People don’t understand it, but the BBM waiting list is smart

By Chris Umiastowski on 22 Oct 2013 10:33 am EDT

Making people wait in line for something is one of the most common and most effective tricks to generate buzz and take advantage of the rule of social proof.  As is well-documented in Dr. Robert Cialdini’s excellent book, “Influence:  The Psychology of Persuasion”, social proof is a huge factor when it comes to influencing others.

Waiting lists are nothing new.  Even waiting lists for apps are nothing new.  Gmail didn’t let you in as a cold visitor, at first.  You needed an invite.  They weren’t hard to get, but it did create social proof.  Pinterest had a waiting list when it launched.  On the iOS App Store most people are probably familiar with Mailbox, the app that was purchased by Dropbox earlier this year.  It had a waiting list.

People will always bitch about waiting lists, but they are generally smart influence tactics.  They also have engineering justification since no new app wants to be overwhelmed by demand such that the service is crushed.  We don’t want BBM crashing on us, do we? 

So between engineering requirements and influence tactics, a waiting list is actually smart.  But don’t expect people to understand this.  People love to complain. And only because BlackBerry has been on the butt end of many jokes lately, people are going to furthermore assume that BlackBerry is stupid for creating a waiting list.  Those same people will generally be waiting in line.

Something to ponder for a Tuesday morning …

Topics: BBM Editorial

Reader comments

People don’t understand it, but the BBM waiting list is smart



I think it's incredibly smart. It creates pent up anticipation of when you get that "return acceptance email". Smart ploy by BB and also eases their servers too

Sorry, but "being on the edge of your seat" with anticipation for 12 hours just leads to a sore @$$. This is awful.

Posted via CB10

Maybe some people will want it so badly they'll just buy a BlackBerry device and skip the line altogether? Wishful thinking... but it could happen :D

We're sorry for your inconvenience sir. Would you like a complimentary BBM pin while you wait? LoL

Posted via CB10

I call BS. This is a weak marketing ploy to steal the thunder from Apples new iPad launch today.

The delusions of the CSuite and Product Managers at this company never cease to amaze me (or of CB writers' optimism!!)

Posted via CB10

I call your comments weak. You gripe and complain. But that's all it is. Rarely does what you have to say have any validity. It's easy to complain, but more difficult to present a viable solution.

Perhaps, using BBM to answer a survey to qualify for a free or very inexpensive Z10 should be the next on BBRY's list of things to do. They already wrote off the costs.

I would be inclined to agree.. IF they hadn't botched the initial launch. If this was the first time they were trying to roll it out and they did this, I could see the marketing sense in it. Given they have already had people waiting, I think this is a little excessive and suggests that they are worried their servers can't handle the traffic all at once.. Not exactly the launch optics you want (in my opinion).

Funny how people complain they are on a wait list and have to wait maybe a few more hours or days, when they have been waiting for years for BBM to go cross-platform, and months since there was an official announcement of a summer launch. It is not like you are "waiting" in line somewhere outside a store, putting off other work, inconvenienced, your time being wasted. It is just an app, for crying out loud... an app! That you will be notified to download at some point. Let's go on with our lives people... :-)

Nobody has been waiting years for cross platform BBM. Nobody.

The same tired flawed thinking that resulted in almost 1$B of unsold z10 inventory... the dreams of weak product managers in Waterloo.

Posted via CB10


The fact is that BBM is unlikely to be the IM cross-platform nirvana. People forget that there are several competing products out there that iOs and Android users have already invested in. The first company that puts a great desktop interface in for PC and Mac? That will probably win out. Skype has the opportunity but the IM feature is weak.

I agree.

This is more of CB trying to find a positive spin on something that isn't.

Waiting lists are great for people like US, the diehards, it makes us want it even more.

For the masses - soccer moms, busy parents, working joe/jane, grandma, tom the plumber, etc - they don't want a waiting line. They want to be able to download an app that works upon installation, just like the dozens, hundreds, and possibly thousands of other apps (free apps included) they've downloaded before. This is most likely the first and only time they have downloaded an app (from a supposed "big company") and not been able to use - that is sending the WRONG message. It has nothing to do with instant-gratification or self entitlement; when someone downloads an app/software or attempts to use a service, it either works or it doesn't, and there is nothing wrong with expressing frustration for that.

What will be seen in the eyes of consumers who have been burned by BBRY before is that this "waiting list" is just a slick move by BBRY to "launch" an app and make the month long delay short. It'll be seen by them as another trick op BBRY's sleeve of ambiguity to cover up their inability to get something right.

In the eyes of the iPhone/Android user, who many of which think BlackBerry has either already gone out of business or will eventually go out of business, this just further enforces the notion that BlackBerry is an old, aging (dying) company.

Of the 1,000+ FaceBook friends I sent invitations to use BBM, I got back a little less than 100 replies, Most of which were summed up as "Downloaded app, doesn't work... Just contact me on GroupMe/WhatsApp/Kik..." Some replies were along the likes of, "BlackBerry is still in business?" Mind you, only 1 other person I know of (both in "real life" and on FB) have a BB10/7 device, and that's my GF's work phone. With that being said, I did not get back a single reply saying they were going to use the app; nor did any single response show any positive interest in BBM; and surely nothing along the likes of "I can't wait to BBM with you!!!"

What I'm trying to say is that the odds are already HEAVILY against BBRY. Any little thing that can be seen as a negative, will be, perhaps not by us CB enthusiasts, but by the AVERAGE MASSES. And THOSE people are the ones BBRY is trying to win over or win back; but a waiting list is just making the ones who left BBRY feel validated and glad they did; and for the ones who never had BBRY, this is just reinforcing BBRY's image of "old and dying; going out of business".

