Sentinel just stands around : A second look

sentinel1.png We covered Sentinel, the splog defeater tool, about a month back and had some words from founder, Tony Moura:

“… I should have also mentioned that by registering, the user is registering for the free version of Sentinel and not all of the functionality would be there. This wasan oversight on my part and will be corrected. The free solution also has some limitations such as a 2 week turn around time for Sentinel to make matches and send out its emails. …”

So what happened? It’s a month later and we still don’t see any results. Our Sentinel page hasn’t been updated each week that we checked. We’re not talking about “not all of the functionality” here. We’re talking about zero functionality still.
So the drama begins…


First of all, it’s still a great design. Although you can definitely tell when there’s been the classic use of script.aculo.us and prototype are in the works. The interface uses Modalbox, which is a pretty usual web 2.0 type function.
Nothing functions though. Still.
Which is very deceiving when you go to the Blogwerx homepage and find this:
blogwerx-sentinel001.jpg
From anyone that has heard about this tool from hearsay, you would want to check out the site right? But after sign-up, it’ll leave a bad taste in your mouth. After a month, you’ll find that those that claimed the chance of scamming have a lot more weight than before. Even my vaporware comment still holds true. Here, someone mentions that the sources being parsed has been at the total of 19835. A month later, you’ll find that the number still hasn’t changed. 20070316-parsing.jpg Even the bug tracker bugs me. You’ll note that even though it was launched in February, there are a total of one bug(s) being tracked and that was the password one mentioned back in February. What’s even more disconcerting is that this “final product version” actually has a product version of Sentinel 0.1? Hmm. blogwerx-bugtracker.jpg
I feel for Tony a little, since he’s been pushing this product a time before he even got this far with it, but there’s some strange business decisions still being made.
Then after browsing a little bit, you will find that apparently the “coder” ran off with the code and left their four-man team a leg short. Here is an excerpt from March 8th post by Tony:

“… Well, we have the site done, the front-end of Sentinel done and then……. yes, the main and only guy with the code goes MIA!! So, I slowly see my dream slipping. I see the money that has been invested to getting to Demo gone etc. …”

This makes no sense here. I run both a business and have been a developer and a designer. One thing is for sure though, anyone that works in software has backups. Where are the backups? All of this doesn’t add up when you also try to conceive where the beta testing went. Note that according to our previous look at the product, there was a closed beta test. Now it seems like there wasn’t one at all since the product can’t function without this guy that went missing. All of that aside, there are still some inconsistencies from a business perspective.
Why would you show the above site that could potentially misinform new customers when the product isn’t ready? A good analogy is if you went to a car dealership and was about to test drive the car, but you found that there was no engine inside. Don’t worry, says the salesman, it’ll be in there in a month. Not exactly a satisfying picture is it? But that’s what you see from a customer’s point of view, especially when you sign up for the free version.
My suggestion? Pull the site and put a “Coming Soon. Fourth Quarter. 2007” or something like that or whenever the product will be final. You can market your product, but don’t put it out there if it’s not finished unless you’re actually going to do the open beta.
All in all, everything mentioned above doesn’t paint a rosy picture on Sentinel’s future in its current state with competitors nipping at the heels. Hopefully Blogwerx pulls out clean from this shaky start. The idea is still great, assuming that they have the technology to back it up. We’ll continue to hold the fort and let you know when they pull out of the slump and are back on the go.

  • Yeah, we have had some major issues and it was me placing my trust in someone.
    I have been thinking about pulling the site down until we can get thing ironed out.
    We will be back with a completed and fully functional solution.
    It’s unfortunate that we have fallen on our face like we have but intend to recover and do things correctly.

  • Yeah, we have had some major issues and it was me placing my trust in someone.
    I have been thinking about pulling the site down until we can get thing ironed out.
    We will be back with a completed and fully functional solution.
    It’s unfortunate that we have fallen on our face like we have but intend to recover and do things correctly.

  • Darkmoon,
    Contact me via the email supplied.

  • Darkmoon,
    Contact me via the email supplied.