Which social network apps have flopped and why?
Too many new social media sites failed to engage enough users to last the distance. Read here to find out which social media apps flopped, and what was the reason.
We’ve all heard of, and perhaps even use the social media networks Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Twitter. But they’re not the only social websites and apps that serve the same purposes.
Over the years there have been many other social platforms that have launched… and not taken off. Remember Google+? The Hub? iTunes Ping? Digg? or Friendster? These are just a few examples.
It is similar to the phenomena of virtual casino platforms, where some may gain recognition among players, while others need to be included in usage, which leads to a loss in business.
In this article, we will look into social network apps that once existed but soon vanished from the social media landscape.
This social media platform by Google was launched in 2011 and was supposed to follow the footsteps of Facebook, Blogger, and Google Drive. However, it could not survive as a competitive social media platform.
The platform launched with 10 million users, and in a month it grew to 25 million. Within three years, Google+ had 300 million users signed up on its platform. Over time, Google+ went through redesigns with the addition of features that include the following:
- Circles: This feature was introduced to include the members based on the content type they liked, and with Circles, users could filter the content on their stream. For instance, while selecting Circles, only the relevant posts of the members of it were visible to the users on their stream.
- Communities: This feature was similar to the Facebook Pages where the communities created the non-individual pages.
- Google+ Local: This was an inclusive space that combined user experience to share photos, locations and reviews.
- Google+ Creative Kit: With this, the users could retouch photos and use tools to edit the colour blurring and other effects of them.
The purpose of the Google+ redesign was to make it simple and faster for users. However, users started spending less time on the platform, meaning Google needed to attract even more sign-ups. One of the criticisms that led to its ultimate downfall was the flawed design, which exposed the user’s information via API.
iTunes Ping was a music app that brought music to the social space and allowed the users to share and follow their favourite artists. They could also follow their friend’s music list and see what music content they were following.
The following feature of iTunes Ping was similar to Facebook, and users could follow each other based on their requests. Initially, it received buzz and excitement among users, however it ultimately failed. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Not enough users: There were not enough users actively engaged in iTunes Ping to create a successful, vibrant social network.
- Limited integration: The software was exclusive to Apple and didn’t integrate with other popular social networks like Twitter and Facebook, which prevented it from reaching more potential users.
- Spam accounts: Due to fake activities and accounts, the platform had a bad user experience.
- Incompatibility: As Apple’s focus shifted towards the upgrading of its other products, such as Apple Music, iTunes Ping got left behind, and there were no improvements and updates.
Friendster was one of the pioneering social media platforms launched in 2002, before Facebook and Twitter. However, it failed because it could not gain a big enough audience. The main reasons for its failure included:
- Technical challenges: The app was introduced at a time when digital communication was in its very early phase, and at the time, Friendster could not provide smooth and high-speed connectivity to users, which led to its demise.
- Lack of innovation: The social media platform was not open to innovation, and it stuck to the same interface; one which did not meet the users’ needs.
- Competitive pressure: Though Friendster originated way before the other social media platforms and apps, it could not evolve according to users’ requirements. Compared to emerging social media apps like Twitter, MySpace and Facebook, Friendster’ user experience was primitive. Meanwhile, other emerging apps offered innovative features which Friendster could not integrate into its platform.
- Copycat sites: On legal grounds, Friendster could not defend itself because many competitive sites were accused of patent violations. The company was drained of funds while fighting the legal battles.
- Poor management: The company had internal disputes which were not settled, and it kept on changing CEOs. The instability of the internal management could not help the company survive in the long run.
When social network apps are first launched, they are often an exciting novelty, and people rush to be early adopters and start building a profile and following on a platform. But to grow a successful social media app over time (and stay in business) you need to do more than be a short-lived trend.
You need to understand your audiences’ needs, attract enough users to build thriving community, and keep innovating to ensure you keep your users happy – and using your platform or app.