2012, when all the internet start-ups close down

This is obviously an exaggeration. But my point is that this year, I’ve seen three different sites just shut down in a very short time-frame. Two occurred on the same day, 5th March! It lead me to sit on a blog post for almost three weeks and then begin writing it, which leads me to believe that maybe I’m just over-exaggerating. Maybe deaths really do come in threes. I don’t have the answers. But I can spot coincidence as if it’s part of a pattern. 

1. DeviceKnit

I signed up for this two years ago. The idea was that you could take all of the devices that you have and learn to utilise them and combine them in new and innovative ways. Less of an engineer’s website, and more like a tinkerer’s playground, it was the site that taught me that I could download TVersity, and run videos from my computer to my TV through my PlayStation 3. There were other great tech tips to show up on the site. I loved the idea, but it was difficult to really navigate around the site to find stuff I wanted. Or, maybe it was meant more for people to offer their electronics recipes, and less for finding out what you can do with your own devices. Either way, the site closed its doors late in February.

2. Brizzly

Brizzly integrated with your social media accounts into one place and provided some sort of chatting features. It was sort of like a combination site, like Hootsuite, but with a bear instead of an owl. You could read everyone’s updates in one place, you could blast the same update to your Facebook, your Twitter, and . . . oh, that’s all they really supported Well, in the case of Brizzly, the company behind the site was bought by AOL, and the team went straight into integrating some of Brizzly’s core features into the next version of AIM. Left with updating AIM, there was no point in keeping this company alive.

3. Amplify

I don’t even remember what it was or why I signed up for it. I had to dig up this blog post from Clipboard to find out exactly who they were and why they shut down. Still didn’t help. Well, it’s gone now, and it wasn’t even a blip on my radar.

Actually, there seems to be a common thread among all of these sites. They were not much more than a blip on my radar. DeviceKnit was a really cool idea, and I really wish it had succeeded. Brizzly was neat, but they were already doing what Hootsuite was doing — combining multiple social media accounts into one — but not nearly as well. Then they were picked up by a fading red giant in the online social realm, and quickly absorbed by their massive pull.

Amplify was just another social networking site, like Twitter. Its difference was that you could ‘clip’ sections from a site and post only that. Anyway, it didn’t really bring much innovation. More of the same? DON’T MIND IF I DO. Wait, actually, I have Twitter already. but thanks for the offer.

In order to have a really cool website that everyone loves, where you can make mad bank, you really do need a magic touch. What did Twitter do that made me abandon Plurk? Why did Buzznet thrive for so long? Why did Flickr thrive for so much longer, despite being acquired by Yahoo!?

Part of the answer is the community. The people you get on a site, that you ‘make friends with’ in the digital realm, really help pull you in. The definition of a successful website nowadays is, get all of your friends on it, or make new friends.

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