Failed Social Networks: A Case Study Of Their Decline

Less than 10 years ago, most of the world was constricted to online message boards and e-mail inboxes to manage their internet friendships. Today, we are bombarded with more information about people we hardly know, from sources that we are just getting used to, that it’s impossible to keep up with. The father of the social networking scene was, a well-known face (many of us were his friend), Tom. He and his MySpace brought together millions of users from all over the world, but just as soon as it arrived, it was gone. This will eventually happen to every site, and some of them never even got off the ground. Here are 3 such sites:

iTunes Ping

For those who can recall this one as anything more than a mysterious button on their iTunes panel that they were afraid to touch, you are certainly not alone. Ping had a notoriously mysterious platform, and most people didn’t have the patience to figure out a whole new social network when they had just been introduced to Facebook and Twitter. Although Apple had all the right intentions, and the funds to back it up, it was timing that killed their social brainchild.


In Google’s second attempt at a social networking (not many people remember Orkut outside of Brazil; it’s very popular there for some reason), they’ve set out of the gate at full speed. They already had a giant stash of users at their disposal, all those with Gmail accounts, or any of the plethora of other services they offer, were automatically turned into Google+ account holders. As in normal Google style, they did it without causing distress to their loyal audience, and this has worked to their success for the moment. But will it stand the test of time? Some experts say no.


Hoping to drive a wedge between Zuckerberg and his millions upon millions of highly addicted users, Diaspora came in with an angle of providing privacy over personal information; an area where the Facebook crew had been taking a beating in the press. The site launched with a nearly identical platform, which was a great way to transition people from one site to another; sort of sweep the rug out from under them. Possibly, their fatal error was attempting to cut Facebook of at the pass by not allowing their new users to post items from their Facebook news feed onto their Diaspora profiles. This was a major disappointment for those in transition, and it shows us that, while a site can turn to vapor in a short amount of time, it’s not going to happen overnight.

The lifespan of a social network has been just about the most unpredictable thing since the birth of the internet. Unlike other organizations, a social site’s health depends on an international democracy who can vote them out of their place at any moment. What seems to be the key to life is attracting whatever enormous number of people it takes to reach ‘the tipping point’. People don’t want to spend time on a site where they don’t know anyone, so it takes a lot more than consistently accumulating users; you’ve got to get the bulk of the lot all at once to capture the flag. Despite the difficulty, it is bound to happen one day.

Alex L. is a writer and internet marketing specialist for over 5 years. Alex recommends for all your web design, web development, e-commerce solutions, online marketing, SEO and post production services.

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