Six social networks you forgot about

After 15 years, Friends Reunited announced this week that it was closing its doors for good. In fact, if you decide to give the site one last visit, you may be too late - it's already being locked down in certain browsers. It is the "sunset of an era" for the platform - having once been hugely successful it diminished quickly after the advent of Facebook. But, if we're honest, most of us had forgotten the site even existed - and it's one of many. So here are a few others that you might have let filter through to the dusty recesses of your mind: 


Back in 2014 Ello sneaked onto the scene, promising to be the "Anti-Facebook". It was a simple premise: an ad-free platform that’s not constantly shoving brand content in your face. Ello is a perfect example of a social network that took Facebook on and lost - possibly because it misjudged how much of the audience cared.

But there was also a contradiction in how the network was positioned. Ello was claiming to connect, a la Facebook, but it plans on having a freemium pricing model. How can you bring the world together if you're putting a price tag on it?

Ello is still active, but when was the last time you heard something about it? They refuse to disclose user numbers, and that probably means its days are numbered. 


Meerkat was launched just under a year ago - and, like many in this list, was adorned with much media attention at the time. The app allows users to quickly and easily stream video from their phone. Sadly, for the creators, it was quickly overshadowed by a similar app, Periscope from Twitter. This led to some journalists predicting its death and it seems that they were right. 

Research by Katch shows that Meerkat streams have been steadily decreasing. Meerkat also will not reveal user numbers, while Periscope has made audience numbers public on multiple occasions. And lastly, stats from analytics firm Wefi that tracks Android users in the United States show that Periscope is installed on 1 percent of all Android users' phones, while Meerkat is on just 0.07 percent. 

Meerkat has continued to try and innovate, but has struggled to convince people to move away from the convenience that Periscope naturally provides. 


Bebo was a classic example of a platform failing to evolve. AOL bought it out back in 2008 for $800 million - but despite investing financially, company insiders said that creativity was stifled. Whatever the reason, it failed to remain competitive. Users left in swathes and in a few years it went from the third largest network in the UK to being a non-entity. 

The Guardian summed it up nicely: "Buying Bebo was an attempt to build on AOL's status as the world's first internet provider by bolting on a new audience, but internet users are notoriously promiscuous."

Interestingly, Bebo did relaunch as a messaging service in 2014 - but there's not been any suggestion of success. 


It seems that every technology company has felt it necessary to dip its toes into social media - and Apple was clearly not going to be left out. Ping was their attempt at a music orientated social network. However, Apple misunderstood the social media landscape.

They got that sharing was important but decided to still limit it. Songs that were shared by users could only be heard in 90 second samples. This underscored the marketing aspect of the network, and wasn't helped by a proliferation of "Buy" buttons - something that put many users off. 

The other major error was missing Facebook integration. Originally they were destined for a strong relationship, but cracks were created when Steve Jobs complained about their terms. Before long they went separate ways, and this meant that Ping wasn't able to exploit Facebook's huge audience.

Apple CEO Tim Cook commented on Ping a few years ago: "We tried Ping and the customer voted and said, this isn’t something I want to put a lot of energy into. Some customers love it, but there’s not a huge number that do, so will we kill it? I don’t know. I’ll look at it."

Then, they killed it. 


Friendster is considered the "grandfather" of social networks. It allowed you to create profiles - and users could share videos, photos, messages etc. The problem was that it didn't get the balance between profile and social correct. Facebook's Newsfeed was a key difference that Friendster didn't react to. There were also technology issues - servers were slow and frustrated users.

Friendster was considered the top online social network service until around April 2004 when it was overtaken by MySpace in terms of page views. As strong connections within the network unravelled, so did the whole thing. Friendster has since redesigned itself as a social gaming platform. 


OK, so this might be a bit premature - but I'm planning ahead. Peach was the talk of tech town just two weeks ago. It was getting press everywhere with headlines like "Peach App is the flavour of the month" or "Is Peach Going to Become the Next Snapchat?".


Peach is a mix between Facebook, Tumblr, and Snapchat. It is focused on quick chats, filled to the brim with emojis and gifs. To facilitate this concept Peach has command lines that are baked in, to allow easy access to a number of different features. For instance, you can just type “gif,” and then randomly search for a topic.

But reviews since have consistently complained about it feeling empty - it seems that many users have already fallen by the wayside, and that's not good given it has already had its 15 minutes of fame. That said, if it manages to pick itself up again I'm willing to eat my virtual hat.