Last week Blogwerx Sentinel debuted at DEMO and opened its site up to the public for the first time. Though the launch created some initial positive buzz, including a very positive article by Robert Scoble, it was quickly tempered by a series of problems reported by other bloggers as they attempted to sign up for the service.
One blogger was worried about Blogwerx’s handling of passwords and bulk email. Another was concerned that Blogwerx would not actually be able to help stop spam bloggers. However, most were concerned with how incomplete the interface was, including being riddled with broken links and other problems that prevent the site from working .
While these are not uncommon problems for sites in beta, when Blogwerx announced their launch date they claimed to be releasing a completed product. That was clearly not the case.
Blogwerx has responded to these problems in their blog, saying that they didn’t have time to complete “some of the bells and whistle” and that it was a “hard question” as to whether or not they were where they wanted to be.
They also said that the registration is for the free version and that there is a two-week turnaround before you will receive an email to return and look at the results.
These are definitely fumbles and mistakes and are somewhat worrisome. However, Blogwerx does appear to be trying to turn things around. They have hired a new developer and have deployed a bug tracker to help deal with any problems.
More interesting, however, is that there still appears to be a great deal of positive buzz around the product, or at least the idea behind it. Clearly there is a great deal of interest in Sentinel, perhaps even more than previously thought.
What remains to be seen is whether or not Blogwerx will be able to overcome these initial mistakes and produce a useful, powerful and effective product that bloggers want to use for a long time to come.
If it can do that, it has a chance at becoming a very successful product that countless bloggers rely on. If not, there is competition and it may very well eat them alive.
It is going to be very interesting to see what happens next.