Today I got an email from a web site called Threadbox, stating they were closing down and I had seven days to export my information. Threadbox was set up as a collaboration tool starting in Nov of 2008 was released as a beta in the spring of 2009 and went fully public in April of 2010. As of Aug 3, it will be shutting down after being purchase by MySpace. How or if Myspace will use the service is unclear. Many times when a smaller company is brought by a larger company, the smaller company’s service disappears. Often it is just the core of the service that is used by the larger company. This scenario is great for the team that created the service, but is often devastating for the end user. The end users are forced to find new services that do close to what the original service did. This is often hard, since even if the new service does the same thing, it does it differently. Most people are resistant to change and tend to react negatively to anything they are not use to.
This scenario is not new and has been repeated hundreds of times with services like Friendfeed, (brought by Facebook) YouTube (brought by Google) and others. Some like YouTube, seem to go on as if nothing happened others like Friendfeed limp along, being kept alive by a core group of user. Others simply disappear never to be seen again. The problem for end users is it is difficult to commit to a new service, when back in your mind you are wondering how long it is going to be around. This just adds another barrier for adoption of new services. It is hard enough to get most people to try a new service and often with social services they are only useful if your friends also join. This is the problem I am having with a new service I discovered called Cliqset, which is an applications that combines all of your friends conversations, no matter whether they were posted on Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz or eighty other services into one river. I like the service, the problem is not enough people have joined and you only see the post from people who are on Cliqset. The only exception to this is if someone @ you, then that will show up on Cliqset, whether they are on Cliqset or not. My quandary is do I remain with a service that I like in hopes that more people join it, or do I abandon it. This of course is the problem that most early adopters have, they often join services far ahead of the rest of the population. It is often a question of whether the service will survive long enough to become mainstream