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 weâ€™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, weâ€™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 weâ€™re good at, but itâ€™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 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?