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Social Media Failures

25 Failed Social Media Startups & their Case Studies

Here are 25 social media startups that have shut down in the last years, analyses on their failure, and interviews with their founders.

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There are a lot of things to consider when building a new startup - where to get funding, how to validate your idea, and what features should the product have.

One of the challenges is finding a market that is willing to pay for your solution without even knowing what it is yet.

However, 90% of startups will fail and shut down.

In this article, you can find 25 failed Social Media startups as well as analyses on why they closed down.


25 Failed Social Media Startups

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Argyle Social

Argyle Social

The Argyle Social was a social media marketing tool. The leading social media platforms change their APIs every time, which led to their shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Adam Covati

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Marketing

  • Started in:

    2010

  • Closed in:

    2014

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

Crowdmix

Crowdmix

Crowdmix was a music streaming platform where people could listen and talk about their favorite bands. They spent £14M before having a working product.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Gareth Ingham, Ian Roberts

  • Country:

    United Kingdom

  • Industry:

    Music

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    100-250

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Mismanagement of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

Digg

Digg

Digg had the mission of "democratizing" the content and news that people saw. However, it missed lots of opportunities to become a thriving social network.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Kevin Rose

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2004

  • Closed in:

    Active

  • Nº of employees:

    50-100

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

Dopplr

Dopplr

Dopplr was a social travel network service. In 2009, Nokia acquired it for $20 million and the number of Dopplr users fell since then until shutting down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Dan Gillmor, Lisa Sounio, Marko Ahtisaari, Matt Jones, Taneli Tikka

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Travel

  • Started in:

    2007

  • Closed in:

    Active

  • Nº of employees:

    1-10

  • Funding Amount:

    No Data

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Acquisition Flu

You can read more about their failure here.

Formspring

Formspring

Formspring was an anonymous Q&A forum that grew to 1 million users in 2 months. This brought lots of cyberbullying on the site. They shut down after 4 years.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Ade Olonoh, John Wechsler

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2009

  • Closed in:

    2013

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Legal Challenges

You can read more about their failure here.

Frankly

Frankly

Frankly.me was a Q&A social platform that wasn’t able to raise the necessary round of funding. That is why the CEO of Frankly decided to shut it down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Abhishek Gupta, Nikunj Jain

  • Country:

    India

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2014

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    50-100

  • Funding Amount:

    < $1M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of PMF

You can read more about their failure here.

Friendster

Friendster

Friendster was a social gaming site widely popular in Asia. It never put emphasis on the social news feed feature, leading to poor usage and registrations.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Jonathan Abrams

  • Country:

    Philippines

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2001

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of PMF

You can read more about their failure here.

Gowalla

Gowalla

Gowalla was a location-based social platform that allowed users to share their location. It tried to do many things at once, and shut down after 5 years.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Josh Williams, Scott Raymond

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2007

  • Closed in:

    2013

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

Moped

Moped

Moped was a free social app. It had not enough entertaining and fast-growing content that could attract a broad mass of users. It closed after 16 years.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Schuyler Deerman

  • Country:

    Germany

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    1998

  • Closed in:

    2014

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    No Market Need

You can read more about their failure here.

MySpace

MySpace

MySpace became the most popular social networking site before Facebook. After competing with them, they decided to repurpose it as a platform for artists.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Aber Whitcomb, Brad Greenspan, Chris DeWolfe, Colin Digiaro, Josh Berman, Michael Addicott, Tom Anderson

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2003

  • Closed in:

    Active

  • Nº of employees:

    250-500

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Multiple Reasons

You can read more about their failure here.

Salorix

Salorix

Salorix offered an engagement platform for brands. It closed down because of its inability to raise money after its investors stopped supporting it.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Santanu Bhattacharya

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Analytics

  • Started in:

    2009

  • Closed in:

    2014

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Management

You can read more about their failure here.

Secret

Secret

Secret was an app that allowed users to post content anonymously. Active users rapidly declined after 18 months from its launch and cyberbullying emerged.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Chrys Bader-Wechseler, David Byttow

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Legal Challenges

You can read more about their failure here.

Selltag

Selltag

Selltag was a web-based buy & sell platform. The CEO realized their business model would not be sustainable in the long term and shut it down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Javier Escribano, Ruben Colomer, Juan Luis Hortelano, Walter Kobylanski

  • Country:

    Spain

  • Industry:

    e-Commerce

  • Started in:

    2014

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    < $1M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Failure to Pivot

You can read more about their failure here.

