Unlock Awesome Treehouse Rewards!

One week ago we posted a mysterious countdown clock over at teamtreehouse.com and today, that countdown has ended. There was lots of fun speculation as to what it might mean; No, it’s not the Treehouse beta, and no, Chuck Norris is not giving Mega Master Classes.

We’re going to play a game. Are you ready? :)

A screenshot of teamtreehouse.com showing a community progress meter and unlockable rewards.

November 7th is the launch of Treehouse, our major re-imagining of Think Vitamin Membership, but we can’t do it without your help! So far we’ve posted a few teasers here and there, but we’re ready to start revealing what we’ve been working on.

On teamtreehouse.com you’ll find a progress bar indicating how close we are to launch. Along the progress meter are several unlockable rewards like interface screenshots and videos. You can help move the progress bar forward by doing one of the following two things:

  1. Reply to @treehouse and let us know what features you’d like to see in Treehouse
  2. Reply to @treehouse with suggestions on which topics you’d like us to teach next

We’ll carefully monitor your tweets and update the progress meter. When the meter hits 100% we’ll unveil a special surprise and then launch Treehouse shortly afterwards. Thanks for taking part! :)

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Comments

22 comments on “Unlock Awesome Treehouse Rewards!

    • Hey Adam,

      By working together, you can unlock special previews of Treehouse. We’re weaving story and social gaming into Treehouse in a way that hasn’t been really been done before, and the rewards will start to reveal some of those story elements.

      This is our first attempt at an ARG, so there may still be a few kinks to work out. Sorry if it came off as us trying to get others to push our product. However, I think once some of the rewards start getting unlocked, it will make more sense. The progress meter just hit 1%, so the first reward isn’t far off now! :)

    • Hey Adam,

      Just wanted to reply to you again to let you know that we’ve tweaked our copy quite a bit. Please take a look at http://teamtreehouse.com/ if you can and let me know what you think!

  1. I think this is an awful idea, and one that of all companies/services on the planet, y’all are the last to even NEED this.

    I am sure it is well-intentioned, but even the copy fails the “awesomeness” test: it reminds us of YOUR awesomeness, not ours. (“unlock awesome rewards!”). ThinkVitamin has always been about making the *user* awesome, not highlighting how awesome YOU are.

    I am deeply disappointed to see one of the best examples of a company that both understands and deliverw what REALLY matters — helping users kick ass — resort to the tactics used by the vast wasteland of mediocre products/services/companies who must find ways to keep us “engaged” with superficial activities that are barely concealed marketing manipulations. There are a million better ways to encourage community involvement.

    When you claim in your copy, “Using advanced science that we barely understand…”, I will take that sentence at face value and agree… You do not understand. Because if you *did* understand the science, you would realize what a spectacularly bad idea this is. It will produce short-term “engagement” metrics, but at what long-term cost?

    Fortunately, ThinkVitamin/Carsonified have built so much that benefits people that you can easily afford the “hit” (though the tweet stream already includes at least one, “love you guys but this is a dick move spam-to-unlock” style comment). What disappoints me is that you guys are a MODEL — as leaders in this space — and you are modeling what some of us (supported by the science) consider an attempt at behavior manipulation disguised as “community engagement.” I DO understand the science, and it is subtle and complex and counter-intuiitive. And it tells me that this is not a good move, though I have no doubt that your heart is in the right place.

    • Hi Kathy,

      Thank you for pointing out the flaws in this plan. As you said, our hearts were in the right place, but our plan was flawed. We were trying to do something fun that also promoted the launch, but we didn’t get the mix right.

      I’m going to tweak the contest now.

      Thanks for taking time to comment – I have a ton of respect for you.

      Ryan

  2. Sorry but this is a pathetic attempt at getting us to promote your service. If it’s good we’ll promote it without you asking. If it’s crap we won’t promote it. It’s as simple as that.

    • Hi M3d89,

      You’re right, and we were wrong. We were just trying to have some fun with our launch, but this wasn’t the right way to go about it.

      We’ve tweaked the copy on http://teamtreehouse.com to encourage people to reply to @treehouse:twitter on Twitter with ideas for new topics and features that they would like to see from us. Our members fuel our service, and we want to make Treehouse the best place to learn. :)

      Thanks for your feedback! It means a lot to us. :)

  3. Inane. I’m gutted to see Carsonified pitching Think Vitamin to 12 year olds.  Next there’ll be badges.

  4. I’ve been thinking long and hard about investing in a Think Vitamin membership, for a solo developer its a non trivial expense – then I thought I’d wait to see how Treehouse turned out.  Glad I did. I’m keen to purchase professional, mature, adult training – but spam to unlock makes it feel like its a game launch for Facebook. This approach will turn off so many professionals.

