@gopro If I would have known the GoPro3 was such an incredible piece of shit, I never would have bought it.
— Cal Calkins (@cal_calkins) January 20, 2013
It seems that GoPro, as a company, is having some troubles these days. Especially after launching the HD Hero 3 camera.
Now, depending on time you read this, those problems may have been solved, but for now (January 2013) this is real. So, consider this a very timely article which may be less relevant (hopefully) in the future.
Have a look at the embedded tweets below or follow these Twitter topics and see what people are saying:
#GoPRo - What? Still no answer from #GoProsupport @gopro shame you! Your support SUCKS!
— Mick C. Marrero (@mcmfoto) January 15, 2013
#GoProthis has been the most expensive paper weight i have bought! I'm praying Amazon will give me a full refund #GoProsupportsucks!
— Mick C. Marrero (@mcmfoto) January 17, 2013
So what's the deal? Why does GoPro suck?
Just consider that Foxconn (Apple products manufacturer) has bought a 9% stake in GoPro for $200 million, which valuates GoPro at $2.25 billion. The Taiwanese electronics manufacturer makes the hottest gadgets on the market today, including the iPad, Amazon's Kindle, Sony's PlayStation and Wii U.
This makes Nick Woodman, GoPro founder, a billionaire.
GoPro was also initially backed by two venture funds which allowed it to grow fast. This means there are a bunch of investors who pour cash into the company to fuel its growth.
Unlike a founder who is somewhat emotionally attached to his company and wants his baby to grow beautifully, investors wanna get their money back as fast as possible. So once they have the product out on the market, most of the money goes into advertising.
The idea is simple: spending money on advertising is a way of buying revenue. If for each $1 they spend on ads they get $1.20 back, then the business philosophy is obvious: spend as much as you can on ads until the profit diminishes to zero - break even point. That's why you see those GoPro ads all over the internet and on TV.
Their focus moved from product and customer service to hard core selling. It may be good for the business in the short run but it's bad for the brand in the long run.
As much as I love GoPro, I think they're in a bad position right now. The reasons?
1. Pushing technology too far and too fast
The Hero 3 is smaller, shoots in 4k resolution, 120 fps in 720p, has WiFi, etc. A lot of features for such a tiny camera so it's expected to have some glitches.
Remember when Steve Jobs launched some iPhone which had everything except...a good GSM network signal? Awesome brand, awesome presentation but an embarrassing issue for a phone. Nevertheless people adopted the product and got over it.
Same here. We love GoPro cams so we still buy them. But consumers who are early adopters of technology will always take risks with such purchases.
By no means pushing technology is bad. It's awesome! It's what drives us forward today. You're reading this on an electronic device which is probably wirelessly connected to the internet - would you give that up?
2. Growing too fast as a company
Having a bunch of investors burning your ass to grow the company so they can possibly flip it to another technology giant or to bring it to an IPO means the focus changes: the company must serve its shareholders first and customers second.
A healthy company must be customer centered which GoPro is becoming less of.
It's basically a capital allocation issue. There's more effort and capital going into sales and less into product and customer service.
I would't worry though. I think they'll come around and do things right before killing their brand. They're too smart to screw this up.
@maystack WOULDbeGREAT! I bought Gopro 3.Website = pay more --> delivery max 2 days!Now they ignore me...no gopro on his way for me..
— Jurgen Staels (@jurgenstaels) January 15, 2013
#GoProHowTo fix the freeze problem og @gopro #HERO3 #blackedition ??
— tomas icaza (@ticaza) January 15, 2013
Okay, GoPro cams may have problems. But how bad can it be?
Pretty bad I may say.
Apart from the freeze problem, WiFi connectivity/lag issue, firmware update issue, smartphone app problems, short battery life, not recognizing the SD card, they even shipped out empty boxes...
I've seen quite a few people on Twitter complaining about this. Some bought it on Amazon, some directly from GoPro. Also notice the poor star rating and negative reviews for GoPro 3 on Amazon.
All these complaints are contrasting with the positive feedback that some lucky filmmakers post on Twitter, YouTube or on thier blogs. It seems you have to be lucky to not get a defective camera.
@gopro £360 for a top of the range GoPro Hero3 Black Edition and it's broken out of the box! Really??!! And... It's a common problem! #gopro
— Paul Gardiner (@GardinerP) January 15, 2013
bought a @gopro camera and loved it for 24 hours and then it started only filming for about 12 seconds! FIX THE PROBLEM. #gotmymoneyback
— Andrew Lane (@99Lane) January 14, 2013
Where to buy your GoPro HD Hero 3
Your best option is to buy it in a store so you can easily return it if it's faulty.
Buying it online is risky - you don't wanna get too angry with their poor customer service.
I'm gonna wait a while though. I hope they're working on solving all the hardware and software problems.
Over to you
Got a defective GoPro camera or know any people who have been disappointed with GoPro?
Drop a comment. Your experience is valuable for your fellow action sports filmmakers.
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