6 Social Media Networks That Just Couldn’t Make It Happen

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Many have tried, most have failed. I’m talking about the dozens of social media networks that have come and gone throughout the years, each one trying to be better than the next. Here are the top 6 social networks that just couldn’t quite make it happen.

RIP.

Friendster (2002)

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Current status: Inactive

Why it failed: Friendster put way too much emphasis on the media and not enough on the social. The service allowed users to contact other members, maintain those contacts, and share online content/media with those people. Users could share videos, photos, messages and comments with other members via profiles and networks.  Some consider it one of the originals and even the “grandfather” of social networks. Friendster was considered the top online social network service until around April 2004 when it was overtaken by MySpace in terms of page views, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.  “First the users in the outer cores start to leave, lowering the benefits of inner cores, cascading through the network towards the core users, and thus unraveling,” -David Garcia, professor at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Because strong connections within the network unraveled, so did the whole thing. Friendster has since redesigned itself as a social gaming platform. 

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MySpace (2003)

giphy (8)Current status: Active

Why it failed: Myspace was a social networking site by Tom Anderson (Myspace Tom) and Chris DeWolfe. Myspace has seen a continuing loss of membership, and there are several suggestions for its demise. Truly, I believe Facebook killed the Myspace star. Myspace had begun to seem “uncool” and people found better ways to connect with each other through Facebook. Myspace has since had better luck becoming a music platform with support from artists such as Justin Timberlake. However, they are still struggling to remain relevant as they have reduced their staff to about 200 from their original 1600 employees.

But how did things get so bad so fast? Critics point to Myspace’s consistent administrative and strategic blunders combined with a seeming inability to evolve with the social web it had helped inaugurate. That social web that would come to be more and more dominated by rival Facebook, leaving Myspace scrambling to keep up. “Myspace was created by people in the entertainment industry, not by technology gurus, therefore they could not innovate at the pace that they needed to compete,” Connie Chan, an analyst with Chess Media Group, told HuffPost in an email. “So when Facebook came on the scene, a newer better way to network with your friends surfaced – Facebook offered something as basic as being able to actually see your real friends vs. anonymous friends.”

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Orkut (2004)

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Current status: Dissolved in 2014

Why it failed: Orkut was a social networking website owned and operated by Google. The service was designed to help users meet new and old friends and maintain existing relationships. The website was named after its creator, Google employee Orkut Büyükkökten. Here’s how it worked: Each member can become a fan of any of the friends in their list and can also evaluate whether their friend is “Trustworthy”, “Cool”, “Sexy” on a scale of 1 to 3 (marked by icons) and this is aggregated in terms of a percentage.

Unlike Facebook, where a member can view profile details of people only on their network, Orkut allows anyone to visit anyone’s profile unless a potential visitor is on your “Ignore List”. More importantly, each member can also customize their profile preferences and can restrict information that appears on their profile from their friends and/or others (not on the friends list). Another feature is that any member can add any other member on Orkut to his/her “Crush List” and both of them will be informed only when both parties have added each other to their “Crush List”. Orkut’s competitors are other social networking sites including Myspace and Facebook. Similar to Facebook, users may also use a “like” button to share interests with friends. The truth is that the social network wasn’t designed to withstand a larger group of users without disturbing the content quality.

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Yahoo! Buzz (2008)

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Current status: Dissolved in 2011

Why it failed: Yahoo! Buzz was a community-based news article website, heavily derived from Digg, that combines the features of social bookmarking and syndication through a user interface that allows editorial control. Users could publish their own news stories, and link to their own or another person’s site that directs you to the full story. Therefore driving traffic to that person’s website and creating a larger market for sites that research and publish their own news articles and stories, such as CNN or smaller, privately owned websites.

Yahoo! created the service in hopes that it would drive larger traffic to their site and would give them an advantage over larger online media companies such as Google or MSN, which are Yahoo!’s largest competitors in terms of search engines that provide services and web features. Unlike other social networking sites, Buzz allowed the publisher to modify the submission. However, Yahoo’s user base didn’t care for the new addition and the fact that the platform was buggy, not that many websites were signed up for the service. In addition, Yahoo’s constant moderating meant that the stories they selected overruled user selections. Yahoo! announced on April 19, 2011, that it was killing off Buzz as of April 21, 2011. “This was a hard decision. However, this will help us focus on our core strengths and new innovations”, the company wrote in a brief statement.

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Google + (2011)

giphy (4)Current status: Active

Why it failed: “Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t invited to the party, built his own party.” Google+ never really caught on the same way social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn did. Technically, tons of people use Google+, since logging into it gives you access to Gmail, Google Drive, and all of Google’s other apps. But people aren’t actively using the social network aspect of it.Google + tried too hard to be like Facebook (as many others have). It was late to the market and seemed to just be there for the competition. Also, it didn’t move into mobile fast enough. Most of Facebook’s revenue now comes from mobile and their various apps. Instead, Google+ focused on high-resolution photos, which were great for desktop experiences and the Chromebook, but took a while to load on mobile.
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Ello (2014)

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Current status: Active

Why it failed: More commonly known as the “Anti-Facebook”, Ello boasts an ad-free platform that’s not constantly shoving brand content in your face. For some reason, rival social networks keep emerging-and keep failing. Ello is a great example of a social network that tried to challenge Facebook and lost. While the network is currently active, it probably won’t be for much longer. Ello is currently struggling to stay relevant in the increasingly saturated social network business.

Let’s be honest, this social network was created as a reaction to other bigger, and much more successful sites’ aka Facebook. Even Mark Zuckerberg knew it would fail because it can’t connect the world without being free. Ello plans on making its money with freemium offerings, like selling cosmetic upgrades to your layout-the same model that’s been working for publicly traded mobile gaming giants. In short, there’s no way a site like Ello can beat Facebook at its own game. Maybe Ello could have, but at the same time, the company is also almost a decade late into the game. So, unless it could bring something revolutionary on to the table, it is more or less doomed to fail.

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 Gone, but not forgotten.
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Rachael Morrill

Social Media Manager at Customer Magnetism. Rachael helps brands reach their full potential through creative content strategies and out of the box social media campaigns. She loves writing about trending topics and is the first to show you that new viral video. She considers herself a pop culture savant, loves reading the news and has a slight obsession with pugs.