    • Hi Adrian,

      I’m sorry to have disappointed you. We’ve updated the challenge based on the comments. We were trying to introduce extra fun into the launch, but I can now see how it was perceived differently.

      Thanks for the honest feedback.

      Ryan

  5. Before I even saw your response, Ryan, I was feeling a little bad about my earlier comment. Not because I don’t think this was a mistake, but I suddenly realized that you are out there *trying things* and in many ways, that should take priority. The fact that less than 24 hours later you are already acknowledging you might need to tweak things is partly why we love you :)

    There is a massive difference between, for example, giving someone a reward to acknowledge something they have done *for themselves* (like, say, a badge for completing a training program) and a reward for something they would otherwise have *wanted* to do. Think of it like a “sell-out neuron” in the brain. All those people you have helped are potentially willing to help Treehouse *because they want to.* Incentivizing the very acts we would have taken on your behalf puts us in an awkward, non-kick-ass mode and cheapens what would have been an expression of real appreciation and enthusiasm.

    I am really looking forward to Treehouse!
    Cheers

    • Howdy Kathy,

      Thanks for calling us out on this! Seriously, now that I see it the way others do, we needed it.

      I have updated http://teamtreehouse.com/ with revised copy that puts more focus on the user and not us. Like Ryan said, we were just trying to spice up our launch, because we think learning should be fun! :) We still have unlockable rewards, but they’re now fueled by user feedback and ideas. We want to make Treehouse the best place to learn, so we’re encouraging people to reply to @treehouse:twitter on Twitter with topics and features they would like to see from us.

      I remember attending FOWA Miami 2008 and listening to you talk about the WTF button. I can only help but think about that in this particular case! Hindsight is 20/20, but we messed up, so we’re working now to make it right.

      Thanks again for your valuable feedback! We really appreciate it.

  6. I did a double take with this launch.  You guys have a great product (that I pay for), and I don’t think think anything was devious, but it did strike me as really odd that I would have to do something to unlock some *screenshots* of a new service.  I was also genuinely looking forward to the launch, and when the countdown went to zero, the big reveal turned out to be… another countdown… a bit anticlimactic from my end.  Keep up the good work with the videos, and no real sweat lost on my end.

    • Hi Kenny,

      Thanks for your feedback, it means a lot to us. Sorry to have disappointed you. We’ve updated the copy on http://teamtreehouse.com/ to focus more on user feedback. By replying to @treehouse:disqus on Twitter with your ideas for features and new topics, new rewards will be unlocked and together we’ll make Treehouse the best place to learn. :)

  7. A countdown which was counting down to…. another countdown?

    Im just going to say, I don’t get it. I don’t even get the reasoning? If it’s a game, make it a game. If it’s just “hey, we’re not ready yet but tell some mates about it” then say so.

    Anyways, there’s some harsh comments already and I don’t want to unnecessarily join them, but I definitely feel underwhelmed…

    I’d have actually enjoyed a real game on the page. Honest, I’d have played a game that took 30 seconds or so to unlock some sneak peaks.

    Example: simple breakout game that had some screenshots hidden in the bricks or something. Actually wait, no I’m going to use that one on the new Fruitbowl Media homepage… :-D

    I’ll be following keenly anyways to see how you pull this one around

    • Hey Liam,

      Thanks for your feedback. I can understand how it might seem a bit underwhelming, but some of the later reward videos and Treehouse feature reveals should be more exciting. :)

  8. It’s definitely an interesting concept! 

    As Kathy said though, because the rewards don’t correlate to your own personal actions or involvement there’s not much incentive to take part or revisit the page.

    Perhaps if the rewards were more compelling e.g. when we hit 50% we’ll giveaway 50 x 1 month free then it could work… Or you could give beta access or extra points badges once they’ve got access..

    I really want the final product to launch!!!  I’ve been holding off subscribing to think vitamin see what treehouse is going to be like. 

    • Hey Tom,

      Thanks for the feedback. We modified the social game so that Twitter replies to @treehouse:twitter now fuel the progress bar, rather than tweeting about us. We want to make Treehouse the best possible place to learn, and we would be nowhere without our members. That’s why we need your ideas for new features and topics! :)

      If you’re considering signing up, there’s really no need to wait. Treehouse will have all of our current video content, plus extras like quizzes and badges. If you have any questions about membership, feel free to email help@teamtreehouse.com and we’ll be happy to assist you!