There is something to be said about a bad experience with a marketing tool, the disappointing feeling when expectations do not meet reality.
Because you read so many great things that you cannot believe how bad that experience is. It’s like going to the cinema watching the latest blockbuster because everyone is giving it 5 stars, only to find out that it was a waste of money and your time, to say the least.
I’m not talking about software that is poorly built, or a subscription that was engineered to empty your wallet – that sort of thing happens when greed is driving the founders.
Instead, I’m talking about that sort of bad that reminds you that SaaS marketing can be really powerful and make you believe things that are not true, to the extent to which you think whether or not you are working in the right industry, for which this particular software was built.
Such bad software makes you question your own career because you feel such a distance between what you want to achieve with the tool vs what the software does, that you think “it cannot possibly be the tool, it must be something wrong with me”.
It’s like when you are in a toxic relationship with a partner and when you break up you’ll say
“it’s not you, it’s me.”
The only difference is that with this software I really felt it was me the problem.
This is what I felt using Jasper (formerly Jarvis), the highly reviewed AI writing tool. It wasn’t writing, it was about instructing the “supposed” intelligent tool to write a blog post for you.
No wait, the blog post wasn’t involved at all. Or better, it was involved in the same way the deserter is involved when he leaves the army. Guess what? It failed to report for duty. The blog post wasn’t even found in the lost and found department.
So, yes we can’t call my experience “testing an AI tool”, we can instead call it “babysitting Jarvis without the IronMan”.
Extremely frustrating babysitting.
The kind of which, believe it or not, you teach the angry baby good manners and receive peanuts in return. On your face.
Why I wrote this review
This is why I write this review: to spare you the frustration I had when I have used it a few weeks ago because not everyone can afford the monthly subscription costs. Not everyone can either waste his/her precious time.
Bloggers write software reviews normally for earning affiliates commissions, I have done this myself. Even when tools are so bad, bloggers still manage to find something good to be said in order to make a few (or a lot) bucks out of it.
I have no association whatsoever with Jasper, and this is so liberating that I can say whatever I want, as affiliate commissions don’t influence my writing. So I might as well spill out the truth about how bad software is and how overestimated it really is.
I don’t normally review bad experiences, as I’m conscious of the efforts that founders make to hit the market with an innovative tool and I feel that publicly criticising it is not what they need in this competitive world of digital marketing.
But in this case, let’s go through what the hell this was. That’s because these were the expectations: I wanted to create content that ranks on search engines.
I wanted to create SEO content that rank on search engines
How everything started with Jasper
Everything started when I posted on LinkedIn a question to my network asking to recommend an AI writing tool and the highest-rated came out to be Jarvis, so I had great expectations before I created an account.
The account creation process is already frustrating, you have to leave your credit card details in order to use something you have no idea whether you’ll like and use or not. The assurance that a money-back guarantee is given doesn’t stop the worries as it’s filled with terms and conditions and guess what? I haven’t read them so I never got my money back.
This was the first reason why I felt that something wrong is happening here.
You would expect to see a free trial, maybe with limited features or for just 7 days.
Instead, according to their capitalistic logic, first, you pay me, then I show you my horse.
I thought: ” Fine, let’s go with it”.
How it went
What followed was 3 weeks of tempting to write a meaningful blog post with the AI tool and failing every single time for a different reason. This situation made me feel like a character out of a Cervantes story, Don Quixote, who knows that he is not mad, but the empty results of his efforts made him feel like he is. Because I can’t stress this enough, there was nothing close to a final blog post out of my efforts. Some posts were non-sense sentences written by an “intelligent” mad man, others were bullet points that came straight from Google search results.
And even this blog post (link to the post), which was supposed to be a long-form piece, had repetitive sentences and the result took me longer than if I had written it myself.
Putting sentences together for this software doesn’t result in a meaningful piece of content with an intro and a conclusion, but closer to a child writing the letter to Santa for the first time. You kind of guess what the child wants, but can’t really be 100% sure.
So I checked the reviews, some people managed to learn the intricacies of the tool and produce long-form content.
Even this video doesn’t resemble a tutorial because it doesn’t explain the process. In fact, if you read the video comments, other users are not happy either as they cannot figure out what to do to write long-form content with Jarvis.