Perhaps it's the forum in which you asked that caused a low response rate. First, I doubt you have 1,000 actual friends on Facebook. Sure, there may be 1,000 people in your friends list, but how many of them are more than just acquaintances? How many do you regularly see and hang out with? That will have an effect on how many will take your invite seriously to start with, regardless of what you invited them to do. Second, on Facebook, when I see "So and so has invited you to..." I immediately stop reading. I'm sure the fact that you basically spammed your whole friends list didn't help your cause at all.
I agree that they face some stiff headwinds to get mass adoption, but saying nobody cares about it is just ludicrous. Social apps grow by ..... wait for it..... word of mouth! Shocking, I know! I texted 3 of my friends yesterday and told them to give it a go, and each one of them said they would. It's gonna be a slow process, but it's not going to fail like you purport.

I don't see the trouble in believing someone has over a 1,000 friends on FB. I could take a screen capture and show you if you'd like but I don't think we have to go that level just to prove something like that...

Many of them are more than just acquaintances, in fact, many them are people I interact with in person and communicate with via talk/text more than FB. About 300 or so I see twice a week, another 200 or so I see at least 3 times a week; and most of them I talk to several times a week via phone; the remainder are those "old friends" who are out of the area and/or just simply don't see eachother on a regular basis. I guess I'm blessed to have so many friends. *shrug*

I don't see the trouble in believing someone has over a 1,000 friends on FB. I could take a screen capture and show you if you'd like but I don't think we have to go that level just to prove something like that...

Many of them are more than just acquaintances, in fact, many them are people I interact with in person and communicate with via talk/text more than FB. About 300 or so I see twice a week, another 200 or so I see at least 3 times a week; and most of them I talk to several times a week via phone; the remainder are those "old friends" who are out of the area and/or just simply don't see eachother on a regular basis. I guess I'm blessed to have so many friends. *shrug*

You must be a really amazing guy! I only wish I didn't have a job so I could hang out with 500 people a week...

Spending time with that many people a week is part of my work; I own my own business so I also have a lot of freedom to "socialize", but by and large a lot of the people I associate on a daily basis I know through business.

Soccer moms and Tom the plummer aren't rushing out first day to get any app. In a short time, there won't be a waiting list anymore.

Anyone who that excited about bbm won't mind the wait

Posted via CB10

Question:  Who are you "quoting"?

Comment: I said most people wouldn't understand this.  You're a good example (not intended to insult, just point it out).  Of course nobody wants to wait in a line.  And yet, the tactic still works as one that generates social proof simply because people MUST wait in line.

Ok back to the "discussion" :)

Chris, when there are cameras, news crew, and media all over a waiting line that begins at the store front doors and wraps around a city block, then yes, THAT line works.

There is no real line for to garner that kind of draw and attention when it comes to downloading an app. The only buzz being generated is among the people who are already "in", the people who already wanted BBM and were going to get it no matter what.

The million download milestone isn't because of a waiting list. The waiting list is purely for technical reasons and if BBRY could they would launch BBM without the waiting list.

Understanding the social psychology of things is important, but if you really understood those principles then you would understand that they are not in BBRY's favor in this specific situation.

Did you write an essay when communicating this to them.
Congrats on seeing hundreds if your good mates a week. Show them your phone and show them what they're missing.

WRONG! Anything that is pissing off this many potential users is not smart. This is another botched roll-out. Whether planned or not. If they did not anticipate pissing people off, then they botched it.

I posted the release info on FB yesterday afternoon. Today Ithought my BBM list would be re-populated. Instead, I have a number of comments like- "Doesn't work." "Not yet available" "Tried, no dice."

Maybe, just maybe If you can't figure out how to launch a messaging app to multiple platforms at the same time, you deserve to go out of business? Honestly I don't know. Did What'sApp or Kik need to have a virtual waiting line and these issues?

And let me clarify and further add - the ones that really want this are not android and IOS users. It's BB users who desperately want to re-populate their BBM lists and maybe convert some friends, so that they perhaps enough folks give BB a shot that developers start to pput their apps in BB World. The pent up demand is BB users. Our I-phone friends couldn't give a rat's arse except that we have asked them to try BBM.

You must certainly be speaking about your specific friends, right? Don't generalize. Have you been around the world yet? :)

I agree that us BB users want our lists to go up and most of the users on Android and iOS who will be downloading it are former BlackBerry users themselves who miss BBM but left bec BlackBerry phones were so damn slow and behind the competition.

I can attest to this. Lots of indonesians are desperately trying to get this so they can ditch their BB and start using their iPhone & Samsung combo.

Posted via CB10

I make it a point to never take anyone seriously who spells Apple's product as "I-phone"

Posted via CB10

To be fair, no, Whatsapp didn't have the wait, but when BBM rolled out initially, it didn't either. If Whatsapp had the initial demand BBM did, they may have had activation problems as well. I think a short wait is justifiable.

That said, when the news hit CrackBerry yesterday, I sent the link to 4 people immediately, one on iOS and 3 on Android. They're all still waiting. It's ridiculous. An hour or two, even a little more, would have been acceptable. This is just bad.

Posted via CB10

I was smart enough to wait a few days before contacting my friends. Did not do it the first time, was smart enough to not again the second time. New tech things, glitches are very common. Patience is a virtue.

Trolls should be forced to use BB10!

