Monday, August 04, 2008

Dopplr and Twitter problem fixed

A couple of weeks ago, Dopplr (the social travel network) announced support for twitter (and email and sms). That is, you can send a tweet to the dopplr user on twitter with your travel details, and it will automatically get added to your Dopplr account as a new trip.

Of course you first have to register your twitter user with your Dopplr account... (why this is, and why the number of identity silos as ever increasing is a different story, and I'm sure I will rant about identity in social networks soon here).

You do so, by sending a (private/direct) message to the Dopplr account with a secret key (kind of thing) that you get from Dopplr. Once you sent this, the link between your Dopplr account and your twitter name is established, i.e. messages from this very twitter name will be associated with your Dopplr account.

From then on, you send messages like

“I'm going to munich from Sep 23rd to Sep 29th“

to Dopplr and the trip will be added automatically. Confirmation is sent both via twitter and via email.

In my case, however, the registration failed.

Dopplr just would not react to my registration message. Simply ignored it. I first thought, that I did something wrong, but today I got an email from Matt Biddulph , the CTO of Dopplr:

Subject: Apologies for a recent problem in Dopplr's Twitter support

This morning we discovered a bug that has affected about 60 Dopplr accounts, including yours. It meant that when you sent us a message to associate your account with your Twitter account so that you could send us trips, it didn't work correctly.

We've just fixed the bug and deployed new code to our servers. If you'd like to try again starting at then the process should now work.

I'm sorry for this problem, and hope you enjoy using our new Twitter feature.

Matt Biddulph,
Dopplr CTO.

I tried the registration again, this time it worked.

Dopplr replied with

Thanks, now we know who you are on Twitter. Full usage instructions are at

within a minute or so, and then I was able to add my sample trip to Munich (this is just an example, don't expect me in Munich at that time).

Which is then confirmed by an email:

Subject: Re: Your twitter message to Dopplr

Thanks for sending us a message by twitter.
We automatically created a trip to Munich, Germany (from Vienna,
Austria) between September 23rd and September 29th

We won't share coincidences from this newly-created trip with your
fellow travellers until August 13th. This is to give you a chance
to check and correct any problems in interpretation.

If you'd like to check, go to
personal link deleted

Yours sincerely,
The Dopplr Team.

I love the idea to put the new trip into a kind of quarantine for 10 days, but still publish it then by default.

So it works great now.

I was so surprised by Matt's email, that (I guess for the first time ever) I replied to him thanking him for the service.

Unusual... even for cool startups.

(email published with Matt's consent)

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