15 Jun 6 Social Media Sites that Died Off (And Why)
Social media has gone through tons of growth spurts since it took off in the early 2000s. While certain platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have stuck like glue, others have shuffled off this mortal coil or are remarkably close to it. But hey, not everything is meant to last, especially when it comes to the already-fleeting-by-nature social media.
Before Facebook became the go-to social platform for baby boomers, the founder of Monster.com created Eons in hopes of doing the same thing. Launched in 2006, Eons was designed as a casual networking centre for people over 40. Yet despite the millions of dollars in funding it received, lack of user interested caused it to tank by 2012. Although a tremendous bummer, Eons’ failure teaches ambitious techies not to rely too heavily on a single demographic to support a social site.
The predecessor of MySpace and Facebook, Friendster was founded as a standard social networking site in 2002 (and was rebranded as a gaming platform in 2011). It was one of the very first sites that allowed users to share photos and videos online, as well as news and event info.
Seems pretty good, right? Well, it certainly was for a while. During its prime, Friendster had over 150 million users! Its 2015 demise can be attributed to a bad redesign, increasingly slow loading times, and growing competition from the aforementioned MySpace and Facebook.
Sure, MySpace might be one culprit of Friendster’s downfall but its own fate didn’t end up being that great either, at least as it currently stands.
Created in in 2003, MySpace was a hip platform aimed at younger users. It had the basic networking capabilities of Friendster with the added bonus of letting people connect with the latest musical artists. (To the chagrin of some, the latter became MySpace’s dominant feature, but I digress.)
So what happened? Well, MySpace just couldn’t keep up with the times. This is a problem a lot of sites on this list faced. In MySpace’s case, its inability to adapt to evolving user preferences caused it to fade out of most people’s consciousness. It still exists, though…we think?
Open Diary’s first incarnation, launched in 1998, was a success for a while. It spearheaded the blog website format later apparent in other platforms like LiveJournal, Tumblr, and Xanga. Not only did it allow users to publish their own content, it also let them follow other members and comment on their posts.
Things were hunky dory until two security breaches in 2004 and 2008 caused the site to lose most of its funds, requiring users to pay for subscriptions. Surrounded by free alternatives, people ditched Open Diary like an old rug and it was shut down in 2014.
As of 2018, efforts are being made to revamp Open Diary. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.
Tying a social media platform to a music sharing giant like iTunes sounds like a pretty cool idea, and in 2010, it happened. ITunes Ping allowed people to connect with friends and musical artists alike, as well as share music files. Unfortunately, it only really worked for iPhone owners, which greatly limited Ping’s user base. This problem, compounded by growing spam issues, prompted Apple to close Ping in 2012.
Google + was designed to be a sort of Facebook-meets-LinkedIn hybrid. Although it certainly possesses professional, promotional, and social characteristics it just didn’t catch on. It was too superfluous. Those who want to casually interact with their friends could do so on Facebook. Occupation-oriented individuals used LinkedIn. And the people who wanted to sell stuff? Well, there were plenty of other platforms available that allowed them to do so. No one seemed to need Google +.
Now, Google + is still kicking but if Google doesn’t give people a new reason to use it, it probably won’t be around for much longer.
It’s intriguing that some social media websites rock while others whither away. The above examples of failed sites, along with others we haven’t mentioned, show that social media is a tough nut to crack. Creating a successful networking site is almost entirely dependent on intuitively knowing what users want, and implementing that. If you’ve managed to do it, kudos. You’re probably loaded right now.