Fair enough, but people deserve to be eager to get back into the app for that very reason. Because of the first debacle, people expected it to go right this time. Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto said, "People will never remember if a game is late, but they'll always remember if a game is bad." I think that applies here, and in a few days, this none of this will matter. But while that's a fair theory to adhere to, you can only claim it so many times before it becomes just another excuse. The wait is acceptable, but it shouldn't be this long.

Agree. Plus, now BlackBerry has their email address and can notify millions of people directly about the new Z30 and how well it integrates their BBM into the OS and links it with other social apps and games.

Yeah. It appears that they're finally pulling it together as well, though some people never got their email and just got past it. Either way, you can't argue with the number's they've pulled. Hopefully BlackBerry is paying attention and realizes that now is the time to put all hands on deck and get the new features out ASAP.

Haha laughing at people on other blogs saying 'who needs it'. Everyone will get it eventually when their friends get. People looove chat apps, especially free ones.

Posted via CB10

It's smart for BBM, stupid for consumers. Therefore it's stupid overall.

Join the Surge Co. BBM Channel! C001213C9, follow @surgecoapps on Twitter for the latest news!

No... I don't mind the waiting list, but a lot of potential customers do. So overall it's a bad move.

Join the Surge Co. BBM Channel! C001213C9, follow @surgecoapps on Twitter for the latest news!

And those are the same customers who will actually wait. It's no different than people who complained Bout Howard stern radio show. Yet those were the fools who kept listening JUST to see what he would say next lol

Only a fool thinks they know me.

Completely different. See my comment above. BB people want this and would be willing to wait. We're used to BB's ways by now. I-phone and Android users generally don't freakin care, except that we asked them to download the app.

No, it's NOT completely different. Dj makes a valid point here. You are blinded by some sort of "complain" bug. Get over it already.

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry people want this and former BlackBerry people who are now iOS and android people want this. That's why there were six million people pre registered.

Posted via CB10

allow me to say that this isn't entirely correct, at work today I made 4 Android users and an iOS user download BBM ONLY because they DIDN'T know it was released cross-platform in the first place. They were so damn excited about it. Yes it was a little embarrassing that they had to wait the full working day and not get the approval, but the anticipation they had is priceless, I was talking about BBM like it was my own child, and they were like kids listening to a bed-time story, already half of them bitch about how Whatsapp sucks...

Posted via ZCB10

Here's the thing. The fact people don't understand it is WHY it doesn't make sense. I know a lot of diehards will wait in line, but very few 'new' customers will be willing. They need to push an update tomorrow that removes the lineup.

Join the Surge Co. BBM Channel! C001213C9, follow @surgecoapps on Twitter for the latest news!

First!!!! Awe cr@p.

Anyway, if it is smart from a marketing perspective, you can rest assured that that is not the reason it was done.

I think it was purely a means of ensuring the registration process did not get overwhelmed nor did the capacity of the system in general.

My mom got a email saying she us the first in line but when she tried to use it, it is just on the waiting page doing nothing

Posted via CB10

only the pure of BB heart will be allowed to join. Tell your Mommy to clense her thoughts of antiblackberry....and she will be allowed into the promised land :)

"Her heart she must first cleanse, and enter, she will." (in Yoda's voice)

Z10 STL 100-2 | back to (because the flash player in 10.2 is busted)

Hahahaha agreed. Worth it to log in and give kudos to a joke well played.

Flicked to you via CB10 on my "D10"

Ya I guess this is all fine. Personally I think they need to get the wait off but that's just me.

Posted via CB10

Wow! 14 hours?! How did you get so lucky? I mean, waiting is such a great thing cuz it creates anticipation, after 14 hours, you must be orgasmic with all the anticipation!

Sorry, spin it anyway you want, wait times like this (and this is not uncommon at all) are embarrassing.

Posted via CB10

First world problem, some wait that long for food, fix your priorities

Posted by the Zed 30 of rockivy

I got it downloaded within 15 min. All it did was turn my 2 day Droid Maxx battery into a 7 hour battery. :(

I think this is brilliant. It may piss people off but at the same time those that are the most vocal will probably be the ones who want it the most. If the people are taking the time bitch, then they are invested and want in. I just truly hope that BB has all of their servers ready for the onslaught of new BBMs.

People are pissed because they've been trashing BlackBerry for so long and now BlackBerry has something they want and is making them wait for it.

Posted via CB10

Apple are amazing at having waiting lines for their new products and it creates major buzz in all media. They also tend to "run out of stock" quickly only to have the stores replenished the next day. Marketing, people. it's just good marketing.

Thought for the day, BlackBerry roles out bbm there's a waiting line to sign up, people are pissed and bitch about BlackBerry being useless, Apple release a new phone people wait in line for hours on end in the cold and hail apple as the greatest thing since sliced bread....hmmm, somebody is winning the psychology battle me thinks....

Just a thought

Posted by the Zed 30 of rockivy

For everybody else it's Marketing, but for BlackBerry haters is "ALL THE SAME BAKCBEYRY #YOLOSWAG420".

People are so unintelligent it's hilarious.

So, enough about the registration process, is it working properly for iPhones and most Android phones with the correct version of the OS or are there complaints?

Apple friend of mine "in line" since about 8:00pm CST last night.... the "wait" will be worth it if this thing goes as smoothly as it appears to be going at this point....

BBM will be the "biggest messaging app on the planet by Thanksgiving".... mark this....

Thanksgiving is past isn't it? Oh, you mean in the United States. When is it there? Whenever, I agree 100%.

