15 Comments

Summary:

Call me a sucker for cool networking tools, but I love Bump. The company’s audacious goal – to bridge the physical and digital world – made sense to me and investors. Since launch, apparently 77 million have downloaded the Bump app, but no one appears to be using it.

bump_main_screen_with_phone_copy-scaled1000

bump_main_screen_with_phone_copy-scaled1000-e1294707745219.pngCall me a sucker for cool networking tools, but I love Bump and wrote about the Mountain View, Calif.-based back in August 2010. The company’s audacious goal – to bridge the physical and digital world – made a lot of sense to me. Investors, too, liked the company and have pumped in over $20 million into the company.

Since then, apparently 77 million have downloaded the Bump app and 12 million have used it in past 30 days.

bump2.png

Except I don’t know anyone who either has the app or uses it. I happen to meet a lot of people, and I often ask them to Bump their contact details to me, but most give me a vacant look they normally reserve for a person with limited grip of their faculties. Once when I asked a girl to Bump me her contact info, she left for the ladies room and never came back.

I still don’t get why more people don’t use Bump. It makes sharing contacts so easy. It must be the feature creep — they added a lot of features like sharing music, calendar and other apps, none of which made sense. Hopefully the new focus to go back to its roots — photos and contacts will help them win back attention.

By the way, any theories you have why Bump?

Update: Bump co-founder and CEO David Lieb writes in an email:

Bump frankly isn’t solving a big problem for the Silicon Valley tech crowd.  We all have large online presences and can easily connect via many other means.  For sharing photos, we all have Dropbox accounts and are comfortable posting most photos to Facebook.  But for normal people (12 million of them in just the last 30 days), Bump makes these interactions really accessible and simple. [attached a photo of our Bump Map from our lobby this morning].
For example, a woman from Tennessee that we recently spoke with told us this story:  She recently had a baby, and she uses Bump to give photos of the baby from the last week to her parents when she and her family have Sunday night dinners together.  She uses Bump b/c it lets her tell a story about the photos in person, rather than just sending an email or posting to FB.  It’s somewhat akin to sharing double prints bak when we had photos printed.
We’re also working on some things that we think will resonate with the tech crowd as well as the non-tech crowd; would love to show them to you when we’re a bit closer to launching those.

Related research

Subscriber Content
?
Subscriber content comes from Gigaom Research, bridging the gap between breaking news and long-tail research. Visit any of our reports to learn more and subscribe.
  1. Marshall Kirkpatrick Thursday, February 16, 2012

    I haven’t bumped with anyone in years. I think it’s just too much trouble to find, launch and use the app, vs pulling out the tried and true paper business card. I recently started using LinkedIn-acquired Cardmunch to scan and ingest paper cards and that has made me life much happier. I think that fits into the collective workflow better.

    Share
  2. I don’t bump, I think I never did. Bumping is like QR-codes. It feels like the action to reconcile the object is one-step too far in terms of the cognitive association, and often, requires a specific app (i.e. code scanner NOT built-into the Camera app, and Bump NOT built-in to the default Address book). Small barriers to entry, but high enough to actually prevent recurring usage.

    Share
  3. I agree with the other commenters. Bump sounds like a good idea, but in practice it’s too much hassle. The last time I tried to use it (I think this goes back to April 2010), it didn’t actually work properly. Something like this needs to be not only quick and easy, but also reliable.

    Share
    1. It’s still a numbers game. 12 million users in the past 30 days in the social world is pretty much nothing, especially in a country of 350 million. On a day you meet 100 people, four may have the application. The problem with that is most people interact with an average of 7 people a day, according to several studies I’ve read, so you could go two weeks before coming across a person who actually uses the app.

      Share
  4. Gianfranco Chicco Thursday, February 16, 2012

    I’m another frustrated Bumper. Guess I only used it twice effectively and because the other person -a geek- downloaded it after I told him how awesome it was. This was back in 2010. As others have mentioned, the process to activate and effectively bump is not a natural action and suffers of cross-platform issues (not everyone has a data-enabled smartphone, etc) as opposed to reaching out for a paper biz card.

    Share
  5. Marshall, I don’t know. Last night at Cloud Connect parties I was reminded how awkward people juggling drinks, food, wallets, and other peoples’ business cards spilling out of their pockets is, only to later cardmunch them and bin them.

    I wonder if psychology isn’t a big factor, where holding and loading an iPhone app crosses from professional to personal.

    Do any of these apps have broadcast modes? Broadcast, request, confirm -> stop with the cards and focus on the conversations and party.

    Share
  6. Bump probably includes in its count of 77 million users each of the names it acquired when took the Address Books of each of the few million who have actually used it. Oh wait, that’s what Path does.

    Share
  7. I’ve never yet met another Bump user.

    Share
  8. I stopped using bump after I ‘bumped’ a girl at a party and she dropped her phone in her drink…

    Share
  9. mike mostransky Thursday, February 16, 2012

    I like the Bump app and the fact that it can immediately send a LinkedIn invite to the other person. I agree with Marshall though, it’s no different than a QR code reader. So gee, lets see if there is a native app / control built into the next stream of devices that allows you to merely press and bump rather than unlock, flip, flip, tap, bump. Granted its only us networking geeks that find value in an app like this, more pertinent updates will happen first. Like opening up OS6! I want to say “Siri, open Pandora” and not be given the opening share price for $P, because it only reminds me of how much I lost on that purchase :P

    Share
  10. Actually the only way Bump could be really useful? As a core feature of an OS. It only makes sense if you don t have to “think” bump first, then sharing. But the opposite. Sharing first then bump if the opportunity makes sense.

    Share
    1. exactly what Palm had at the time. Beaming up address book data via IR. 100x more efficient – was using it all the time then.

      Share

Comments have been disabled for this post