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CrowdZone Helps Fans Connect From Anywhere

From the App Store: CrowdZone is the best way to cheer for your favorite teams, win points, trophies & prizes while connecting with friends and other fans in stadiums or watching at home from all around the world. 3 out of 5 Stars (592 Ratings) as of May 13.

CrowdZone is a sports-themed social platform that allows fans to check in to, and talk with other fans about, games they care about (from anywhere they have cell phone service). In return, users receive points, trophies, and sometimes real-life prizes! There is a location-based feel to this platform (think Hot Potato but exclusively for sports), even though you don’t have to be in any particular location in order to “check-in.”

It’s not easy to write a review for CrowdZone. Keep in mind, the app just launched about two months ago and is only in version 1.5.1. There are a lot of great aspects to the app, as well as some clear issues. I just don’t know what CrowdZone’s developers are focusing on in terms of improvements. That being said, I hope this review will help.

Features (A)

Some of the main features of CrowdZone: scores, game times, and game updates; check-in & cheer for your favorite teams; view & post game photos and chatter; see who’s at the game (including friends); compete against opposing fans & win trophies; win tickets & prizes from your favorite teams. For what CrowdZone is trying to accomplish, I think their features list is on point.

Design (C)

Keep in mind that design is definitely subjective to an extent. With that said, I’m not very impressed with the app’s design. The CrowdZone logo is nice, and the color scheme is fine, but my biggest issue is that I think there is not enough attention paid to font choices.

Now, I might be a little unfair in my critique of CrowdZone’s design, because all I can’t get past comparing it to Gowalla, which is an unbelievably beautiful application. I’m not feeling a lot of creativity, and I get the sense that design wasn’t too big a concern for the app’s developers. The application just isn’t pretty.

Usability (B+)

CrowdZone is easy to use. The sign-up process is very simple, and there aren’t too many fields to fill in. The application is also easy to navigate. I had no trouble figuring out where to go, or what to do when I got there.

The application is a little buggy in some aspects. There are slow loading times (possibly due to AT&T) and the app crashed once or twice on me. Also, the application just isn’t entirely intuitive based on the iPhone’s capabilities. For example, the user can’t scroll left and right between pages by using the finger swipe motion. Instead, you must hit the arrows on the screen. Keep in mind, these are very picky critiques and the application is very new, so the developers are probably working on a number of these issues as we speak.

Stickiness (B)

Could I see myself using CrowdZone tomorrow? Yes. Two weeks down the line? Maybe. The thing about CrowdZone is that a lot of its attractiveness relies on an active user base. And right now, CrowdZone is lacking too much of a crowd. For example, only 21 fans checked in to Game 2 of the Celtics – Magic Eastern Conference Finals. And, of those 21 check-ins, only one of them had a double digit point total, meaning the crowd isn’t very active yet. If the user base were bigger or more active, I would definitely feel more passionate about coming back.

Overall (B… for now)

Note: The app store rating is a 3 out of 5, which to me, signifies a “C.”

I think CrowdZone has a very nice product with excellent potential. The features are on point and the application is easy to use, which is really what’s important. The design can improve, and I would suggest the developers work on that aspect. Finally, the little kinks and bugs need to be fixed, but that’s a given with any product in an early stage!

My biggest concern and curiosity would be how CrowdZone is going to attract a vibrant community. With so many products and platforms that do, or could do, similar things (Hot Potato, ESPN’s new Foursquare-like app, and even Gowalla and Foursquare themselves), CrowdZone has a lot of competition. The major difference would be that this app is sports-themed, which is significant.

CrowdZone has received some nice press, including an article in TechCrunch, and was a Top 10 Sports app only a few days after its launch. If CrowdZone can really attack sports fans, and more importantly, form strong partnerships with legitimate brands and organizations, the application has a great chance to succeed.

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