Three Things About Ping That Will Make You Say “WTF?”

Sep 5th, 2010 | By | Category: General, iPods & Portable Media Players

The iTunes Ping social music network was easily the most interesting announcement out of Apple’s special music even, last week.

But after using it for even a short while, most people are unimpressed or puzzled – with Fortune  asking “Can Ping Be Saved?” and PC World calling it “Not so hot”.

Here are three reasons Apple’s Ping will make you say “WTF?”:

Apple left the musicians out. There aren’t any musician artist profiles to follow in the Ping music social network.

All we could find was these 14 musician profiles:

  1. Lady Gaga
  2. Yo-Yo Ma
  3. Katy Perry
  4. U2
  5. Jack Johnson
  6. Linkin Park
  7. Shakira
  8. Coldplay
  9. Mark Ronson
  10. Taylor Swift
  11. Dave Mathews Band
  12. Diddy
  13. Linkin Park
  14. U2

And, yes, Apple lists U2 and Linkin Park twice to pad the list.

No Jay-Z, no David Guetta, no Vampire Weekend, no Sade, no Black Eyed Peas, no John Mayer, no Alicia Keys……

Worse, Apple won’t let you create an Artist page for your band or your podcast or even stuff that you’re already selling in iTunes.


Apple left the social networking out. You can’t connect with Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc…..

Ping isn’t a social network – it may be the most un-social network of al social networks. If you try it, you won’t be able to find your friends if their on there and you won’t be able to invite them unless you’ve got their email address handy.

You can’t even post your status.


Apple Ping doesn’t protect you from spammers and scammers.

Every social network has problems with spammers and scammers – but Ping doesn’t do anything to protect you from them.

Thousands of fake user profiles are being created on the site, many in the name of famous artists, and their being used to promote phony iPhone deals and worse.

If you follow one of the dozen artists that are on Ping, you’ll have to wade through the spam to find comments from real fans.


Bottom line – Apple hasn’t created a social network for iTunes yet – they’ve made it easy for spammers to scam you on Lady Gaga’s Artist profile.

Unless Ping gets a fast update, it’s going the way of Apple’s last closed music platform – iTunes LP.

Remember that?

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10 Responses to “Three Things About Ping That Will Make You Say “WTF?””

  1. Tapeleg says:

    I’m sure Apple will do something more with ping, and build on it a little. It isn’t ready for prime time, and to declare it dead by the media is nothing more than instant gratification not being fulfilled.

    That said, unless podcasters are able to claim their shows and use ping in that way, I have no use for it. Do I really need another social network to maintain? And one that is completely centered around my buying habits on iTunes? Nope.

  2. Shawn says:

    They have added more artist profiles. But I was discouraged to find that none of the independent artists I searched for had profiles yet. (And most of these artists are selling music through the iTunes Store.) I understand Apple’s desire to keep Ping as uncluttered as possible. But why not let artists make their own profiles?

    Ping’s lack of external connections (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) makes it much less interesting to use. Perhaps they’ll add this functionality down the road.

    Ping’s lack of support for podcasting is discouraging as well. Considering the varied types of media (music, video, iBooks, podcasts, etc.) that are now distributed through the iTunes Store, it seems likely that eventually Ping support will be added to everything, not just music. I hope so, anyway.

  3. ellen jeeter says:

    Good points – but the thing that seems bizarre to me was that you you can’t discuss the music that’s in your iTunes library unless you bought it on iTunes.

    The lack of podcast support is big FAIL to me, too. It would be great to see the top podcasts the fans of your favorite podcast listen to, for example.

    And the site was recommending Lady Gaga and U2 to me, which completely ignores the music in my iTunes collection.

  4. georgA says:

    Why are people talking about Apple’s Ping when the Zune software already does this a lot better?


  5. Zimmie says:

    Actually, new iTunes LPs are coming out occasionally. Seven of them were released in August. Sure, that’s not a lot compared to the total volume of music, but they’re on some pretty high-profile albums.

  6. Calor says:

    Georga – The Zune is dead. Get a life!

    Zimmie – does anybody even remember iTunes LP? Seriously.

    For the Apple fanboys – Ping isn’t as good as MySpace. MySpace!

    Complete FAIL.

  7. Zimmie says:

    @Calor: I have a few and so do most of my friends who are even remotely into music. Plus, like I said, new albums are still coming out with them.

    I think Ping is silly, but mostly because I find “social networking” silly. MySpace is the new Geocities, complete with garish text over horrible floating background images and MIDI music. They may as well emulate the blink tag with Flash.

    Facebook is the stuff of nightmares. I had an account with nothing related to work in it. No work friends. No listed interests even remotely related to my day job. After adding my family, none of whom work in any field related to my day job, the recommended friends list had six coworkers and a customer I talked to twice several years ago. When I saw that, I couldn’t find the delete function fast enough.

    Twitter makes it impossible to have coherent conversation because everyone interrupts me between each sentence with a question I just answered in the sentence I was writing when they were replying to my last one. It’s infuriating. I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even look at my mentions, I just use it to broadcast show times and the like.

    Also, strictly speaking, the article is wrong about iTunes LP. It isn’t closed per-se, it’s just undocumented. Anyone can make one. It’s not hard. Just a lot of HTML junk in a zip file. “Closed” generally means you need some proprietary technology or knowledge to make it.

  8. Calor says:

    Agree almost 100%!

    But needing to know undocumented stuff to do iTunes Lp sounds a lot like needing proprietary knowledge!

    If they’d supported iTunes LP seriously, it might have been interesting, don’t you think?

    • Zimmie says:

      Hurf. I totally missed the “Reply” link at the bottom of the message.

      Undocumented isn’t really the same as proprietary. “Proprietary” is generally used to mean patented, internal processes that other people aren’t allowed to use from a legal or licensing standpoint. Undocumented means nobody else knows how to do it, but nobody is stopping them from learning.

      There is plenty of open-source software with documentation so shockingly bad it may as well not exist. That does not make it proprietary, it just means that the coders haven’t bothered to tell anyone else how everything works. WebM is an unfortunate example of this. Large parts of the “specification” are raw code. That is the very definition of undocumented functionality. Code never substitutes for proper documentation.

      And yeah, if they added iTunes LP creation capabilities to, say, iWeb (since the iTunes LP files are just zipped web pages), it would be a lot more interesting. As it stands, they have to be created by hand, and that’s kind of tedious. The files can contain a good bit more than iWeb can create, though.

      What would be really awesome is if they extended the format to let people make a full web application in a bottle. Then make it so you can sync them to an iOS device that would render it as a local web application using the built-in browser’s capabilities. So far, they’re pretty much DVD-style menus for audio albums and extra content like lyrics and liner notes. A change like this could make them so much more, and it’s not far off from what they are already.

    • Zimmie says:

      Guess what I noticed earlier on this very site:

      “Apple’s last closed music platform” my foot. It is both open *and* documented.

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