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Get your social network on with Spyder

David Chartier

Spyder is an interesting concept: an app that leverages the APIs of allows you interact with and manage social networks from within the power of the Mac OS X environment. If you're a chronic social networker, Spyder might (eventually) allow you to speed up your obsessive profile checks so you have a better chance at getting outside for once. The reason I say 'eventually,' however, is because Spyder isn't without its shortcomings.

First and foremost is the fact that the language at Spyder's site makes it sound like it will (eventually) work with more than one network, but for now, it only shakes hands with MySpace. While it allows users to manage more than one account (for example: if you run a band or an org in addition to a personal account), it doesn't let you do much more than browse friends and their friends, send messages and leave comments. No blogging, no iPhoto integration for picture posting, no vlogging, etc. While these missing features (hopefully) might arrive in a future version, there is still the glaring problem of price: Spyder is $40. Now I'm not really a fan of MySpace (though yes, I succumbed to peer pressure and opened an account in the hopes of silencing my friends), but $40 sounds way, way too high of a price for the minimal convenience it offers above going directly to the site itself. I could see $10, maybe $15, but $20 and above for Spyder - in its current state of minimal, MySpace-only features - is just too much to ask. I think the developer would get a lot more attention if he/she offered the app at a discounted price during its present feature-maturing state, while simultaneously promoting what features are coming, and how the price will increase through development (commercialism 101: people love a sale, and they love to know what they can get for their money in the near future). I've seen other developers have success with this open promotion and development method, and Spyder could really capitalize on this due to the relative cornering of its particular market; I've never seen another (potentially) full-fledged social networking app like this.

Long story short: Spyder is a great idea and it has a lot of potential, but I can easily see its price knocking it off many potential customers' wishlists. It will be interesting to see how Spyder evolves in the future.

[Update: readers have noted in the comments that MySpace, for some mind-boggling reason, doesn't have an API, while others like Facebook, Flickr and Upcoming do, making it much easier for 3rd parties to make apps like this. My gut reaction as to why Spyder stuck with MySpace for its launch is probably because of its massive popularity.]

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