TeeBeeDee

TeeBeeDee

TeeBeeDee was a social network aimed at people over 40 to share their experiences. They weren’t able to grow their user base fast enough to survive.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    David Markus, Jon Brandt, Robin Wolaner, Todd Basche

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2007

  • Closed in:

    2009

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Business Model

You can read more about their failure here.

Vine

Vine

What happened to Vine?! Why did it shut down? When? Does TikTok face the same risk? Here's our detailed analysis.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Colin Kroll, Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2012

  • Closed in:

    2017

  • Nº of employees:

    50-100

  • Funding Amount:

    No Data

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Multiple Reasons

You can read more about their failure here.

Yik Yak

Yik Yak

What was Yik Yak? Why was it shut down? Are there any alternatives nowadays? Find the answers to these questions and more in this article.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Brooks Buffington, Tyler Droll, Will Jamieson

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2017

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Legal Challenges

You can read more about their failure here.

BeehiveID

BeehiveID

BeehiveID was a startup on the dating market, that identified online accounts created for fraudulent use. Techstars and RightSide Capital decided to invest $70K on their business. However, after some months BeehiveID closed their doors. Being too dependent on Facebook data killed their startup.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Mary Haskett

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Funding Amount:

    < $100K

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Dependence on Others

You can read more about their failure here.

Creator Growth Lab

Creator Growth Lab

Andrew Kamphey has started several projects related to creators and influencer marketing. One of them was Creator Growth Lab, a tool to help Instagram creators grow by themselves. He invested $5,000, never made a penny, and realized there was no need for that product.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Andrew Kamphey

  • Country:

    Indonesia

  • Industry:

    Analytics

  • Started in:

    2018

  • Closed in:

    2019

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Dependence on Others

You can read more about their failure here.

Hashtag Pirate

Hashtag Pirate

Nicolas is an IT support engineer who built Hashtag Pirate, an Instagram hashtag search engine. He hired a freelance developer and, once launched, he put a big focus on SEO. Things were going pretty well. However, in 2015 Instagram announced changes to its API and so Hashtag Pirates stopped working.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Nicolas Elec Attallah

  • Country:

    Spain

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2015

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Dependence on Others

You can read more about their failure here.

Legaats

Legaats

Legaats was a web app where baby boomers and senior citizens could share their important life lessons. 5 were the causes of its failure.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Deepak Chhugani

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2017

  • Closed in:

    2017

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Business Model

You can read more about their failure here.

Phez

Phez

Shanti is a 38-year-old software developer and entrepreneur who, using Ruby on Rails, built Phez, a Reddit clone that rewarded users with Bitcoin. After a few months, however, Phez failed due to its poor business model. If Shanti would have sold the BTC he used as rewards at BTC peak, he would have made $29,014!

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Shanti Braford

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2015

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Business Model

You can read more about their failure here.

Playdate

Playdate

Logan was the CEO and CTO of Playdate, an on-demand social networking app. In two years, the startup grew to a team of 7 at its peak and 5,000 monthly active users. However, a collection of causes made the startup uninvestable and they eventually run out of money.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Logan Rado

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2016

  • Closed in:

    2019

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

Taleship

Taleship

Sergio Mattei is an 18-year-old entrepreneur who built Taleship, a social writing application. He developed it himself when he was 16 and participated in a startup competition. Unfortunately, he didn’t win, but was able to get a lot of experience and knowledge that allowed him to grow it to +600 users. Hurricane Maria demotivated Sergio, who finally decided to shut down Taleship.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Sergio Mattei Diaz

  • Country:

    Puerto Rico

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2016

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Focus

You can read more about their failure here.

Vulpine

Vulpine

Derric Haynie is an entrepreneur based in Oakland, California who, years ago, launched Vulpine Interactive, a social media and advertising agency. Peaking at 10 clients, $40k/mo and 5 employees, things were expected to keep going well. However, they ended up shutting the business and walked away with $70k in debt. Learn what happened!

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Derric Haynie

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2018

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Mismanagement of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

Zapstream

Zapstream

Zapstream was a social live streaming platform, which competed with Meerkat and Periscope. The startup raised $1m from angels and grew from 0 to 100k users. However, a combination of dwindling engagement, mismanagement of money, and the inability to fundraise further, led to their shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Devan Sood

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2015

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$5M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Mismanagement of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

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