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“If your whole business relies on us, you might want to pick a different one”
41 points by gonchs 131 days ago | hide | past | web | 15 comments | favorite
For anyone considering building a business as an integration provider on top of Embed.ly (the only way to get embedded on Medium), you may want to follow the advice from the founder, Sean Creeley, who just sent me this:

"If your whole business relies on us, you might want to pick a different one.".

TIMELINE:

1) I ask Embed.ly if the novelty factor (existing competitor) would be an issue before building an integration for them

2) They say it'd be ok, as long as the other guidelines are met

3) I spend a month building the initial MVP and send it for approval

4) The founder replies and instead of providing guidance on what should I change to get approved, accuses me of "copying someone else's work" and that "We aren't going to argue with you on this".

Screenshots of all conversions (newest at the top):

http://imgur.com/a/7nfPC

Make your own judgment.




Why should he tell you what you should change to get approved? You already said that you had new ideas about how to differentiate your service against Upscribe - why not list these out into a roadmap? You've not offered anything that is different to one of their providers already offers.

At the moment, you're claiming that 'novelty' is the choice of consumers to choose a different product. That's not novelty, that's competition.

Their comments are entirely reasonable - submit it when it has something new to offer. You say that you have these ideas - and if you truly believed in what you were doing, then you would put this time in upfront on the product on the speculation that it would be so good, they could not turn you down.


> Why should he tell you what you should change to get approved? You already said that you had new ideas about how to differentiate your service against Upscribe - why not list these out into a roadmap?

The roadmap suggestion seems like a good idea, but Embedly should tell OP what they'd like to see different because they're the ones who, contrary to previous communications, suddenly have a problem with it, and they should have more respect for the time OP has put into their work. They dismiss it and say they "won't argue" when OP wasn't being remotely argumentative. They say "please submit when you are out of MVP stage" -- what does that even mean, please come back to sell your product, which is tailored to our platform, after you've left the stage that requires making sales?

> At the moment, you're claiming that 'novelty' is the choice of consumers to choose a different product. That's not novelty, that's competition.

They do not make this claim. I think if you read it again carefully, you'll see that they don't.

> ...if you truly believed in what you were doing, then you would put this time in upfront on the product on the speculation that it would be so good, they could not turn you down.

A.) Should every product and company be a grand vision that you "really believe in?" What's wrong with making something that you think is useful and that people will buy and that you'd enjoy building, but which is certainly not going to change the world? What if you can't build your grand vision right now because you lack the skills, funding, and experience -- tough luck, you don't get to try and fail to launch a lemonade stand, you have to mangle an idea you actually care about instead?

B.) Of course they could still turn him down. That is the point. OP wasn't willing to gamble more than an MVP on the whims and wishes of this company.

And clearly, OP had good reason to be conservative.


Sorry to hear that. Pretty ridiculous behavior on their end given their own product isn't even that novel and innovative.

Plenty of products start out as a copy of something else, and build out from there.

Also, "We aren't going to argue with you on this point.". How old are we, 12?


i'm not convinced the OP is without blame and just tries to shove it onto them.

"Also, "We aren't going to argue with you on this point.". How old are we, 12?"

i could argue that a 12 year old loves to argue about how unfair things are and how his demands have to be met.

I'm with whoever wrote this part. He saves everyone time by outright saying that there is no point in it. That's a more mature thing to do, actually.

Arguing around is, in absolutely most cases, a collosal waste of time, because people usually aren't interested in learning or understanding something, but in "being right".

What i find bad, though, is that they wasted OPs time. That being said, we actually know pretty much nothing about the whole situation and there is reason to assume that the OP just wants them to look bad.


If I bothered asking you whether X would be accepted onto your platform, and you said yes, I would find it pretty amateuristic to then come back (once an integration has been made) and ask "why exactly should we let you onto our platform"?

Yes, you're always at the mercy of the platform holder and in the end they can do with it whatever they want, and maybe I'm old school on this, but giving your word on something still means something to me.

If someone tells me they will do X (in business) and they don't end up honoring said deal due to unreasonable behavior then I will refuse to do business with them in the future. And I will let people know who ask me about it.

Maybe it's something cultural since I'm not American, but I've noticed US companies to often act like this in various situations. Many, frankly, do not care about relationships.

I find this whole thing as appaling as the recent interaction that I've had with a company where we integrated their complete free API, and once the app we integrated it in started getting proper traction, they wanted us to pay for it ("collaborate more closely"). In this example they clearly advertise it as a free API but will threaten to shut access off if you don't pay.

Obviously we're promptly removing everything from our app + they're losing DAUs (which are also important to them) because of it.


> If I bothered asking you whether X would be accepted onto your platform, and you said yes, I would find it pretty amateuristic to then come back (once an integration has been made) and ask "why exactly should we let you onto our platform"?

The difference between this and what actually happened is that the Company has no way of knowing if something is novel or not before it exists. When asked if someone could start building something they said sure. When asked if what he/she built was good enough they said no. These are not inconsistent.

It's such a weird sense of entitlement that because OP spent time on something he/she deserves to be rewarded. The company very obviously expected something that wasn't exactly the same as the thing that already exists. When that was not what they got, they responded understandably.


Forming an opinion like this, based on assumptions due to lack of information, isn't a way to move forward.

Do you want me to review what we have?


I am glad I never used medium and I go out of my way not to read anything on it.

How are they different from many other blog systems before them?

The correspondence between op and the guy from medium just put me off even more. Like someone else before me already said...pretty ridiculous saying to someone 'your product is nothing new'...coming from medium

To me it just looks like another case of all words for openness but in reality my hand washes your hand.


>How are they different from many other blog systems before them?

There is one key difference: Medium's popular posts recommendation algorithm is not based on pageviews, but on the time that people spend reading them. It was an attempt to solve the issue of clickbait. From Business Insider:

With Medium, Williams was on a mission to clean up the mess that blogging had become, the misinformation and drivel it attracted. He hoped to cure professional journalism of these ills, too.

“The state of tech blogs is atrocious. It’s utter crap,” he told Bloomberg’s Brad Stone in 2013. “They create a culture that is superficial and fetishizing and rewarding the wrong things and reinforcing values that are self-destructive and unsustainable.” And he said he was “pessimistic about the state of media, and that’s why I want to work on this problem.”

His idea back then was an algorithm that recommended high-quality stories not based on clicks, but on how much time people spent reading them.

[1] https://www.businessinsider.com/inside-the-meltdown-of-evan-...


Wired called it "plogging" - PLatform blOGGING.

http://www.wired.com/2015/10/long-blogging-hello-yep-going-s...

Of course, "platform blogging" isn't new: Sett, Stumbleupon, and the good ole standby "webrings" were (and still are, in some cases) forms of bringing multiple authors together into a general community


http://imgur.com/a/7nfPC

Clickable link


Is there any reason medium has outsourced it's embedding UX? It's one of their key integrations/differentiation UX wise.


No longer outsourced, Medium acquired Embedly last year.


Take his advice


So how are you different from Upscribe, as Sean asks?




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