Internet was not a thing in the early 2000s. As only educated people and mostly web experts were only able to use it. As the interface was highly technical. It was not even 5% of what it appears today. Facebook emerged as one of the greatest Social media platforms. Since a dropout genius thought he could connect the world. And Mark Zuckerberg did it already. From then on, the competition in social media became widespread. But some popular social media platforms failed like anything. As they thought they could make a great social platform. But they didn’t. They miserably failed.
Social media platforms that failed and Why?
Facebook had a lot of advantages. It got widely popular. As it was the first platform to offer interaction between people. People started using it for anything, sharing, chats, and advertising. Such a platform is much valuable. As marketing can be done easily.
Other emerging social media platforms did offer similar advantages. But they were not able to compete with Facebook.
Since it was completely able to grasp, what people needed. As years passed, it introduced technology, better systems online, user compatibility, Security. Cross-platform usage was also available, starting from java apps. Most importantly, everything was available for free.
While other platforms did provide that, they weren’t able to satisfy users. Lack of features, optimizations, status systems, too much complex interface made these very uncommon. And at last, most users switched back to Facebook.
Let us have a look at some social media platforms that failed and were never meant to be one.
Social media is a place for interaction. Vine was a kind of microblogging platform, via small video clips. The feature did became popular. It is now available on WhatsApp and Facebook as stories (for a longer time). Vine became widely popular at that time for this.
As small artists and creators made great content in this small time window, on comedy too. Twitter embeddable fast-paced loops gave people more content to see. YouTube did not have that feature, for its vlogs. Forget blogs, six seconds was not even enough to explain your work to the audience. As context was compulsory.
This feature became a good tool for those activists. As they started posting small clips of news all over the platform. Incidents are similar like Police surrounding Michael brown’s body, posted by Antonio, bombings outside the US embassy that happened in Turkey, protests in Brazil (2013) and more.
It became more of a news platform that contained such shocking things. Less of a social media platform as it went to become. But officially Vine shut down, as it was not able to keep it up with others. The video function feature was a good tool. Although Facebook, Instagram were providing it too. Another strike to it.
Vine users were notified to grab their content asap via available tools. Twitter even owned it to increase its performance.
Well, this one got down due to its inevitable feature. Orkut was mostly launched by google, to up its social media strategy. It only succeeded in a small-time, but it shredded out expectations like anything. Orkut could have been a great platform for user interaction.
Since, it became famous all over India, Brazil. A hell of 27M users, 1/7th of what Facebook initially had at that time. Orkut’s founder Orkut Buyukkokten dreamed it up mostly as a dating site. (that always works). It was seen as a new matrix for romance to the new Yorker. Users can rate friends, based on what they feel.
New Yorker mentioned it as a platform where users can rate their friends based on smiley faces, ice cubes, and hearts. It sounded for trustworthiness, coolness, and sexiness.
The trick did work. Users just plumbed into Orkut like bees. For 10 years it worked out magic, even in earnings. While Facebook dominated well, as it had better strategies. Better initiatives with games, status feed (now that’s AI managed), like button(reactions now).
More, it had a professional look with an option for checking mutual friends. That’s how Facebook made its way, while Orkut couldn’t. It was one of the best Social media platforms that failed well.
3. Yik Yak
The app did encourage strong growth for social media, as it was fast and easy to use. Yik Yak was one of those apps like Facebook with a status upload feature. Common in the iOS platform, it immediately gained a lot of popularity. Even rated as the third most downloaded app over 1.8M, just in a month.
It already nailed Facebook with better users’ integrity and widespread market. Yik Yak would have been a proper social media platform. Only if it had a profile feature for non-anonymity.
Wondering how it all went wrong? The app creator Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington did not provide any profile ID at all. Users can just sign in and upload, post statuses in a 5-mile radius.
Of course, high schools got their attention. Around 1.6K schools were already on the platform. They started heavily using the app. Posts were rated as good to bad, even worse than gave yik yak borne threats. Right on the online platform.
These included bomb threats, white to black student kills, rape threats and more. All these made most of the user’s life miserable. Schools were most affected as nobody knew if it was a real thing or just a prank.
The app was sued over by many officials for such things. The court order several orders to lock down the app near schools and high schools. Even some people filed complaints against the schools too.
Yik Yak had everything to dominate over in the social media platform. It did reach its peak value, which even Facebook took some time to accommodate. But one wrong decision made it all worse.
Popular by games and apps, Facebook went on a good verge. OpenSocial did try to compete with that. It already had got a bunch of independent developers, just to do that. More on the spot, it aimed to distribute apps across all sites by standardized APIs.
While the initiative was good, follow up was not. Brian Balfour, the Viximio founder, mentioned the same thing. Developers always had to deal with complexities and languages to build their games. It was different for every network, that only increased problems.
While Facebook had its one in all communities for games and apps. Users can interact and hover over them when using the platform. Crossplay did not matter as a lot of users were on it already. Especially gamers and the gaming community. On the same grounds, OpenSocial got with a mess.
As a gaming community requires everything to be done fast and reliable. Bugs are hated the most. Updates are always welcomed. New releases especially. All of it was hard to follow for the platform. Thus, it declined to a poor defeat.
Google was already in front of social media with Google mail. Or Gmail. Sarcastically, it was just 14% relative. As Gmail is highly used for business and work purposes. Not that great platform for chats. At that time, Microsoft did integrate Gmail into its email app.
