Will Tokbox survive?September 8, 2008 at 11:17 | Posted in Tech | 5 Comments
Tags: chat, message, new, tokbox, video, voice
I fear that Tokbox.com,a recent start-up, may be heading in the wrong direction in a effort to attract users. I signed up for tokbox because it offered a way for people to leave me voice and video messages and feedback without having to install software or be technically advanced. (They will need a recent version of Flash but almost everyone has that.)
Tokbox recently added a new feature allowing users to make “public posts”. Sadly the level of intelligence on these “public posts” is not inspiring and in several cases points to the fact that Tokbox is suffering the same fate that many “Video chat” services fall into, which is devolving into a place where bored, horny men with little to do harass female users in their misguided attempts to find a playmate. Examples of female users complaining about this can be seen here , here and here.
Tokbox has started adding privacy features but at the time of this post the “Blocklist” feature is not working.
Another problem with Tokbox.com that I have pointed out to them in the past, is that they insist on using LSO’s (“Flash cookies“) to record a persons log-in state. This is a nightmare from a security standpoint, especially since the LSO’s do not seem to expire. I can come back 18 hours later, go to the tokbox.com site and still be logged in. This means anyone using tokbox from a public computer MUST, without fail, remember to log out or whoever uses that computer to go to tokbox next will be logged in as them. (aside to the tokbox guys.. Really guys, at least move the state-fullness of the log-in session to a regular session cookie, then at least when the people using a public computer close the browser the cookie will vanish. That, or set a short (10 min) timeout on the thing.)
I honestly do hope that Tokbox is able to sort these growing pains out, and is able to prevent itself from sliding into becoming yet another lurid “video chat” service. The ability to have people leave me video or audio feedback in a quick and simple way is a great thing. Bloggers and Vloggers are bound to love it. But I certainly don’t want to be sending unsuspecting people to a place where they’ll be getting harassed.
In my opinion the “public posts” are a move in the wrong direction. I think that Tokbox should move away from the chat paradigm, and instead focus on becoming the best free voice/video mailbox service on the net. That way they would carve themselves out a nice little unoccupied niche and would most likely thrive. (I am not an MBA, so this is purely a personal perspective)
Here’s hoping that Tokbox can survive and grow into the great service that I (and I’m sure others) are hoping it will become.
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