[Case Study]- 5 Dead Social Networks & Lessons to Learn From

Sep 7, 2017

Social network giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have taught us the new ways of communication. We have seen the power of social media and its effect on society.

When somebody asked you, what was the first social network you ever joined?

While many people will recall it being Twitter or Facebook, others might remember some less popular networks, like Orkut, Friendster, and Open Diary etc.

These primitive social networks are long forgotten, dead & drifted along with little to no growth, yet have important stories.

However, these networks have set the foundation for the social media giants we use today.

In this case study, we’ll tell you the stories of these once popular social networks that are now a part of the dead pool.

5 Social Media Sites That Failed Miserably

Remember Orkut? Remember Friendster? Remember Digg? Remember Yahoo! Buzz? I could go on and on. Where are they now?

They’re locked in our minds as isolated memories of nostalgia.

#1 Orkut

Founder(s)‎: ‎Orkut Büyükkökten
Founded‎: ‎2004
Shut Down:  2014

About Orkut

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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.

It allowed users to check out profiles, rate friends and add them to lists, and “like” other friends’ posts. At its peak, it had 300 million users around the world.

Why it failed?

Orkut was massively popular in developing nations, especially India and Brazil, but never reached widespread international popularity.

It had very basic privacy settings and people don’t feel secure enough and start to leave.

Advertisements on Orkut became intrusive and highly irritating.

Also, the Orkut team mentioned the growth of Google’s other social media resources as a reason to close the site. At the time, YouTube and Google+ were overtaking Orkut’s growth, so Google refocused on these platforms in a try to compete against Facebook.

#2 Friendster

Founders‎: ‎Jonathan Abrams
Founded:  2002
Shut down: 2015

About Friendster

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In 2011, Friendster rebranded itself and was launched as a social gaming site focused on providing users with entertainment and fun. It was one of the first platforms that allowed people to share videos, pictures, comments, and to chat.

In the end, it had roughly 115 million users around the world.

Why it failed?

Friendster lost the social networking battle because it lacked in technology, user-experience, and platform. Also, its failure has been attributed to its disastrous site redesign.

It wasn’t widely accepted by users’ friends and families, so their time was better spent on other networks where more of their real-world network namely, on Facebook and Myspace.

#3 Open Diary

Founder: Bruce Ableson
Founded: 1997
Shut Down: 2014

About Open Diary

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Open Diary was an online blogging and journaling website that set the base for features we see on modern blogs.

Writers could add friends and change privacy settings and even, it got expanded into different areas so, users could write about different themes together.

Why it failed?

After two major security breaks, falling subscription revenue headed the Open Diary team to start providing paid subscription options to recover its losses. This change led users towards free alternative blogging sites, such as Xanga and LiveJournal.

#4 Eons

Founder: Jeffrey C. Taylor
Founded: 2006
Shut Down: 2012

About Eons

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Eons was designed to be a social network for baby boomers and other internet users over age 40. It fixed age restrictions that stopped anyone under the age of 50 from joining. The site never experienced a huge boom in popularity, and in the end, it reached roughly 800,000 users.

Why it failed?

The age targeting was obstructive for a reason, but it also prevented the site from being widely popularized.

Also, in 2006, social media was just coming onto the horizon and wasn’t adopted widely enough to get a successful network out of such a small user group.

#5 Yahoo! Buzz

Owner: Yahoo
Launched: 2000
Shut Down: 2011

About Yahoo! Buzz

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Yahoo was the first to launch a social networking service with the name “Buzz.” It was a community-based news article website. Like Digg, Yahoo’s Buzz inspired users to share links to original news articles and include a brief snippet of their own content.

Why it failed?

The service was neglected because Yahoo is trying to focus on its core competencies to improve business – what a buzz kill.

Lessons you can learn from:

  • Meet your audience where they already are
  • Focus on your core strengths and new innovations
  • Provide helpful, actionable content that helps your audience learn skills
  • Optimize your blog content so it can easily be shared on social media
  • Experiment with new technologies and offerings to keep followers interacting with their brand more
  • Determine how your competitors are achieving success
  • Borrow techniques from your competitors and try to replicate it in your own marketing efforts
  • Be authentic and not overly self-promotional
  • Offer free tools, guides, and strategies for success that help your audience
  • Publish blog content with a diverse range
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