuna (Hotmail Ajax Beta)
Status: in private beta
Location: Mountain View, CA
Previous Profile: August 16, 2005

Kahuna – Extreme Marketing

I am a little bit annoyed right now. Sometimes people get a little too cute. Microsoft’s Kahuna may be falling into that category.

I’m pretty excited about Kahuna because I love ajax and this is going to be one cool ajax application. It looks like (and should be) the new version of Hotmail will act very much like a desktop application. I like that. I want to try it out, and blog about it. And although I don’t always get an invitation to participate in a beta, I usually don’t have to waste a lot of time getting to an answer.

Kahuna is offering beta invites, but require you to read through team member blogs to find out the answers to questions. If you find the answer, you get another hint. Here’s a recent post by Imran Qureshi, the Kahuna Program Manager:

The mail team wants to invite a few more beta testers into the mail beta, but simply adding people is just too easy… so we put together a small treasure hunt:

One of our team members made a post about the origin of the product’s code name, locate his space for your next hint.

WTF? This is stupid. This is not time well spent. This does nothing to build a brand or make me a loyal user. It suceeds only in pissing me off. I’d much rather use this time either testing Kahuna (and most likely writing amazing things about it), or testing something else (there are lots of other profiles on my to-do list).

So, do you guys agree and consider it kind of lame to waste our time like this? Or am I wrong and this treasure hunt is an example of hip, cool, edgey and/or extreme marketing (marketing 2.0)?

I am now done with this particular gripe.

Kahuna Update

Back to Kahuna, Imran has posted additional screen shots and information on the service. He had a previous post where he stated 2 of his top 5 reasons for liking Kahuna.

Today he posted reasons 3 and 4 (leaving us in suspense for #5), along with a new screen shot of Kahuna (see to left):

3. Keyboard shortcuts to read mail
I’m sure the power users will love this. Use “[“ and “]” to navigate the message list and read your messages without using the mouse at all. Combine these with the preview pane and the delete key shortcut to delete messages and you can cruise through your inbox in no time flat. To read a message, click Enter to open a message in a larger view and click Esc to return to your message list. Also, “control [” and “control ]” will allow you to move between mail folders.

4. Change message encoding as you read
Do you get a lot of mails in a variety languages? If the mail itself does not specify the encoding Hotmail calculates the encoding by analyzing the message. You can choose the correct encoding if mail beta’s automatic choice was wrong so your messages look right regardless of the sending language or encoding.

It really does look like Kahuna will be user friendly and fast. Looking forward to future posts on this.