10 Glorious Social Networks that Failed Miserably

The unqualified success of such popular sites as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn makes it easy to forget that the social networking landscape is littered with the wreckage of many who have gone down in flames. You know the ones… sites that have fallen short of catching on, clones which just couldn’t match that winning formula. Here’s a list of ten social networking attempts that failed miserably:

  1. MySpace – Tacky profile pages and a muddled layout doomed this site from the start, attracting all the wrong kind of networkers. Beyond the tweens and garage band profiles, MySpace never quite caught on with the public to generate any real networking to the extent it could weather the approaching Facebook tidal wave.
  2. Friendster – If only this one had been managed by competent hands, it could have been a contender. In its heyday, Friendster had well over 100 million users, but it never had the user-friendliness of Facebook, nor its reach. It was undone by a combination of poor business management and lack of forward thinking.
  3. The Hub – This was like a cross between a Sunday newspaper ad insert and a corporate-sponsored after-school special, the corporate sponsor being Wal-Mart, the site’s owner. It was a sham from the get-go, and teens smelled it from a mile away.
  4. Ping – Apple’s foray into the social networking world, Ping was offered as part of iTunes and was meant to be a music-lover’s networking media where fans could interface with stars. As with many other failed attempts, Ping simply didn’t offer anything that users didn’t already have in existing, and superior sites like Twitter and Facebook.
  5. ConnectU – perhaps the Betamax of social media sites, ConnectU was the one that Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard classmates had started and was to have included him. Zuckerberg went with Facebook instead and the rest, after some messy litigation, was history – as was ConnectU.
  6. Yahoo!Buzz – This was a failed attempt at a Digg clone, basically, with users voting stories up or down. It wasn’t done as well, didn’t go over well, and therefore didn’t do very well.
  7. VitalSkate – was the answer to a question that it turns out no one was really asking. Namely, Could someone please come up with a social networking site exclusively for skaters and extreme sports nuts that offers nothing else we can’t already get from Facebook?
  8. Orkut – Spam, worms, hate groups, more spam and, uh, child pornography and drug dealers. Hey, what’s not to like? Sign us up! This site was Google’s most ignominious failed attempt at social networking to date.
  9. Eons.com – Whoever the genius was who decided that eons was a clever term for a site aimed at users over 50 didn’t exactly have his finger on the pulse of his target audience, which turned out to be fainter than, oh never mind.
  10. Google Buzz – Another in a seemingly annual Google event, where they concoct a new Facebook killer site. This one had privacy issues, so it was scrapped, sort of, and is now essentially back as Google Buzz 2.0, better known as Google+.
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