Cateye’s Social Network – World Commute – Measure your Carbon Offset – Verdict: Bridge to Nowhere

by aloshbennett
by aloshbennett

So Cateye has a new product called Cateye Commute. Its a cyclometer that helps you measure your ‘Greenness’ and stuff and it sounds pretty cool. You can read the Wired review of the Cateye Commuter here. I am more interested in the social network that they built to go along with this device – WorldCommute.com.

The basic concept is not new, there are a number of excercise and carbon offset tracking websites out there. However this one seems to combine them both and acts like a Nike+ for bikes. Unfortunately it is not going anywhere.

There are a few basic reasons for this:

  • Publicity
  • Networking

Publicity – External and Internal

No one is talking about this site. How do I know this? Yahoo is currently showing 7,000 backlinks. That is sad. Whats worse is that the top result on Yahoo’s list is cateye.com. In voodoo SEO terms this means the strongest link Cateye is getting for their Social Network is from Cateye. Nice outreach. For a topic this hot there is no reason they shouldn’t have government and educational sites linking to them as a way to take resposibility for your energy use. Send Obama a computer and get him to blog about it on the Whitehouse blog or something…

How commited is Cateye to this project? From looking at the Cateye website and its lack of a mention or link to worldcommute.com I would say not very.  Currently a search for “site:cateye.com world commute” gives a total of 7 results, on a site with over 1400 pages. The product page for the Cateye Commuter has no link to worldcommute.com. (As a side note there is no link to a Youtube video of how to install the Cateye Commute Cyclometer, or how to use it.)

Networking – As in Social

Cateye knows about Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, but for some reason it doesn’t want to connect its own Social Network to them. This is perplexing to say the least. Considering the Privacy issues that they bring up during signup, I really don’t want to give you my birthdate, it makes sense to take advantage of the info that people have already given to their existing networks. Also its a pain in the ass to send an individual invite to each of my friends to get them to join me at WorldCommute.com. With all the latest stuff going on at Facebook and connecting sites together this is a major mistake.

Is there a way to sync the info from the Cateye Commute to my computer for upload to worldcommute.com? I assume no as there is no mention of this on the product page. This is a big miss as well considering the rise in various tracking methods on iPhones and Blackberries like Nike+ and AllSport GPS.

Conclusion

Cateye is taking a good direction here in terms of broadening their audience and message but in the end no one is going to use worldcommute.com as it is currently setup. There are 105 groups on the site but each one that I scanned over had less than 5 members. Cateye can make this a success if it can link their Cateye Commute Cyclometer to the site and connect worldcommute.com to the rest of the internet better. If you are running the show at Cateye I would love to talk further on this and help make it a success in exchange for some cash.