Last week I published a negative review of Upside after having the opportunity to look at their beta site. The results I found differed significantly from the initial buzz for this service, so it’s no surprise that some of the team members at Upside reached out to provide some context for my experience.
For the record, I avoid promoting products and services that I haven’t tried myself. Nothing good ever comes of it. I also don’t go out of my way to bash new companies. I get regular emails from startups asking me asking for a review, and usually I’ll respond with some private comments and never put anything on my blog. The sole reason I reviewed Upside was because there was already significant discussion about the service and I had a unique contribution to that discussion.
Upside still isn’t sure how I gained access to the beta, which was apparently not the same beta that will be made available to VIP members later this year. Instead it was intended to test the user experience.
In fact, they were surprised that I was able to complete the booking process, since they have loaded a very small amount of their inventory during this phase of testing. They expect to load additional hotel and air partners later this year.
Finally, the majority of the proprietary algorithms that Upside will use to negotiate cheaper prices have not been installed. These are essentially the heart of Upside, and it’s not very surprising that the service failed to impress without them.
It’s my opinion that Upside should have postponed its marketing campaign until it had a working product to support its aggressive claims. It’s my opinion that the beta I accessed should have been more secure or, at the very least, should have included a disclaimer. As I said, nothing good ever comes from reviewing an unfinished service. The result is embarrassing to both sides.
To their credit, Upside never asked me to remove my original review or publish this retraction. I decided to do so anyway because it’s the right thing to do. Some betas reflect the finished product; this one didn’t, so a review wasn’t helpful. I look forward to taking another look at the service after they have it up and running.