In 2021, these six social networks are dead. While they pioneered some of the technology that powers the dominant social channels today, these once-thriving channels could not adapt and survive among a growing field of social media competitors. How did they die and where are they now?
Digg started in 2004 with the purpose of allowing people to share, discover, and recommend content. Users could submit webpages to the community who would upvote (digg) or downvote (bury) content – a feature that sites like reddit emulated. The nail in the coffin was in 2010 when Digg did away with the cornerstone of what their platform was based on – the ability to “democratize” content. Although it lives on in name, in 2012 Digg was sold in 3 parts.
Google+ was one of many Google’s unsuccessful iterations of a social network. In addition to providing users another social platform option, Google’s differentiator was that they incorporated the social “signals” gathered from Google+ into the ranking algorithm for organic search results. If users +1’d content, it would show user confidence which Google sees as important when delivering the ideal search results. The channel never gained enough traction and was finally shut down after it limped along for 8 years.
Other now-dead social channels owned by Google include but are not limited to Google Hangouts, Google Communities, Google Wave, Google Buzz, and Orkut.
Foursquare built on the idea of helping people find restaurants, coffee shops, and more, based on user reviews and recommendations (e.g., Yelp). To this, they added the ability to “check in,” allowing for real-time location sharing. Location sharing presented a new opportunity for restaurants to target potential customers and on-site patrons with hyper-targeted offers. Foursquare was also one of the first apps to layer on gamification – allowing users to earn badges, trophies, etc. based on their engagement in the platform. The company was re-imagined (and died) in 2014 when they broke into 2 different apps: Foursquare and Swarm. Swarm would focus solely on check-ins and Facebook would center around reviews and recommendations (e.g., Yelp).
Foursquare still thrives in 2021 as a data giant whose technology is used by Uber, Twitter, Snapchat, and Apple Maps to name a few. They make this list because they are dead to consumers today.
Tik Tok before there was Tik Tok, Vine launched in 2012 as a (short form) video-sharing social platform. Twitter bought Vine shortly after it launched and spent a few years trying to improve upon it. During this time, Instagram was acquired by Facebook and skyrocketed in popularity, and Snapchat was releasing new features to keep their users engaged. In 2016, Vine disabled uploads but let viewers keep watching and downloading content until it was permanently shut down the following year in 2017.
At one point, MySpace was the most popular social networking site in the world. It has always been a media platform at the core, with a social component baked in and one of the original “social networks” that gave way for Facebook and others. MySpace peaked in 2006 when they surpassed Google as the most visited website in the U.S. In 2009, however, Facebook overtook MySpace in unique users and it was downhill from there. They steadily lost users, and advertisers followed. In 2016 there was a hack where 360 million accounts were compromised but the deathblow was in 2019 when MySpace notified users that they accidentally deleted 12 years-worth of content 5 years ago and could not recover it. Monthly viewers dropped to 7 million.
Note that MySpace is not technically dead as they live on in other forms.
Club Penguin was one of the first social networks for kids. It was set in a virtual world and evolved into popular multiplayer game. Club Penguin was one of the first popular platforms that offered a paid membership option which gave you the chance to purchase virtual clothing, pets, etc. They grew active user accounts from 30 million in 2007 to 200 million in 2013. Even with ongoing theme updates and monthly penguin parties, Club Penguin just could not hold the attention of younger children and tweens. The tip of the iceberg was in 2017 when Club Penguin Island was released on mobile and desktop and was shut down just one year later in 2018. Club Penguin died because of their failure to compete with the explosion of apps that came into the market, aimed at younger kids and their parents.
With the growing number of social media platforms and evolution of longer-standing platforms, marketers must choose wisely where to invest resources and interact with their intended audience. At MoreVisibility we help our clients develop and refine their social media strategy, establish guidelines for in-channel communications, and even manage day-to-day posts and comments.
For more information about our social media services, call us today at 561.620.9682 or request a complimentary consultation.