Posted via CB10

No, they're moving on. Meaning, their day revolved around selecting a messaging app &, as time grows short, they may be required to look elsewhere.

People are moving on?
Less than 1% of mobile users even heard about BBM being released.

Posted via CB10

BTW - iTards are "used to standing in line"..... they aren't really up to speed on buying online... you know that whole "internet thing" appears to confound them...

I don't know about others but I signed up on waiting list yesterday at around 4 PM and had already received the e-mail today when I woke up at 5 AM. Installation was a breeze on my iPhone

Just thinking out loud but maybe the list is to make sure to weed out any leaked or fake bbm apps? Wasn't this the reason if flopped the first time. I'm not very tech savvy so if someone who is could let me know if this could be a reason. Thanks in advance.

I could not agree more. I am disappointed to see the wait times reported by some has grown in length but on the other hand, I sense demand has been overwhelming which is a really good thing.

Posted via CB10

The waiting list is a tactical process to ensure their servers and techs do not get bogged down with a deluge of simultaneous requests globally. I don't think they can do it any different as the learnt from the earlier rollout - with the unexpected and higher than anticipated demand.
Just ask the US Government just how that plays out.

Its been reported that 5 million "signed up yesterday/last night" and the next 5 million are in the cue now...

Big success, so far, and the millions of people who left BlackBerry will be "open" to downloading BBM - its That Good and they know it...

CB showed a go-around to install it. I did it on the wife's iPad and it worked right away. Many of my friends already have it going on iPhones and Androids.

it's required to have have wait list. remember last launch. given that, any positive spin-off is cherry on the top.

Good point. But don't take the argument too far. I mean BlackBerry has always kept us waiting for something and it's not a general strategy that has worked well for them. Unless it explains our helpless addiction .....

Posted via CB10

Good point of view Chris - I totally agree. Apple benefits from this artificial sense of need as well. And if they are 'bitching', it is because they want the app really badly.

It would be a great tool IF people didn't describe BlacBerry as a sinking ship. I've seen multiple posts mocking BB... "I took them a month and I'm still waiting? Just use Whatsapp"...

Since this will be the first experience sme people have with BlackBerry (or the first time in many years), it really just ads a gret black spot to their name... And no, its not a good thing.

Ummm how many iPhone and Android users are world wide? Let's consider that between 5% - 10% of them, install and use BBM. That will be millions of new BBM users!

Oh, no doubt lots if people will download, and love it. I's just the waiting line is just more ammunition for people to hate on BB...

Club lines in the city, fake iPhone demand by not distributing enough phones, waiting in line for video games, black Friday, social engineering, etc. It works.

Posted via my Panther Z10 and CB10 app

Another great article Chris. Peoples' entitled mentality these days are what helps lead to these negative comments and such. They want things now and don't take the time to think why there might be wait times or why things don't work immediately without looking at their phone settings. Instant gratification is nice when it works out that way, but iSheeple demand it.

I'm not happy about my friends having to wait for the BBM app but I do agree that I'd rather there be a waiting list than to have a major issue again.

Posted with my Q10

I have to admit that sometines I think you folks are being paid for saying things but I don't want to come across as negative and beating up on your positive spin. Aside from my Z10 and Q10, I also have a number of android devices, given each device has its strengths and weaknesses.
But honestly to have to wait to get an app in today's world is absolutely absurd. First BB botches up their initial release, a marketing nightmare that sure as hell did not make them look good. Then they go and do a wait list with CB saying it is going smoothly and then to add icing to the cake, you Chris coming on here to say it is a strategy when we all know the last thing BB is good at strategy and execution. This is just another flawed introduction hidden behind some marketing that did not happen. It certainly did not create any positive buzz but again just showed how literally incompetent BB is, sad to say.
Again apologize for the negativity, but you should call a spade a spade, when applicable.

Now been 15+ hours for two devices.

The strategy works all around. It's a free app and I don't think you under duress to have it, or are you? Would the world come to end if you waited another 10hrs? Be Patient or there are other choices like WhatsApp, WeChat, Kik. Line, Viber etc.

Sure, but you are omitting one very important variable. This ISN'T just another app. It's BBM! iPhone, you've got the title for the #1 phone, but BlackBerry still holds the crown when it comes to the #1 app! Funny thing to, because the irony is, at the end of the day the iPhone is only as good as its best app. My best friend said it best, "This is the best of both worlds."

Posted via CB10

I never said BBRY did this on purpose because it's a smart strategy. I just said that it is usually smart strategy and I have no knowledge of whether or not they considered this as a reason, or if they were just worried about a crash. I do not expect the marketing folks at BBRY are well versed in social psychology at all. I doubt many of them are familiar with Cialdini's work. And yet, it doesn't change the fact that this is a very useful strategy to use, whether by accident or on purpose.

Who cares about Instagram? BlackBerry will survive without IG. If you desperately want Instagram go buy an iPad or Android. I'm a "Multi-platformer" so I can download IG on my other devices if I'm desperate. The BB10 is good productivity device.

Seriously do you honestly believe that BBRY has been sitting around doing nothing? Or would you rather BBRY bend over and be hosed by everyone because the company is in a dire situation? You are smart guy, so please tell us what BBRY should have done to get Instagram on BB10 devices? It's always easier said than done.

You're talking about two different things now.

I'm replying to your comment about BBRY *surviving* without IG. And yes they will survive, but my point was that the survival mentality of BBRY has gotten them into the situation they are in now.

Your reply to my reply is now talking about BBRY working to get IG and asking (rhetorically I presume) what needs to be done to get IG on BB10.