Jarvis users cannot find real value from the tutorial
There is no video support at Jarvis, for writing long-form content. They only use someone else’s video which is the one above.
Jarvis only provides a quick intro tour when you subscribe. They occasionally provide tips here and there, which means you are completely at the mercy of how good (bad) are the instructions you give to the tool to produce meaningful sentences for you.
This puts you in a position that if you don’t know what instructions to give, you won’t get any results. The tool doesn’t explain to you how instructions should be written.
Support will not explain what you are doing wrong and what is going on.
After writing longer instructions, hoping to feed the AI, I came up with an encouraging intro for a new blog post.
Then I told support I was struggling to make the AI write for me:
Here is their reply:
Their support failed to notice I wrote the entire content, not Jarvis.
I thought: “What? She didn’t even check what I wrote!”
So I have replied:
Here is the second reply I got from their support team, my worst fears become real:
I thought: “Excuse me? – What does ‘write a problem agitate solution’ even mean?”
“Present the solution being offered for the above”
Okay, at this point I was more lost than before.
No more instructions were provided to stop me from thinking about the “now what?” panic question. What happens now? Do you need more instruction my dear AI tool?
But what about the previous ones? Not enough? Why did you stop writing for me?
I’m pretty sure again I was the problem, I wasn’t good enough at babysitting the creature and it was now crying for his food.
I have tried to come up with possible explanations for what happened to me. Maybe the AI software didn’t receive enough info to get it started. Maybe the content I wanted to write wasn’t allowed yet. Maybe the tool didn’t like me or it was drunk. But I got a few sentences together that I can only define as “attempted poem from the dead poets’ society member”.
An order of things was being established. No instructions meant no long-form article. So I frantically started to look for ways to produce more instructions in an effort that spanned a few hours. The only reasons I had for not shutting down the account and leaving were these ones:
- I have paid my monthly subscription already so I would have wasted money I didn’t try harder.
- The support agent told me to give instructions, again, to the tool during my writing.
- I tried to apply the knowledge learnt from watching a great testimonial writing a long-form article.
Given more benefits of the doubt, I thought to myself maybe this software was really like Hubspot, it’s so advanced that it takes time to set it up. But once you are done with the admin things that really bore the hell out of me, you can finally start to enjoy the tool doing his magic.
BUT NO! I kept feeding the tool with more info and waiting to turn that info into something that was close enough to a blog post and nothing came up. Now, at this point, I felt that it’s pointless to spend time thinking and formulating information for the clueless baby and feeding him with words when I can just save the money and write everything myself.
At this moment I decided to send another email to their support team and find out more about the weird reply they sent me previously, asking for clarification of what “write a problem agitate solution for the above” means.
Asked more clarifications
They replied with an apology and a request to upgrade my already paid account to the next level!
So I clicked on the support article they shared with me:
Finally! I thought I found the right article, someone else managed to write long-form reviews, with a catch!
I have to upgrade my account from$29/month to $59/month.
I did some quick math in my head and think:
“If I have to pay someone to write a 3,000 words article for me it would cost at least $200, if I’m lucky, but with Jarvis, I can get away with just $59/month and have 20,000 words.”
I pay and upgrade again.
Then I watch the video to learn more.
By now, I have spent hours trying to figure out this software, sent quite a few emails to their support team and watched two 40 mins tutorial videos.
Nothing can go wrong, right?
From the video tutorial I was expecting to learn the exact formula for writing long-form content, but it looks like I wasn’t the only one who had issues with this video. Here are a few comments:
Please improve the video quality.
The readability of this series of video is terrible. Use at least 1080p or at least zoom in a little.
This video is all over the place. Jumping from one thing to or other. Not teaching much.
Very hard to follow along.
And then I have demanded a full refund. Jarvis didn’t work for me.
At least, their support agent replied kindly to say a full refund was given and she asked if I can give feedback so they can make further improvements.
Well, Jarvis if you happen to read this review, I have given you enough feedback to make your improvements that you’ll be busy for months to come.
It was like being an unlucky software beta tester of some kind of new tool that wants to get customers’ feedback and I was selected to try it out. But isn’t good to see other people have struggled to use it that the whole experience is somehow better? When pain is shared, it feels less like pain and more like learning.
And I went back to writing my next article myself.