I currently flip flop between TrillianAstra and Digsby as my Instant Messenger of choice. Trillian is a beautiful looking application, but some of the interaction design is lacking that I find really smooth in Digsby. The little widget on the right of my blog is ingenious and one of the reasons I usually go with Digsby.
I just read a blog post by Digsby explaining their revenue models and their thinking. It’s open and honest and authentic. I love it. It makes me want to switch to Digsby full time. The values expressed there are genuine and lovable. They want to make a little money. So they describe the different creative ways they have devised to do so.
One way is using the IM client similar to the SETI@Home project from Cal Berkeley. Or the Folding protiens project from Stanford. Neither one found the cure of cancer or aliens, but it felt nice contributing towards the great good. (Stanford has some tangible results) When my computer is Idle, Digsby uses my CPU to do research. I don’t know the kind of research, but I will assume that it’s helping build better solar panels. (Why not?)
Lots of software companies can take a UX lesson from Digsby. Make a great product. Be innovative with features. Be creative with revenue. Encourage dialog and communication. These are certainly ingredients in Success Soup. If you use instant messenger and facebook or twitter, you should give it a try.
UPDATE: Clearly, there was a bruhaha over at slashdot. This must have spurred the blog post. Still, I side with Digsby on this. It’s an innovative product and they are being up front about it. The author on Slashdot is a whiner. Trillian is trying to get people to pay money for the client. I think that is a rough road to travel. The cost of software is decreasing rapidly. Find new revenue models or you may be stuck.