I think there may have been a misunderstanding as your second comment doesn't seem to follow the point I was trying to make.


at first i was like: nooooo! just get it out and let them have it.

but then: yeah, let them suffer a bit more! buajajaja!

loving MY BBM from my BlackBerry Z10

Not in this case, I'm afraid... BB should show at once how usable and efficient is their system. BBM shouldn't impose waiting on new Folks. It's the best instant messaging app that keeps you waiting not moving now :| Think RIM, think!

[...] BBs always for young professionals - new BYOD hero:

Come on ! According to Crackberry whatever BB does is "good" or "smart" ! LOL
This waitinglist is just stupid! People get pissed off! :(
I signed in with my BB ID 12 hours ago and still nothing has happened ????? :(

The world will not come to an end, or will it? I'm sure you have waited in line before. Its a free app so be patient. It's not costing you anything and you are not standing in the cold or rain. :)

logical reasoning but with all the bad press and negative consumer and media sentiment, i think an overwhelming high performance will better serve Blackberry at this time..

Blackberry has been known for over-promising and under-delivering for the last 5 years and a few implementations that gradually erase that memory would work better IMHO

BBM going cross platform is, unfortunately, too little too late. I hope that I'm wrong about that but BlackBerry has lost every bit of momentum it ever had.

Imo, it's not smart. Those other companies didn't have the same history, stigma, and negative buzz at launch. I feel that they may be playing with time that they don't have. If possible, they should be giving BBM to whoever wants it...whenever they want.

Posted via CB10 via Q10

Yes, many other apps have launched with a waiting list, but this is just poor optics. The key word is "launch". Blackberry botched the original launch and are now making people wait yet again.

I think that never before in the history of smartphones and apps there was one single app that several millions (double digit!) of users wanted to download at the same time. All others grew organically, more or less.
There is absolutely no other way than to go for a staggered release. Or servers and networks will crash.

It also helps manage the new load on servers in a controlled fashion. Thus ensuring it doesn't crash. Waiting list is the best way to go for many reasons

Posted via CB10

I guess it is but it's only good for BBRY not the millions of eager downloaders!

A waiting list to get BBM, ain't nobody got time for that.

BlackBerry is dead. My S4 is so much better than your Flopberry 10.

Lol ok. Why are u posting on a BlackBerry site phagdroid ;-).

I registered my mum's iphone4 last night round 10pm UK time. Still haven't received the email, hopefully won't be too long.

Posted via Z10

It's not smart what Google did at time with invite, because that was the fault that did, I couldn't get my first priority e-mail adress with my first name... since that, I have never used it.. I use hotmail/outlook/live instead and happy for I could create mail adress with my first name only.

Posted via CB10

People seem to miss the point that this is no ordinary app. It requires signing up/logging into server infrastructure and interacting with it on a constant basis once up and running.

I don't care how big you are - and BlackBerry isn't that big. Imagine dealing with millions of simultaneous activations and servicing requirements while keeping the service for the other 60 million going strong.

No one else has done this before.

Posted via CB10

Exactly. People don't seem to get this. If you have an infrastructure designed to cope with adding, say, a million users a month, and then all of a sudden six million people try to join the service, what is going to happen?
Anybody who has actually developed an enterprise program - disclaimer, I have - knows how it is necessary to build up slowly in terms of scaling. Nobody goes from 0 to millions in a few weeks. It takes a long time to find the bottlenecks, the database issues, and, nowadays, to find and fix the attack vulnerabilities. Because the bad guys will have started their attacks within seconds of the service going live.
It's amazing how quickly people forget Windows Vista, Apple Maps, the slow rollout of gmail, and the equally slow initial development of Facebook and Twitter. Or, for that matter, HP's webOS foulup, Microsoft and Apple's early forays into tablets, and, going back even further, Microsoft allowing in a whole new load of competitors by thinking they could kill the WWW when it first appeared.
But no, for many people BlackBerry is a uniquely bad company.

Well, I have a surprise for you Chris....
NO App in the history of Apps launched twice!!!!!! Only BBM, and people are still waiting for hours!!!!
So get real and admit they did it in the wrong way... ENOUGH!!!!!

So what do you propose?

Should BlackBerry have spent $100m to enhance their infrastructure for a 3 day surge, and then mothball it?

Posted via CB10

No! BlackBerry should release it in a different region at a time with no waiting lists. just like the smartphone release... This would generate anticipation as well and people would not think they are rejected like our friends feel for 18 hours now.

That worked so well for the phone launch...with people in the US complaining that they were late to the party (even if it was a small party) haha

Nonsense. What would you propose - that they allow the server to be overloaded by a free- for-all? Yes, people are waiting and guess what they're going to do after their 5, 14, 48 hour waits for BBM? They're going to use it!

As for people moving on, as feared by others, that's what they should do - sign up and move on with their lives until they receive the confirmation. No one suggested that people should stare at their device until the email comes through. This is an app - not a kidney or heart, awaiting transplant. Some people need to get a grip.

You are dead wrong because people won't wait in line for something that is undesirable. Do you wait in line for things that you don't want?

Are you actually standing in some kind of REAL line? Because if you do, you're doing it wrong.

Totally agreed on the waiting list. It seems iOS and Android users have forgotten the basic rule of queuing up.... Anyway, I have been telling people, chill and wait and get a kitkat in the mean time.... X)

The electronic waiting list is a great idea. Besides it beats waiting in a line for days (outdoors) to buy the latest trinket from that other company.