It provided a prominent, fast, reliable and easy to use the messaging feature. Just by email, it was faster than Facebook’s. It would have been a great feature to work and chat on the same platform.
Then came Google Plus. Provided that it used the Google account, which relieved us from hassles of logins and accounts. But it had worse cons. Google Plus was another great social media platform that failed so badly.
The UI did not fit in. Google Plus tried to fit in features of Facebook, LinkedIn, iPhone messages into one. But the box grade interface was slow to keep up with the drop-down menus. Speed was an issue already. Users got too many recommendations, 300% more than what Facebook does.
Finding your friends, family, likes, favorites was tougher. Morgan Knutson added by saying, the UI was just a godforsaken piece of crap. He even described the teams working who thought it as a social graph.
Security was tight. But collecting the user’s data was more of a pain in the back. Unlike now, Google Plus got into tracking data for all users on the internet. Especially with chrome, the user profile popped in top of the browser.
Literally, in every site, they visited. After it was realized, google plus tracked data for better recommendations. Understanding who you are. That was 40% acceptable to users.
But not able to use Google services without a Google Plus? that’s unacceptable. It already collected data from millions of accounts. All these declined Google Plus drastically, it was immediately shut down in 2018.
Facebook has friends limits over 5K. The path only had a limit of over just 50 friends. Choose your family or friends. Then you will be out of choices for whom to choose and keep. While founders of Path thought that people could only have a few friends. Regarded more as a personal network, the designers increased the limit to 150.
This was a better number than before based on Dunbar’s number. Keeping life personal and circle small was a better initiative. The app succeeded by a good margin. Just 1.5M downloads in a month. That’s crazy. The designers and creators team made the app worth over $500M by the year 2013. It even declined a google offer for $100M just to be better on itself.
By that time, it became a usual Facebook competitor. Kristen Bischoff commented at HATCHEDit that path might become a Facebook Alternative. The path had a good run. But its new feature grabbing of phone book contacts for users landed it up with a fine. Not just some money, but over $800K clear FTC fine.
Just for complying with user’s contacts below 13 years of age. It increased friend limit to 500 number as it began to fail. It was bought by Daum Kakao, a Korean communications company for a good amount. But initially, it shut down in the year 2018, due to severe competition.
Ello was nowhere to be near Facebook. It had a good load of features, a simple background, and great sans-seriff text. While it sent invites for anti-Facebook with no ads at all. Moreover quality mattered with Ello. As HD grade photos and the clean text was this platform’s strength.
The network did cross paths with Facebook for users to sign in, but acceptance was immovable. Ello was launched in the year 2014, with an edict of “You are not a product” that meant something. That did not stop users from getting into Ello, as quick as a month later. Requests rate did strive up to a rate of 34K/hour. And the numbers went up gradually.
The downfall of Ello was its fault. They did mention to one of those blogs, as replacing Facebook was never their destiny. Since the platform had a lot of bugs. As the user’s requests increased, the developers experienced a lot of difficulties. They put requests on hold, to balance the count.
Ello was mostly in beta testing, designers were still on the developing grounds. No sort of income yet from any ads or subscription fees. The chief UX Designer Kim mentioned how it all went wrong. Unpaired and broken functions, style compatibility issues over Systems, unclear information basis.
The interface got just more complex and buggy to use. Although the platform still exists, you can continue as a user from the sign in.
Everybody knows Facebook. As it is one of the best social media platforms in existence. Where’s connect U? It’s still there as an idea. But no one knows that it was first to be released. Even before Facebook came into an idea.
Zuckerberg was in the blame as he stole his classmates’ idea of a good social platform. One that would have existed today. That’s ConnectU.
The Gemini boss brothers and Divya Narendra blame Zuckerberg as he stole their dating site idea. Quite similar, it was supposed to be a student/alumni dating network “ConnectU”. The name does sound good and weird simultaneously.
They thought of early as 2002, when these were at college. Mark was ordered to finish coding ConnectU, but he instead created Facebook. Although the idea did not match at all to a dating site. Since Facebook does not look like a dating site at all.Social media platforms that failed
ConnectU was not launched, but instead, alternatives were announced. connect came to their minds. With ConnectU feature to integrate connections from other social platforms. Even from Facebook.
While Facebook at its peak of success, it got sued by the previous minds. By Winklevoss brothers and Narendra for fraud, allegations copyright infringement and Secret trading.
Although it once got mentioned that Facebook paid over $69M in shares and cash. The wrath did come to an end. As now Narendra works for facebook on TV. While the Voss brothers are now bitcoin CEOs. Still, ConnectU did fail to a great leap.
Why did only Facebook succeed over time?
Before we move on to those unlucky platforms, let’s have a quick view of why Facebook did it. The rich earning did make things quite easier. But most importantly, the idea of how to make a better platform.
On what users want. Facebook not just made it easier to stay connected to someone’s friends. It even made it easier for developers to implement their ideas.
Since one person can’t build such a great platform all by himself. For that, he needs a lot of minds to work together. That happened quickly. On the other hand, Simplicity is what everyone wants. In almost everything.
Even today, Facebook is way simple to deal with. Like it was 13 years ago. Few customizations made it great, but 70% of it is still the old UI. While most platforms did launder for money, Facebook didn’t. Zuckerberg only kept thinking on how to make his platform the best. Money mattered later (as he already had a lot of it).