le tour crashes for sbs

I love SBS, Australia’s second ‘public’ broadcaster. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the World Cup, and am now settling into enjoy the Tour de France.
During the World Cup, I’ve found the free ESPN Soccernet 2010 iPhone App just brilliant. It does what you need, scores, reviews, stats… an exceptional example of a sport app. So when the Tour de France rolled around, I thought there’d be some great free app that I could use to keep track of the big event…

I have to admit, I was a little surprised to find hardly anything, however, the only app that looked promising came from our own SBS – they do such a great job of the TV coverage and website, that I thought the app was bound to be good too. There was a free one to try and a paid version if you feel the need for extra features… at least that’s the way these things usually work, isn’t it?

The disappointment starts…

The free app seems to be nothing more than a ‘rich’ ad. I can’t get anything useful out of it. Every screen is dominated by a huge ad, which doesn’t matter that much given that the app doesn’t do anything anyway! This is wrong, I don’t pay for many apps, but free apps aren’t supposed to be useless, they can provide a cut down experience, but they’ve still gotta work!

OK, so maybe the paid app is better. Ouch!! $5.99! it’s going to have to be a LOT better, might read the reviews first… Uh Oh, those are not positive reviews. Seems like SBS have a problem on their hands. I have never seen such a low rating on a ‘serious’ app before, so far they have 1 positive rating out of 51. Stay away from this app! To be fair, SBS is not the developer, it’s some dodgy crowd called Participant Sports who seem to have no website – both the developer and support link lead to some facebook page that I can’t even load. How can Apple let something like this go by?

I’ve just been on a team that developed an iPhone app, so I have some insight into just how complicated it can be – not the app itself, but the whole back end supply of feeds and resources. So, I’m not going to harshly judge, but they are going to need to pull a massive rabbit out of the hat to get the whole thing working and save face. It’s a disaster!

I’m thinking the rabbit might need to look like: a refund to all paid users, a real fix for the app, drop the paid app and release the full app for free, and all of this in no more than two days. Not asking too much really 😉