Ten social networks that failed or died
The social network space is liitered with the carcasses of many former Orkuts. Here’s a partial list of some of the deceased or the walking dead:
1. Google Wave
Following the success of Orkut in countries like Brazil and India, Google decided to launch yet another social network aimed at the larger, untapped audience. Wave, launched in September 2009, was a real-time collaboration and communication tool which had email, instant messaging integration. It was taken down in August 2010 due to low user adoption rate as per the official Google blog. Google Shared Spaces (only for developers) was launched to fill in for Google Wave which later on was merged with Hangout developer API.
2. Google Buzz
Launched in February 2010, Buzz was another social network from Google, loosely inspired by Twitter but without any character limits. Google officially killed it on 15 Decemeber 2011. It was integrated into Gmail and users could post photos, links, videos and status messages. In fact, it was integrated with other Google services like Google Reader, Picasa, Google Lattitude, YouTube and Blogger as well. It was caught up in a privacy controversy which cost Google a $8.5 million lawsuit. The issue was highlighted when some Gmail users (who never signed up for Buzz) found their albums, email contact lists and Google Reader shares being made public.
3. Yahoo! Buzz
Launched in 2008, Yahoo! Buzz was an attempt at engaging more users. It was based on the model of social-news website Digg allowing users to vote for stories that they read online. In April 2011, it was killed as users were not interested in the platform at all. Moreover, not many publishing sites signed up with Yahoo to make it a success. Yahoo’s moderation meant that selected stories always overruled the ones selected by the users.
Started in 2004, Hi5 was one of the very few early social networking sites. It was purchased in 2011 by Tagged. It let users share pictures, status updates and user groups. It added games for users to play and by 2011 comScore reclassified it as a gaming site. It lost out to the growing popularity of Facebook though it is still around
Launched a year later after Friendster, MySpace was unique because it let users customize everything in a profile. The problem started when it was taken over by spammers, viruses and sexual predators. With the launch of Facebook, the site started losing ground. It was sold for $35 million in 2011 to Specific Media for far less than compared to what NewsCorp paid for it in 2005: $525 million.
7. iTunes Ping
Apple took music sharing to the social level by integrating Ping into iTunes. It is a platform where users can connect to their favourite artists online. Like the rest of the Apple ecosystem, the ability to connect to other networks was very limited. Though it is still active, the network lost out to Twitter and Facebook where social sharing of music is far more effective and easier.
The MySpace for old people, Eons.com was meant for people over the age of 50. Founded by Monster.com founder Jeffrey Taylor in 2006, the site couldn’t manage to survive even after getting $32 million in funding from bigwigs like Sequoia and General Catalyst. It is still around somehow but has now opened its doors to anyone over 3 years of age.
9. The Hub
Started by Wal-Mart for teenagers, The Hub was shut down within 3 months of its launch in July 2006. It was part of the retailer’s back-to-school campaign aimed at school students. They could upload pictures or videos or status updates along with a shopping list of the Wal-Mart products they wanted. The main reason for its failure was the plugging of Wal-Mart products along with fake profiles. The other reason was parents’ approval to activate the profile. No price for guessing why it didn’t become popular among kids.
This article has been corrected in reference to Diaspora’s current status. It is still active and running.
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