I like this post. Ppl are funny! The bottom line is, if you don't like it, don't download it and move on with trying to have a good day! That simple. Now I'm off to chat on my NATIVE BBM! WhOot WhOot

Posted via CB10

I think it' s fabulous that so many people that slate BlackBerry are now having to moan about queuing for something that according to their choice of phone, they don't need. These are the same people that have a 'right' to get things from BlackBerry quickly even though they don't like BlackBerry. Weird.

I posted about the release on both inferior OS's and warned friends that they would most likely have to wait in a queue. Installed BBM on my OH's phone as she already has a BB ID and it's working perfectly.

The queue is to ensure a smooth roll out. It's not a marketing ploy. BlackBerry aren't clever enough at basic advertising to be sneaky.

Posted via CB10 from my Z10

Im glad BBM is finally here rolling out to the masses! Great tool from a great company. I too wasn't pleased about having to wait for bbm however it makes sense. BBM works based on a PIN, not unique email address so these PINS need to be generated and given out one at a time to users otherwise could be duplication or other issues. Making sure that the platform can support the huge demand in such a short time is also the precaution BB has to take... I'll wait to get it for my android as I already have it on my Z10.

I think that it is great that they are doing this. Apple has done this type of thing for years. Perhaps they should say that BBM is temporarily out of stock or hard to manufacturer.....people really are that stupid.

Posted via CB10

I understand the concept of being a fan of a device(s) and the company that produces them, but reading some of the articles here (along with this one) I am convinced that Blackberry management could give away their corporate headquarters to a cult, change all devices to come in only hot pink, and launch a media campaign fully centered around convincing the public that their devices are better than beet farming, and you guys would write articles explaining that the moves are strategic and the rest of us just don't understand.

Well telling people yesterday to get it, and them finding out how long it's taking, made them mad and they uninstalled.

Posted via CB10 using my flick-ity keyboard :D.

BBM is no doubt the absolute best instant messaging platform in the game. However,i think they need to consider a few things to whoa the new comers. Something they need to change is the max content that can be shared via video or music. 6mb is hardly enough to send anything yet whatsapp allows up to 16mb I believe. A lot of whatsapp users will no doubt complain about the limited content which can be shared in bbm. That needs to be fixed promptly.

BlackBerry 4Life

Hmm..... I don't care about the psychological scheme behind the waiting list. if I don't get it in next 12 hours, I will just go back to line, or other Android I. I really think BlackBerry might be playing with fire with the waiting list thing. It's year 2013, not back in the 80s, when BBM is amazingly, godly cool. There are plenty alternatives today, not as good as BBM but get most of job done, for most of us.

Posted via CB10

...And still there is this demand, among those who use the plentiful alternatives after a one month delay - thus creating the need for a wait-list. I suspect that if you wait another 72 hours, you will still end up using BBM.

Iphone buyers wait in line, litterally sleeping the night out in front of the store: cool
Bb makes you wait 5h for an email: loosers

Double standars? Oh yeah please respond to my post: "bb have failed too much and need to prove that they can...." Neeeeeext!!!

Agreed LMAO as if they are making a limited amount of iPhones. Sounds like very immature people to me with no lives what so ever. Sorry if you sleep on the street for a device that is made in the millions you really need to get a hobby or job for that matter.

More pablum from a guy who used to be smart. Yes a queue is a great marking tool when the news cameras are out interviewing people in line. A hidden queue waiting for an email that you're not confident will ever arrive shows incompetence.

Yes there is a technical reason. I suspect it's not the BBM servers but more likely BBID processing that can't handle being bombarded.

Wow, I can't argue with this logic.  I mean of course.  Every other app that every launched with a lineup had cameras filming it, as did every nightclub line, and every pre-order list.  And certainly nobody is talking about the wait on Twitter or anywhere else public.  If any of those things weren't true then I'd be right.  But, obviously I'm not.

Your thesis seems to be that companies like to make their customers wait for some nebulous and highly doubtful marketing value. The only time it has marketing value is when the public can see people inconveniencing themselves because this product is so awesome. No one can see my son waiting over 24 hours for an email so he can use an app that he is only using because I asked him to. That is not marketing, that is moronic. By the way, we used the app-kill workaround because the email is still not delivered.


No one can see the hype of the waiting line; people just get frustrated by themselves after downloading an app.

Also, BBRY has been criticized for delays and making people wait, and wait, and wait... To do the thing that frustrates people and call it "smart" marketing is just a blogger trying to find a positive spin on something.

Bottom line: the waiting list is for technical reasons and if BBRY could launch the app without the waiting list, they would do it.

Get over yourself, Chris.

Thinking that a waiting list is the reason behind the success of an app is old guard RIM thinking.

And if people fail to see the smartness of BlackBerry's strategy, I think in some aspect BlackBerry is falling short.

Posted via CB10

I think they should also make it so that existing BBM users can send special invites to their friends on Android and iPhone - and they get to skip the line.

Well, BBM lost one potential user when my son got sick of waiting to use the app. He signed up last night at 8pm and finally at 11am this morning he gave up and deleted the app. That is only a one person stat. However, given BlackBerry's track record and the assumption of incompetence by the public (at least here in the USA), and that the general public does not understand a waiting list when it comes to downloading and using an app (heck, neither do I, and I am a BlackBerry afficianado), I think someone is smoking something to make it a positive thing. It creates pent up frustration and a why bother attitude since there are already well-known alternatives that can be used that do not have a waiting line. IT says, "We think BBM is special. However, recognizing that most users on other platforms have no idea how incredible BBM will be, we want you to wait around to use it. We don't want you to experince it, yet. Just ignore Whatsapp and those other messenger apps that you can download and use immediately."

