The following text is a personal blog entry, done by me and me only. Since we’re a blog and not a news page, there’s some editorial going on from time to time. This text is not necessarily the opinion of my fellow Roxettebloggers. So if you want to bash us for getting a life, a new hobby or stop complaining and whining: address your comment to me, and me only, please.

MySpace is dead, long live MySpace. I never liked that platform very much. Much too messy, too many designs which make you close the site before you had a close look at the content, comments everywhere, images without further comments in all sizes and forms everywhere on the page and at the top of the page on the right a small box with audio or video files. This was the only reason to visit a MySpace page in my opinion: to get to know an artist by listening to his songs or watching his clips and afterwards to decide if it’s worth to buy a whole CD or just a song or nothing. The only problem for the artist was that he didn’t earn anything with having a MySpace site. All he got was the chance to provide his music and stuff and to find more fans – but still: no money.

Now we got a fish in the snow and this fish wants to change that. The concept is called “Snowfish” and comes from Sweden. It’s actually a bit like MySpace, artists, musicians and every fan can register a site, upload images, include a Twitter feed and offer videos to watch. This site isn’t as messy as MySpace, but still it’s everything you would file in “chaos”. There’s a beta version online already since last year’s summer and still there are so many bugs on this page, that you don’t feel a second like visiting this page. Ok, I must admit – the structure of this page is slightly better than it was on MySpace and yet there’s another reason this site is different to MySpace: the artists can earn money with it. The more traffic you have on your page the more money you earn. So it’s said on the Snowfish homepage:

At Snowfish, every single view, listen or read of your content earns you payment (50% of advertising income received from your traffic!). These payments may be small at first (pennies) but ultimately pennies add up!

So it’s obvious that it can’t be much the artists actually get, but for those, who are not famous, not rich or just too bad and need every Cent, Dollar or Euro it’s a concept which can be profitable as time goes by. The more traffic, the more money.

But now it really would be nice, if the creators of this page would work on it which means: make it less messy, make it more user-friendly. So far this is not the case. Best example for this is Per Gessle’s new Snowfish page. He’s uploading videos and pictures from the recording sessions of the new Roxette album these days. And when we take a close look at the front page of his site it looks like there’s 22 videos to watch so far:

Click on the “22” and there you are: another page which lists only 10 videos. This page looks like that:

And yes – there’s no “next page” button, no numbers telling there are more pages, no hint there could be more videos around. There’s nothing. Nothing. So, you get 10 videos and you remember you clicked on “22”. So you go back to the frontpage, wondering what happened to the other 12 videos in the meantime. On the right of the frontpage you find another link to the videos. There’s a hint called “More videos..”.  Very good, you’re close to accomplishing the mission. But strange as it seems, here it says it’s only 18 videos, not 22.

So, you stay curious and click on “18”. The next page you see is not as messy as the rest and wow – indeed, 18 videos are listed. So you finally see all available footage – at least 18 of 22. The videos aren’t in a chronological or whatever order, so imagine you have around 100 videos to watch – it would take minutes to find the videos you haven’t seen yet. And this prevents you from staying on this page. Nobody wants to do the sorting him- or herself. This is something the site must offer – as a part of  simple “user-friendliness”. And, of course, who wouldn’t have known, even on this page there’s a mistake, because contrary to the page you have visited before and where you would have loved a simple “next page”-button which wasn’t there, this page has one although it isn’t even necessary, because all 18 videos are listed on page 1.

So, what might hide behind that. What content will be found on page 2? Click on “2” and there you go: the same 18 videos again. No new content, no different content, just the same. And now if you invest some seconds in thinking you will get to know why it’s only 18 videos and not 22. It’s simple, because the four missing videos are those which are shown as the “latest” vids on the front page. This is – I feel like that – again not very user-friendly. My first thought about this was that they might have wanted it like that to get more clicks which means “more money”. This is, of course, a most ironic thought of all this and maybe not correct. The page problem btw goes for the images as well.

So, summed up, the concept of Snowfish is quite remarkable, it’s for those artists, who need every Cent they can get. But the implentation is…. simply bad, especially considering the fact that this page is online since June or July 2009 already and still there are so many mistakes around. The question is: what happened since then? I truly think that the creators of this page must invest more money and more work to make it more user-friendly and less messy. This page cannot keep up with social networks like Facebook or YouTube at the moment. The videos come as a stream, so every user with a really slow internet connection (and yes, there are still some around) don’t have the chance to watch the stuff. On YouTube you can just cache the video and watch it when it’s finished. So, our Swedish Snowfishs need to think about another solution here.

Another thing is that users can leave comments on the front page. The more comments you have, the shorter the scrollbar gets, the longer you must scroll down, the bigger the page becomes. Same here: not everything MySpace did works.

And if you feel the urge to share your opinion about Snowfish with other users you won’t get far. There actually is a forum, but if you want to go there, all you can read at the moment (1.46 pm CET) is this:

An error has occurred.
For detailed error information, please see the HTML source code, and contact the forum Administrator.
Error while executing SSO actions: java.lang.NullPointerException