At the BlackBerry Live 2013 event in Orlando, Florida, BlackBerry formally announced BBM Channels. The new feature allows BlackBerry Messenger users the ability to create their own channels, which act like a Tumblr page within BBM.
Since using the service for the N4BB channel we’ve seen an uptick in user engagement and article views. Despite the service only being in beta we’ve garnered thousands of subscribers.
Though, as previously mentioned, BBM Channels is still in beta. Therefore, it currently is a fairly simple service, to say the least. Here’s my top 5 features request for BBM Channels to be a success.
1.) Spam killing
Since it’s introduction, anyone and their grandma can create a BBM Channel. It’s a great open platform. However, most brands running a BBM Channel can agree there needs to be spam management.
While it’s likely impossible for there to be spam bots, as the service requires a legitimate BBID account in order to post a comment, it does not stop individuals from making spamming comments.
For instance, we’ve seen countless amounts of users post their PINs for chatting, the PIN for their own channels, and other erroneous comments completely unrelated to the channel post.
Perhaps BlackBerry can introduce it’s own version of ‘Spam Assassin’ or ‘Akismet’ that allows comments to be thrown into a moderation queue based on certain strings found within the comment. If having no way to thwart spam will almost certainly be the downfall of the service.
2.) Multiple Admins
At the current time, whomever creates a BBM Channel is its sole administrator. I’m sure BlackBerry is actively working on allowing multiple admins for Channels. This is an essential feature for brands.
It shouldn’t be too hard to allow multiple admins in the same fashion that BBM Groups allows the creator to toggle additional admins to manage the group.
3.) BlackBerry Advertising Service
In our article detailing why BBM will be free for iOS and Android users we discussed service revenue from the feature. BlackBerry will likely have tiered versions of BBM Channels.
This means larger brands like Nike, etc can have a robust BBM Channel with advanced analytics and so forth. Though, how can these brands make an ROI?
Allow me to suggest BlackBerry integrate their BlackBerry Advertising Service into BBM Channels. If a brand is leveraging their content into BBM Channels they should be able to determine whether or not they want advertising on the channel. Like an app, they should be able to utilize the BlackBerry Advertising Service or be able to integrate some of the many 3rd party ad agencies like Google Adsense.
4.) Content Feeds
For channels of a news website, like N4BB, it would be a huge help to allow for RSS feed integration. We have many, many articles we’d love to get on the BBM Channel, but currently with one admin it makes it tough.
The easiest way for a brand to get their content publishing to their BBM Channel would be to allow the adding of RSS feeds. This would be in conjunction with the standard publishing option now available to allow for custom articles specifically for the BBM Channel.
5.) Article Sharing
Currently, when viewing an article on a BBM Channel, the only social interaction is to comment directly within the article. Eventually, BlackBerry plans to roll out a reactions and chat feature.
BlackBerry should also allow users to share the articles between other BBM users. This will indirectly help individuals and brands to gain more subscribers to their channel. Users would first have to subscribe to the channel before being able to view the article that was just shared to them.
Additional social sharing options should be added, allowing for BBM Channel articles to be shared on Facebook, Twitter, etc. I’m not familiar with the extensiveness of BBM Channel APIs, but I imagine BlackBerry could surely offer this in some way.
These are my top 5 features request for BBM Channels. I have plenty more, but they’re more nitpicking than standalone features request. Do you have any features you’d like to see in BBM Channels? Sound off in the comments with your ideas.