Wade Roush

Can Ping be saved? [Updated]

September 6, 2010: 5:20 AM ET

10 things Apple can do to rescue its experiment in social networking

Photo: Michael Copeland

Apple (AAPL) announced Friday that less than 48 hours after its launch more than 1 million people had signed up for Ping, its new social network for music.

That's not necessarily a good thing, given how many of those people are complaining -- loudly and with pretty good reason -- about Ping's shortcomings. Among the more articulate gripers:

  • TechCrunch's Erick Schonfeld. The Problem with Ping: "The biggest problem I have with Ping is that it lives in iTunes. Not only does it live in iTunes, it is isolated there. iTunes is not social. It is not even on the Web."
  • All Thing D's Peter Kafka: Ping Averts Its Gaze. Apple's New Social Network Doesn't Really Want to Know Much About You: "This isn't about Apple's walled garden that keeps Ping walled off from Facebook and other services. It's about Apple's decision to wall off Ping from your own music collection."
  • Scripting News' Dave Winer. Ping: It's even worse than it appeared: "Ping is not a social network, by any realistic definition of the term... My guess as to why we can't post to the timeline is that Apple is afraid we might say something harsh about them or Ping."
  • Xconomy's Wade Roush. The Leaning Tower of Ping: How iTunes Could Be Apple's Undoing: "Adding a social networking interface, on top of all of iTunes' other functions, is like grafting another limb to the forehead of an octopus. It's just too much."
  • Cthulhu and other crazies' Swizec. Apple's Ping is a big pile of steaming dung: "Meh I give up, there is nothing worth following on Ping. The artists I do find are labeled as users and everybody knows it's not really them there, it's some automated bot thing to keep us notified of their stuff."

So what can Apple do to turn Ping into something that feels like a real social network, not just a way to sell more music? Here are 10 suggestions, culled from the complaints:

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