Blinksale Notes

Blinksale Notes.

This evening (one week since my first attempt), I was successfully able to sign up at Blinksale.

Unfortunately, as I explored the
application for a few hours, I ran into some things that will likely
cause me to cancel my subscription before I ever actually send an
invoice. Here are the notes I took during my exploration:

  • Application layout is clean and simple – good use of web standard navigation in a web application.
  • Where are the recurring invoices?
  • If
    I can’t create a recurring invoice, surely I should be able to
    duplicate an old invoice – right? That doesn’t seem to be an option
  • Why do I have to make up an invoice number for each invoice? Isn’t that something software is supposed to do for you?
  • Why can’t I choose from previously entered line items when creating an invoice?
  • Blinksale offers RSS feeds and iCalendars (yay!), but these are only protected by the obscurity of a random 11 character string (boooo!!!).
  • It
    only took me about 2 hours to add my customers and customize my
    templates w/ my colors and logo – pretty good job they did with this
  • How do I export my data for my own archives/records/tax purposes/etc.? Not very “web 2.0″.
  • If I cancel my account, all of my data will be immediately deleted:

    Your account and all of its invoices, client records, and other information will be deleted immediately.

    um, I’d really like a copy for my records first.

I think Blinksale has the potential to be a great application? Yes, I
do. They’ve already made it elegant and enjoyable to use – that is the
often the hardest part of building a web application.

Unfortunately, the current feature set is inadequate for even my meager invoicing needs1
(I do ~5/month). Combine that with the lack of security for my data
(public RSS feeds and iCalendars) and the inability for me to own my
data, and I’m just not comfortable actually using the service.

As a mentor of mine once told me when I showed him a project I was working on (and thought I had completed):

Looks good… I look forward to seeing it when it’s finished.

opinion is that they’ve come to market a little before they’re ready
and created a classic “going to market too early” situation.

a way, they did the hard part. They convinced me that I need to improve
my invoicing situation and that I’m willing to pay a monthly fee for
that service – they turned me into a customer. But since I’ve decided I
have a need for this type of service and they aren’t meeting it, I’ll
probably go ahead and sign up with another service instead in the next
week or so.

Unless my experience with that service goes very badly, I probably won’t give Blinksale another chance2
because I will have committed my data to that service instead (even
though I like the Blinksale interface better than any others I’ve seen).  [ Blog]

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