Sorry, but this is one time that I completely disagree with Chris. It doesn't create buzz, just "what the???" Especially when you consider that I recommend the app to others only to have BBM False Release. I recommend one more time only to have a successful download, but you have to wait hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours to use it. One word opinion, "Dumb".

"They also have engineering justification since no new app wants to be overwhelmed by demand such that the service is crushed.  We don’t want BBM crashing on us, do we?"

Why is there an article on CB then that explains how to get around the waiting list process which BlackBerry stated was implemented to not let the registration servers crash again?

BlackBerry spent a month and all they could come up with is a holding pin to put prospective clients into while they marvel at the stupidity of it. There should be some firing over this fiasco.

BlackBerry couldn't contact AWS ( and say "we need 100 servers for 2 weeks with a load balancing front end"? Imagine how impressive it would have been to technical and business people to see them handle 1 or 2 million signups an hour for 20 hours without a hiccup. Instead we imagine a bunch of engineers, managers and administrators sitting in a room bored out of their mind pressing the spacebar a few million times.

Agreed!! I wait months for a software update in the US and personally its not a big deal as long as I know its coming that's all that matters. It blows my mind how people look to complain about anything to do with BlackBerry. But you don't hear a word from them when they softly drop their iPhone once on a soft carpet and the screen completely cracks. I guess they don't know or have been taught how to have patience. I didn't realize you would die if you have to wait to download BBM LMAO.

The problem is not those who know and love BBM. The problem is for those who have no idea about BBM. Waiting is dumb. It turns potential users off. People are not going to die if they have to wait for BBM, they will just delete the download and never activate it because there are plenty of alternatives on the market already. Whether those alternatives are as good as BBM is open to discussion, but those who have never used it will never find out. They have already dumped it. Waiting just pushes people away.

I've got some friends asking me why & I just told them that they are probably expecting approximately 40-50 million download & new activation within the next couple days so this is necessary & all of them accept this explanation.

Posted via CB10

If it was not for me bugging my girlfriend she would not have even got in line. It will drive people away for sure. Hope in the future they drop it.

Posted via CB10

Yes, I read an article bashing bbm and how they could botch the release with waiting lists etc, the usual. Final paragraph was I am now waiting in line LOL

Posted via CB10

Its amaazing. I used grade 1 logic I learned 30 years ago to figure this out and explain it to many morons yesterday.

I always get kicked out of the app and get asked to enter my email over and over again. Then says I am in the waiting line again........

Very frustrating. I am an old BB user and want this app, but I am sorry to say that it may get deleted and never be installed again if it keeps asking me for my email all the time.......

Create your ID first on their website, then you don't have to do it via the app. Click signin instead of create ID. May help to avoid being kicked out during ID creation.

Sounds like the Obama excuse for their forked up Obama Care Website. Sorry but have to agree that it's passing more people off than creating a "buzz". Don't make promises you can't keep.

Posted via CB10

Brilliant strategic move that resulted from a botched launch. Kudos to BlackBerry.
Oh, by the way, the Z30 is a beautiful productivity beast!!!!

I downloaded it for my father, because mom and I both have BB's and read receipts are necessary with him. I had to force close it several times, got a few errors messages and even restarted his phone but it let me through. Now he's still not reading our messages but at least now we know :)

Posted via CB10

I think BB will have a big problem, I think it already started badly at first, and did not take the curiosity of some who have never had BB.

1 - Big mistake not to post immediately available, voice calls, to differentiate right from the start of whatsapp.

2 - The operation of the PIN will not work, because those who never had BB, will not take the trouble to walk pass the BBM PIN. They should already have put the service through the SIM number, as competitors do, will quickly find contacts who already use the app.

I hope I'm wrong, I wish all the luck to BB.

(Note: in the app store of Portugal, the BBM is now the first General and social networks. :) )

A short wait is smart. A long wait generates frustration and creates the perception of lack of quality or planning. It is a delicate line which BlackBerry may be over stepping at this point.

Posted via CB10

Yes, I agree. Too long = people get pissed off and leave. Short = people slightly annoyed, but much more anxious and interested. That trumps annoyance.

The question now is: How short is a short wait, and how long is a long wait? It's different for everyone.

In this day and age, and considering apps can be used immediately once downloaded/installed, a short wait for someone could mean 30-60 seconds. For someone else it could mean 5-10 minutes. And for you guys, it seems several hours is still short enough...

But then it brings up a second question: why should the user have to wait in the first place?

I don't buy it. I think it is a stupid move. They messed up in the initial launch and could not afford another one. They should work harder to get the job done and make sure it is delivered in time and working.

Posted via CB10

Oh sure. I wasn't pissed but I deleted the app immediately. You're only creating more frustration.

Posted via CB10

Regardless of the bitching, you will still wait, bbm is not just another messaging app, it's THE messaging app, almost everyone out there who got their first smartphone used bbm, that's a fact, and when they migrated away from bb, they always still had a desire, if not a need for bbm.

People will wait, and bbm will take over like it once did, and all the complainers will be waiting at the edge of their chairs, they will be waking up in the middle of the night to see if they got that much anticipated email.

I think the line up was a good idea, just like when you go to a popular club, you bitch about the line, but once your in you love it, and you keep going back. Or for you iOS lovers it's like every time a new iPhone comes out, you bitch about the wait but you still wait in line for it! If anything, iOS users should be used to line ups, and that's meant as a compliment! So stop your bitching and wait like a normal human being for your turn!

