THE WORST SOCIAL NETWORK FAILS EVER
Every day, millions of people, from your little sibling to your Grandma, are waking up and checking their social media almost instantly. Social media is arguably the fastest growing industry of the past decade. When was the last time you walked down the street and didn’t pass at least one person looking down at their phone, typing away a tweet about how buses are always late, or sending a selfie to their best friend to keep up their (extremely important) snap-streak of 235 days? Social media is everywhere nowadays, and over the years, many companies have tried and failed to capitalise on this booming market. Have a look at these networks that thought they could be the next Facebook & Instagram, only to turn out to be internet relics not even a decade later:
Did you know that Wal-Mart created its very own social media network dedicated specifically to teenagers? Don’t worry, nobody else did either. Launched alongside the retail behemoth’s “Back to School” campaign, the network allowed them to share images and text posts similar to Facebook. Well, actually, exactly the same as Facebook. So, what features set The Hub apart from Zuckerberg’s global giant? Firstly, it required parental approval to actually sign up in the first place. This was a super-trendy idea that those rebellious teens could really get behind. “How could it get any better!?” we hear you cry. Well, have you ever been scrolling through Twitter, and thought “Hmm, I wish I could instantly share a list of items that I want from Wal-Mart as a really subtle hint for my friends to buy me things”? Don’t lie. The thing is though, when I was a teenager, my money had to be spent on really important things such as 35p Energy Drinks and trendy shoes that you’ll regret wearing by the time you turn sixteen. Whoever went to school with friends who would willingly splash hundreds on an inflatable hot-tub, probably didn’t have to worry about not be able to afford Wal-Mart products in the first place.
Oh, Yahoo. A fall from grace that was all but elegant, this corporate giant is an example of not all publicity being good publicity. Security breaches, poor search engine systems & slow-returning investments at creating a social network have tarnished this brand’s image in many people’s mind, with a purchase of popular blogging platform Tumblr not even being able to repair their reputation. Before the aforementioned acquisition, Yahoo tried its hand at social media with their own network, Buzz. The site focused on sharing original news articles, and relied on an upvoting system similar to Reddit in order to curate content on the community homepage. However, the network never saw a massive spike in consumers, catering for a small crowd of dedicated users instead. Yahoo announced shortly after that Buzz would be discontinued, as it was trying to focus on its “core competences” (*insert buzz-kill pun here*).
In this day & age, everything Apple touches turns to gold. This hasn’t always been the case, however. Back in 2010, Apple announced Ping, a social media network that was integrated directly into iTunes. Launched alongside iTunes v10, the initial push garnered over a million users across 23 countries. Strong start, right? Well, Ping’s honeymoon period didn’t last long. After making a point to showcase Facebook integration during the initial announcement, this feature was subtly removed before launch, isolating Apple’s project from the rest of the online world. To make matters worse for California’s dominating corporate, spammers quickly invaded the comment sections of large artists such as Lady Gaga & Bruno Mars, with very weak means of comment moderation available to users. Ping is now resting peacefully in Apple’s graveyard alongside the Mac Pro and our beloved headphone jack.
We’re all somewhat familiar with the barren wasteland of Google+. However, their most recent fail wasn’t Google’s first foray into the industry of social media. Back in 2009, Google launched Wave – a network that placed emphasis on communicating with others in a unique way. Wave included features such as character-by-character live typing and drag-and-drop desktop compatibility. However, this fresh outtake on social media was alienating for the general consumer, especially back in a time where social media was only just gaining mainstream traction. The whole premise of connection socially with people across the globe was a relatively new concept, so why take the risk with an even more confusing platform on top of that? Just a year after launch, Google axed the Wave project. Eventually, the big G would end up launching both Google Buzz & Google+, two networks that saw equally poor levels of success.
Ah, Meerkat. You truly were a revolutionary. Seemingly out of nowhere, Life on Air released an app that allowed users to livestream directly to their Twitter followers. At the time of launch, livestreams were only just being tested by social media behemoths such as Facebook and YouTube. Up until this point, livestreams weren’t common outside of the gaming scene, with services such as Twitch & MLG TV drawing the masses as opposed to the likes of Instagram & Snapchat. Meerkat provided a way for Facebook & Twitter users to have a direct interface with people and events around the world. The service quickly gained traction, seamlessly integrating into the public’s news feed. However, Twitter certainly wasn’t happy with the new kid in town becoming the popular one. Shortly after Meerkat’s initial boom, Periscope was released. While everyone believed Meerkat had grounded itself as the premium social media streaming service, Twitter’s project flew over the heads of its competitors. With smoother integration, more interactive features available to viewers, and a much bigger marketing budget, there was no denying that Twitter had won the war. Live on Air focused their in-house development on another app, Houseparty, just six months after launching Meerkat.
So, how many of those networks did you actually know existed? We wouldn’t blame you if you said none. Social Media is a huge industry, but a very dangerous one indeed. For every social network that succeeds, another ten fail. However, there may be a few of you out there who actually used these relics at some point. If so, we’d love to hear your best/worst memories with these services! Head over to Twitter and drop us a tweet at @DigitalPieLtd, we’ll be sharing your memories!