So FuckedCompany is no more and Valleywag has been downshifted to a column on Gawker, but there is still a need for schadenfreude when some web start-ups become intimate with economic reality. I mean someone has to pay for all that online storage, bandwidth and promotional cupcakes?
Normally I would run a deadpool on which start-ups are likely to go POP!, but given that one can run them on the proverbial oily rag it takes the science out of it. Instead I decided to focus on which services I would like to see come to a premature end, regardless of their fiscal health.
Its not because they are are bad (some of them are pretty good) but with too much choice comes increased consumer dissonance. At the moment its like stepping out on to the floor of the department store with 3,000 different types of jeans, but none of them are quite the right combination of colour, style, fit and have the right number of pockets for you:
- Facebook – its lost its utility as it has been discovered by everybody, its a cumbersome overweight address book that’s hard to use as such. Its advertising platform is too intrusive (try changing your relationship status to single and see what happens). Adium makes their new IM platform usable, but that’s still no excuse
- Pownce – had some neat ideas on interface design over Twitter, but Plurk is smarter and well Twitter is just more usable. It wasn’t surprising that SixApart shut it down
- Zooomr – flickr exists, get over it
- Widget sites – kill’em all and let God sort them out. Just because you can encourage people to make their blog or social media profile look like Lewis Hamilton’s overalls doesn’t mean that you should. Too much poor judgement in this sector gives it a bad reputation
- ecademy – first of all you have to give ecademy respect for being LinkedIn before it was a twinkle in a coders eye. But LinkedIn is here now and I can unsubscribe from it and delete my profile (which I haven’t been able to do on ecademy)
- Kelkoo – I can’t remember the last time I successfully bought anything through this site. The selection seems to be going downhill, though it does seem to a kind of chav consumer zeitgeist. Yahoo! offloading this, once they had got their comparison shopping smarts made perfect sense