Technology can either be a boon or a bane, depending on how it works for your business. When the .com bubble happened, several startups did really well instantly. However, when the inevitable popping of the bubble happened, a lot of these startups failed miserably. Over the years, while we have looked at case studies of different apps which succeeded, no one really thought of stopping and looking at the apps which failed. Here is looking at some really brilliant apps and startups that should have done well, but did miserably instead.
1. Google Wave
Google Wave, when it launched, was supposed to change the communication game forever. This app was created to help those people who thought communicating on the app store was extremely annoying. While on the front of things, this app looked exciting and promised a lot of change, it failed to make the right mark. A lot of things went wrong for Google Wave, the main reason being not a lot of people knew how the app functioned. Perhaps one of the major mistakes the makers did with this app was that they thought they could ride on the success of Google’s popularity. Unfortunately, Google Wave shut down six months after it came on the app store and clearly, their marketing strategy was not up to the mark!
Credited to be one of the first social media platforms similar to the ones we see today, Friendster came to be in the year 2002. Founded a year before Tom Anderson created MySpace, Friendster secured close to $ 50 million funding from the time of its inception. Friendster grew in popularity because it connected friends to each other and did not let you connect with anonymous people. However, it failed because the makers did not want to ride with the times and kept their user experience to a very basic level. If they had capitalised on the trends at the time, Friendster would have grown to be a really huge success. In fact, when they were at their peak, they had even gotten an offer from Google for a buyout of $ 30 million and had they accepted the buyout, the world of social media would have been quite different today.
When GovWorks.com was founded, it was created with the aim of making everyone’s (from government officials’ to citizens’) lives easier. From letting government officials track their daily activities to letting citizens pay their bills, book tickets and look up information about their city, GovWorks.com had everything in place for the making of a really great connector! However, GovWorks.com failed only 3 years after its inception. Growing from a team of only 8 people in the year 1998, this platform had 250 employees when things started going bad. Disagreements and power struggles within the management, along with the lack of elimination of the software’s bugs caused the failure of this innovative platform.
An example of another app that failed despite receiving a lot of funding, Quixey’s downfall was the perfect example of an app that failed because it got too arrogant with its position in the market. Quixey was designed to become the digital assistant of today, with the main aim of allowing users to find content on the different apps installed on their phones. Immediately after the launch, Quixey raised $ 50 million from Alibaba in a series C funding round. However, once Alibaba’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) went through in September 2014, the e commerce platform started reevaluating its interest in Quixey and decided it wanted out. This is when trouble started brewing and Quixey went under the gun. A couple of years later, with no investments coming through and debt piling up, Quixey was forced to downsize, eventually leading to liquidation.
Aimed to be an innovative photo sharing app between friends and strangers alike, Colour was an extremely innovative app at a time when people were running on the wave of rip offs. With just the right amount of funding to back its idea, a creatively designed website and users waiting to try the new app out, Colour had it all. However, right after it launched, users started realising there was something off with this photo sharing app. Lack of privacy functions and a poorly designed interface were the primary reasons for the growing wave of disappointment in the users. However, instead of trying to fix the bugs, the app came back as an app that let users live stream videos from Facebook. Unfortunately for the makers, while the idea was innovative, the damage from earlier was too great and no one wanted to accept the new change. The lesson here? Fix what is broken and do not try new things till you know it is going to work for sure!
Apps fail all the time but what hurts the most is that if the road map for these apps were planned well, then they could have been massive successes right from the day they were launched!