Mobile App Notifications Are Horrible. Is There a Better Way?

“Install app. Permit app notifications to see how useful. Two days later turn off app notifications #EveryDamnAppTheseDays

This evening tweet seemed to resonate with folks who are also fed up with the state of app notifications. Steven Sinofsky, ex of MSFT & now a16z Board Partner, suggested “Folks seem to be over using notifications/defaulting to sorta noisy. Maybe defaults for platform should impose limits per app?” I’m not sure a hard limit makes sense given the diversity of use cases, so replied “two hopes. 1) smarter personalized notifications via urban airship type tools 2) disable notifications = neg app store ranking signal.” Josh Elman, who has plenty of experience from his Facebook, Twitter and now VC days, also shared that “we experimented with this at Facebook but it just became a brtual game where apps pushed the max available.”

Now I don’t fully blame app developers for the current state. They’re using one of the only blunt instruments they have to drive repeat usage and engagement. The platform owners – especially Apple – don’t give them much to work with in terms of analytics or other feedback loops. Urban Airship seems to be doing some interesting work in this general area, but I don’t know if many other startups exploring mobile app notification frameworks. Do you?

If you’re working on this area, it’s one I’d like to pursue via our Homebrew seed fund, so feel free to reach out via Hunter [at] Homebrew dot co. Let’s build something and then I’m sure Steven and Josh will give us a $25m A round…. 🙂