Posted via CB10

So on my way to work today I listened to quite popular radio station in BC - CFox FM (Fox Rocks) where they talked about BBM coming out to different platforms and the guy said that he was eager to try it on his Android and when he was asked to enter his email (to get on the wait list) he did not do it - because BB is going down and the only reason they are asking for your emails is "to sell it when they are bought by somebody else".
He said that on the air - I hope they will receive thousands of emails & txts telling them how stupid it was !!!

This would be a lot more effective if iOS/Android bbm was launching with all of the bb10 features. "I'm on a waiting list for this app to do what???.... chat with friends....something I already have the option of doing with several other apps!" BlackBerry has had more than enough time to launch a full bbm app for cross platform. There's no excuse as far as I'm concerned.

Posted via CB10

We are still waiting for my wife and best friend to get to the front of the line for BBM for iOS after almost 12 hours now.. need to be a little bit more efficient!..

This author is only partially right. Perhaps many people on here are too young to remember the birth of Gmail, but they had a smarter strategy. Early adopters were given a limited number of invitations to share with friends and family. They then became spokespeople for Google, and this became a genuine commodity that had people asking around and trying to get that invitation. Eventually there were so many floating around that this no longer meant anything, but it sure as hell did in the beginning.

BlackBerry should have done both. First, it would have been an excellent promotional tool. Second, it would have given a small perk to their existing customers (who they persist in overlooking). They could easily have coupled this with their "waiting list" to maximize the vantage in a two-fold strategy that engaged current users.

Tack it up to yet another lost opportunity by the buffoons at BlackBerry who are even worse than the government at actually consulting their stakeholders (aka the few remaining users).

Q10 user

can any one help me, i install the app but when i enter my email they tell me ( we're holding your spot in line) and nothing happen please help me i don't know what to do and i really want this app

I would definitely use have used the BBM launch event to promote the OS 10 devices. Somehow BlackBerry should have included some promotion banners at sign-up :)
That would have increased awareness of BlackBerry products/services.
BlackBerry has a poor marketing team but maybe this is just my opinion :)

Posted via CB10

"Waiting List" is only smart if (and only if), it is worthy enough to wait...

If is not "worthy", this "Waiting List" will be another backfire...

Posted via Z10

The waitlist is killing BBM. It's not good in converting ppl who never used BBM before. They r deleting the apps before they get the confirmation.

When BBM came out yesterday for iPhone/Android my best friend mocked my Facebook post inviting people to download.
Two hours later he told me that he installed it, but wants to uninstall because he can't disable the app.
Two hours after that he sent me a BBM invite and hasn't used text messaging since.
BBM is going to take over via social pressure alone!

Please, we're talking about waiting for an email; no one is going to be inconvenienced by this. If they want to try BBM for free, it is not a big deal. Not like the health insurance market place in the USA, that keeps crashing due to overload. Maybe BlackBerry can help Uncle Sam? ;-)

Posted via CB10

Chris, I love your articles, and generally agree with everything you say, but I reeeealy doubt that this form of psychological marketing has anything to do with the reasons it was done this way. If it works to our advantage, then great, but let's not give credit where it's not due. As a wise man once said "I may be wrong, but I doubt it." :P

Posted via CB10

You may notice, upon re-reading, that I never actually wrote that they made this decision on purpose because of social psychology.  It is a smart move, regardless of their reasons for making the move.

You could say there is a correlation to the million+ downloads and the fact that the app had a waiting list, but that would just be a correlation, not causation.

If it hasn't been said before... The email address you pre-registered for the alert with can be used on more than one device to get past the first screen which will bring up the login screen. Not sure as to how limited it is but it has worked for at least 5 devices so far.

As said by one of the majority who don't understand social psychology :) The good news it is totally irrelevant if people (the masses) understand it. We don't need to understand gravity to experience it. Works anyway.

Chris, if you really understand social psychology, then you would see that this is not a situation that those particular principles actually help. In a vacuum, yes they apply; in this situation, no.

Every company does this. Sony with it's PS4 limiting pre-orders to make people go out and pre-order their console. 200 per store.

Posted via CB10

The weird availability of the Z30 made me run around until I found one. So, I was a perfect example of how this works. LoL, I feel some used. Wait, no I don't. I'm stoked I have a Z30.

Posted via CB10

Ah yes, another rationalisation of a poor implementation. I would say, they've gone too far with their "hunger marketing" with a month delay and waiting list. The guests simply got too hungry and leaving to get their fill.

Posted via CB10

So I am confused. You say the waiting list is smart but yet in an earlier thread you shared how to bypass the wait list for bbm. *Scratches Head*. Am I missing something?

IROC-Z10 But Mostly She Rocks Me!

Yes, you're only missing something minor ... like the whole concept that when people are forced to wait they look for new paths in, and this increases the buzz.

(Oh, and the totally irrelevant fact that I didn't write the lineup skipping post)

"People love to complain. And only because BlackBerry has been on the butt end of many jokes lately, people are going to furthermore assume that BlackBerry is stupid for creating a waiting list. Those same people will generally be waiting in line."

Awesome line Chris. Great post. Insightful and nice humorous and accurate jab at the end.

I'm waiting in line but not complaining. I don't see how multi-platform BBM doesn't create a huge market perception shift.

Obviously this line-waiting has always been a massive part of apple marketing. So BB should do the same as the company that the masses seem to adore.

Got to love the entitlement for a free app that people have like its an inalienable rights to have this app from a company who has been announced continually proclaimed to be dead for years now. Lighten/smarten up people. Again, great post.