I’m a big fan of automations. Generally, they are “set it and forget,” and I don’t have to worry about them working. When they break, I spend a fraction of the time troubleshooting that I would performing the task manually. A great, easy automation for anyone is post new content to Twitter. And while there are a TON of WordPress plugins for this, I thought the simplest solution would be an IFTTT1 integration. But when something didn’t work, they decided they’d rather use the opportunity to advertise themselves instead of serve the customer.
The Problem was Broken Images
Perhaps this is a problem for me more often than others, but I can never get images from my WordPress site’s RSS feed to show up in automations. It could be WordPress, or it could be the automation2.
With IFTTT, if the image doesn’t work, they decide to tell your Twitter followers with a totally unnecessary error message:
In order for this to happen they need to:
- Detect an image is not found
- Actively decide to replace it with one they made, which happens to have a link to their website on it.
This feels like a cheap ad for their service3. And there’s a MUCH better solution.
A Better Solution: Do Nothing.
So we know they are already detecting that there’s no image. What they should do is:
- Post no image and let Twitter turn the link into a smart card4. This would actually require less work that replacing the image.
If they want to go the “extra” mile, they can email the user, because they know the email address, to let them know something is broken.
That way, instead of putting their users on blast, they quietly resolve the problem and inform the user, who can make the fix.
Helped Customers are Happy Customers
I’ve honestly been paying for IFTTT because the intro price was cheap and I see value in the service. But I can just as easily do this with Zapier, which fails a lot more gracefully.
I’m not sure if this decision was made in bad faith…maybe IFTTT thought they were being helpful. But it certainly doesn’t feel that way, which means they didn’t properly think it through. Just like in many aspects, the simplest solution (simply having no image) is the best solution here5.
I don’t feel like I was helped – I feel like I was put on blast so IFTTT could get a little more traffic to their website. And that’s not a great feeling.