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IFTTT (If This, Then That)



Cons

While IFTTT's a great automation service, it does have several downsides.

We mentioned that IFTTT users need to authorize their selected Channels only once. That's fine and dandy, but it also means that only one user account can be given access per Channel. It's a bad thing for people who manage multiple social media accounts on one platform, particularly for Facebook, Twitter and WordPress. IFTTT has already stated that it's working to enable multiple authorized accounts per Channel, so this particular downside may be taken off the list soon.

Each Channel has its own selection of Add-Ins a.k.a. the kinds of data that will be included per update. The Add-Ins you select will affect how each update looks like, and the amount of information included per update. The consequence? A cascaded update may require some editing afterwards. For example, a tweet that gets forwarded to a self-hosted WordPress blog will look as is; we still have to log on to that WordPress blog at a later date to tweak those cascaded updates to our liking in terms of appearance, including setting custom titles, slugs, post formats, categories and tags. It's not a big deal since the goal of updating once for all Channels has been met, but users who are very specific about how each update should look like won't like what eventually gets published.

The third negative observation about IFTTT is that it could use more options, filters and parameters per Task, especially if some Channels have extensive privacy settings. Here's an example: a Task is created that would send links/retweets on a private Twitter account to a blog. What if there are certain online activities that the user wants to keep away from the public (or prying eyes/stalkers), like Foursquare check-ins and photos uploaded to YFrog or Twitpic? So far, the only available options are to temporarily turn this Task off before a link to a location or a photo is automatically posted on Twitter (which kinda contradicts the original objective), or make the blog private.

The last downside? IFTTT already has a long list of supported Channels (especially compared to Ping.fm's 32 networks, and considering that it's a free service still at the Beta stage!), but some users want and need more. The most commonly requested channels are for Path, Google+ and Blogger, and having other photo-oriented Channels would be great, too (like the aforementioned YFrog and Twitpic).

The Verdict

In just 15 months, IFTTT has already built a community of dedicated users, and is attracting attention both online (reviews and recommendations) and offline (e.g., investors). TechCrunch also noted in January 2012 that according to Linden Tibbets, "500,000 tasks have been created to date, contained in some 14,000 recipes, with 90 million tasks being triggered so far, at the current rate of 1 million per day." Sweet.

IFTTT's ease of use, support for a huge number of online services, and fantastic sign-up and usage fee of P0 are the things that bring more people in each month. We think it can only get better as time passes, although we wonder how it would make money in the future. They have to post profits at some point; while no details are available right now on how IFTTT will do that, we'd probably be receptive to it and stop being cheapskates.

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