If you say the word ‘iFollow’ to Lincoln City fans right now, you elicit one of two responses.
On one hand, you have the iFollow deniers, those who feel the system is fine. You know the ones, those who say it is your fault it isn’t working, those lucky buggers who have had uninterrupted coverage of all the Imps’ games this season. It is great being one of those guys and I should know; I was one up to the Bradford game. Okay, it was only Oxford I got to see the full 90 minutes as I missed Crewe, but I thought iFollow was great. After all, I watched Ipswich on iFollow last year due to my flu (which seems awfully covid-like in hindsight). I couldn’t see what the problem was. I smartly told people after Oxford to register their code 48 hours before to avoid problems logging in, and was told (rightly so) that would only solve a handful of the queries. A handful is better than none I guess.
Then you have a second group of people. If you say iFollow to them, you’ll most likely get a volley of abuse back as though you have just defecated on their driveway. Yup, that’s how offensive iFollow is to some. I fell into that bracket for 29 minutes of the Bradford game and around 30 minutes of the MK Dons win.
I’ve had a few emails this week too, one of which I got today from a reader asking me to use my influence to speak to the club. I felt an article might be better, mainly because the club has got a lot on right now and because there is little they can do. You won’t hear them attack the system, it would be cutting off their own noses given the revenue it generates, but I would imagine there is a degree of frustration at the ongoing problems. Remember, 70% of the revenue iFollow generates goes to the club, so if 1000 people pay £10 each to watch a game, the club should get around £7000 from a game. That varies away from home, but it is a vital revenue stream and therefore worth sticking with. Besides, we are getting unrivalled access to matches so far; those who have got on have been able to watch every second of the Imps in action, a real treat I think you’ll agree.
The club became aware of issues during the MK Dons feed and put out a tweet asking you to email them, and the EFL, in the event of problems. My advice (which I might get reprimanded for) would be to email the EFL and copy in the club. I suspect the club’s action upon getting your email will be to address the EFL, although I might be wrong. The email addresses you need are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com and I’d try to be clear about the problem you are having, rather than just getting angry. Yes, the system isn’t great, but it is here to stay and we have to try to work forward with it, rather than getting angry. I know that is advice I will struggle to heed if I have the same problems on Sunday though, even though I won’t have spent £10 this time.
There is some practical advice you can take which I have bulleted below. Again, I know this isn’t really acceptable when you have paid for a product, but remember you are buying it from the EFL, not the club. Getting angry with Lincoln City here is almost like getting angry if you go to your Dad’s to watch Sky TV on Thursday and his TV starts playing up. He’s going to be as hacked off as you are. I suppose the difference is Sky aren’t paying your Dad any royalties, but therein lies another issue: iFollow revenue is crucial to the club right now and just binning it off (or worse, pirating it) is taking money out of the club’s pocket. There is a desire for the club to help, they’ve offered advice too, one article here talks about different issues, whilst this PDF also has some helpful advice. It also addresses those saying my internet isn’t good enough by the way, as my home internet is actually a 4G router, and I have a 4G dongle. So there.
Right, so what fixes have I found and what advice do other people offer? There is an outline of some bits of advice below, which hopefully you find helpful.
- iFollow seems to work best with certain browsers, so if you’re viewing on a laptop try to have Firefox (Windows) or Safari (Apple) as your browser. I’ve linked both there for people who don’t have them. They should be easy to install, but a guide to installing a new browser can be found here.
- If you want to watch on a mobile device, try to use the iFollow app. I couldn’t get the feed to work on a browser on my phone, but I downloaded the app and it worked immediately. That does prove that my issue isn’t a connection issue of course, which I’m eager to stress. I know some want to watch in on an iPad or other tablet, so the app is the best method for doing this.
- Clear caches and browsing data if you hit trouble. This worked for me against Bradford, but not against MK Dons, so it is a bit hit and miss. There are guides for doing this, one here for iPad or iPhone, one here for Windows and one here for Mac users.
- If you are plugging a device into your TV via a HDMI cable, wait until the feed is one your laptop and working before connecting the cable to your device. Again, against Bradford, I got joy after clearing the cache and unplugging the HDMI. Once the feed came on, I plugged the cable in and it worked well for the rest of the game.
- If at all possible, use a wired connection and try not to have other people in the house on the internet. I know this sounds utterly ridiculous in 2020, but my partner logs out all devices around the house and uses our second connection instead. I did connect a LAN cable from my router to my laptop too, which strengthens the signal. This is likely to alleviate any signal issues you have, which are not the sole cause for people being unable to view, but it is still worth doing.
I really hope this advice does help people moving forward. Sadly, due to the cyber-attacks on my site recently, I have had to turn the ability to comment off for now, so if you have other suggestions please do feel free to email them to me firstname.lastname@example.org. If they are workable and practical, I’ll add them to the bullet points above.