iKnow rebranded as Smart.fm

For the past day or two the  iKnow website was down and displaying message saying that they were doing major upgrades on the service and it would be back in a few hours. I visit the iKnow site almost every day especially now that I have accepted a Katakana learning challenge by fellow J-Blogger Chris with the loser having to eat a smelly Japanese concoction called Natto. Today I was alerted via Twitter that iKnow was back but has been transformed into Smart.fm so I surfed over to their blog for more information.

The main reason is that we’re relaunching the site with a different focus, and we thought a fresh start required a fresh name. Our primary focus so far has been on language learning, and English and Japanese language learning in particular. By staying in beta for over a year and keeping our focus tight, we’ve been able to hone our content structure, our learning engine, and our list-building tools to a fairly stable point.

Now we want to break beyond our initial target and broaden the scope of the site to encompass learning of all kinds. Language learning is still going to be a huge part of what we do, and what we’re good at, but it’s not going to be where we stop … read full blog post


Since then the user experience has been awful, the site is slow, buggy and displays funny at times and I fear continuing my Katakana lessons for fear of losing my progress as the first time I tried to the window refused to load. I am hoping this is just the teething pains as I know how difficult such an undertaking can be. Many users are not as understanding as me and the feedback so far has been mainly negative, I just hope they get their act together in a couple days.

More on Jamaipanese.com:  The Spirit of Budō: The History of Japanese Martial Arts

More on Smart.fm, the natto challenge and my Japanese studyin progress coming soon so be sure to check back often, follow me on twitter and subscribe to my rss feed. Are you a iKnow/Smart.fm user? What do you think so far of the changes, rebranding and widening focus?


7 thoughts on “iKnow rebranded as Smart.fm

  1. I’m so disappointed with iknow changing to smartfm. I use iknow everyday and I’ve built so many lists to study. I hope the new site is going to be worth it cause now I can’t even login it takes ages for the web pages to load. They should have run smartfm in parallel with iknow to give users time to adapt to the change over.

  2. Your post inspired me to write up my thoughts on the rebrand and relaunch http://www.nihongonotes.com/2009/03/05/iknow-out-of-beta-relaunches-as-part-of-smartfm/

    I know why they did it, to get a stable base to build upon for future development, but I feel they should’ve kept it under beta and developed it further in-house. The UI seems worse to me, and I think boke’s suggestion above of running them in parallel or just showing some preview screenshots to the community would’ve been good to start with.

  3. Oh! I forgot to mention that YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE, MY FRIEND! Get your taste buds ready for some Natto!

    Muahahaha ;)

  4. This whole thing makes me glad I use Anki to study and not iknow. I am glad that even if anki’s servers go down and I can not connect, I still have my stand alone program to use.

  5. I am absolutely disappointed by that “upgrade” of iKnow.
    In fact, I think it’s a major downgrade. I detest the new look, hate how slow it works and especially – the fact they are trying to teach everything now. In my country there’s a saying that goes “if something is (good) for everything – it’s (good) for nothing”. I totally agree.

    I was supporting the iKnow so much among my readers and now I’m not sure if I will continue to do so.

    Give me back my old iKnow, you FM bastards :<!

  6. Well it certainly seems like smart.fm is humming along now. according to their blog they had a major upgrade and server move – tough stuff, but better for all of us in the longrun.

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