Acobot Live Chat Bot for Your Blog or Website

Bloggers and other site owners are always looking for new and innovative ways to interact with their visitors. That’s a big reason why we have blog comments, social media, and contact forms. But what if you wanted to have a live chat with your readers and customers without actually being there to chat with them?

That’s almost the idea behind Acobot, the web-based service that is the subject of today’s review. The developers promises that Aco can “help you get more customers without spending a penny more on advertising.”

As Smart As Siri?

In effect, Aco is a real-time chat bot. A small chat window appears in the lower-right corner of the browser window and visitors to your site are able to enter their questions in this chat box. After sending, Aco responds almost immediately with a reply.

While the chat here isn’t voice-based, you can see how the “live bot” nature of Aco looks like it’s almost trying to mirror Siri on the iPhone. You ask a bot a question in natural language and it comes back with a reply.

Unfortunately, the live chat software isn’t completely useful out of the box. I tried the live demo with Aco on Beyond the Rhetoric, asking it, “Who is Michael Kwan?” If it were as “smart” as Siri, Aco may have done a web search or crawled to the “about” page on my blog. It did neither. Instead, the reply was, “Will you tell me?” And then I asked, “What is Beyond the Rhetoric?” The response I got was, “I don’t know.”

This is largely because Aco needs to be “trained” manually. When you sign up for an account and install Aco on your site, you can log into your Aco account and view the questions that site visitors have asked through the chat log. You then provide Aco with “better” answers so that it can be more helpful to future site visitors.

An Aco Sense of Humor Too

I gave Aco another shot by attempting a live demo on Hadouken Online. The most recent post on that blog was about the 20th anniversary of Mortal Kombat, so I asked, “What is Mortal Kombat?” The reply: “Sorry, I don’t have a definition for that. What else can I do for you?” In subsequent trials, sometimes I got replies that asked for my e-mail address so that Aco could “follow up” with a suitable answer.

Funnily enough, Aco seems to have a slight sense of humor. When I submitted “Tell me the answer” as my question, Aco came back with, “Booze is the answer, but I’ve forgotten the question.” That’s not exactly helpful, per se, but at least I got a chuckle out of it.

Integration with WordPress

Installing and configuring Acobot is a really easy process. All you have to do is download the free WordPress plugin and activate it. After signing up for an Acobot account, you can then get an installation key that can be entered in your WordPress dashboard. The chat window will show up immediately after that.

How Much Does It Cost?

While there are three pricing plans posted on the site, Acobot is currently free to use.

You can sign up for free now and upgrade later. There is no limit to the number of chats per month during this beta period, but that’ll change when Acobot launches officially out of beta. The Pro 200 (200 chats a month) and Pro 400 (400 chats a month) will cost $29 and $49 a month, respectively. The free account will have Acobot branding and is limited to 30 chats a month.

While I think that Acobot is a neat idea, you will need to factor in the time needed to “train” the bot to best answer the questions posed by your website visitors. Aco gets better with more training, I’m sure, but that adjustment period could prove a little frustrating.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FREE ACOBOT WORDPRESS PLUGIN


12 thoughts on “Acobot Live Chat Bot for Your Blog or Website”

  1. faisal says:

    Interesting plugin, but again monthly pricing structure should justify the benefits.

  2. geekSerious says:

    Thanks for the review, Michael.

    As for Acobot, I don’t think I would pay 15 cents per user so that my readers can be told by a computer that computers are stupid.

    If they want it to take off, I suggest that they grandfather in the beta users in exchange for them training acobot. Then make training done on one acobot user train all the acobots.

    Fun toy, though 🙂

  3. Vic Duan says:

    Michael, thank you for the exposure!

    I’d like to give a clarification about pricing. There will be no limit to business for pleasure. Yes, I know people come to johnchow.com for making money but many of them don’t sell online directly so they can use Acobot for free, without quota limit.

    As for training, I confess it’s not effortless even we have made it very simple. On the other hand, there is no effortless way to make money, right 🙂

    In fact, a bot doesn’t have to be as smart as human to serve the purpose of website conversion rate optimization. Our observation indicates the real customers seldom try to challenge the bot with factual questions. They typically focus on a few core points such as pricing about the product or service they are interested in. So just a bit of train would do the magic: the visitors get their questions answered instantly, before they leave, and thus the likelihood of conversion is boosted.

    Finally, is it worthy of the money? It depends… Assuming each of your buyers values $50 and you subscribe to a PRO 400 at $49, you will get the money back as long as the bot helps you convert one more visitor into buying client, through 400 chats. And you earn additional $51 if the bot converts two…

    1. geekSerious says:

      Hi Vic,

      Thanks for describing it in those terms. I can see where it would be very useful to have that for sites that have specific things they want to convey to their users.

      When Michael was describing the questions he asked, it sounded like it was being promoted as a “siri” – with global questions and answers.

      Makes much more sense when thinking in terms of answering questions like “what is your return policy?” or “Do you accept American Express?”. Even a little bit of training like that would be a benefit.

      I take back what I said about it being a computer that tells people that computers are stupid 🙂

      Michael Simmons

      1. Vic Duan says:

        Oh, Mike, you’re so kind to take back the words but you don’t have to. I think the biggest barrier to spread the use of chat bot is people have a perception bots are stupid – they do if we compare them to human.

        Think about, do people refuse to browse web because web pages lack of intelligence? Do people stop driving because automobiles are not smart? They don’t because they don’t think web pages or automobiles have to be smart. But, they give a higher expectation to bots despite the bots are actually codes, sames as any other web applications or even web pages.

        We observed some users keep chatting with the bot for several hours and finally get very emotional in telling the bot she’s stupid or smart. I believe the situation will change as the bots get more common on web, like a comment form or contact form. When a chat widget appears, they just think “good, I get an answer.” That’s it.

        Cheers!
        Vic

  4. Viral says:

    when Acobot launches officially out of beta, we have to pay?

    1. Vic Duan says:

      Yes, we have to charge a small sum to fund the development and services in the future. You might want to know for a chat bot of similar performance, the clients have to pay much for, saying $15,000/month, before Acobot. Another good news is Acobot will be permanently free to websites built for pleasure.

  5. Melanie says:

    Having a live bot to chat is good for socializing such as dating and adult websites. In my opinion, it’s tough to program a live bot to act like a real human being. Eventually, people will realized they are chatting with a bot after sometime and they will not chat anymore. This could potentially increase revenue for some websites, but I think the expense will overweight the revenue.

    1. Vic Duan says:

      Melanie, thanks for the comments. I have two points to share related to your comments. Firstly a chat bot doesn’t have to act like a real human being for her purpose (conversion rate optimization etc.), as mentioned in the reply to Micheal Simmons above. Our experiments indicate people don’t always prefer real person than robot in getting support. As whole the website visitors intend to start chats more where they know they will interact with a bot because chatting a real person would give them a sense of obligation (to buy). The key is whether the bot can give users helpful answers. If yes, they will love to use the services more.

  6. Joy Smith says:

    I tired the demo and found it to be very frustrating. It’s just not for me and I’d rather my readers know I’m real.

      1. Vic Duan says:

        Hi Joy, can you let us know what problems you encountered? We’re very happy to help you here. Feel free to drop us a line at support at acosys dot com.

Comments are closed.