One of the things that can really help you learn about what works in social media is by looking at social media sites that have failed. Follows is an infographic that shows some of these failed social media sites.
Some of the sites on this list are questionable as to whether they can really be classified as social network failures.
Failure is really up to the beholder and some of these social networking sites while they may not have grown and made the splash their creators imagined they are still major players in the social networking sites space.
The main site on this list where it may not be a failure, but just a slower start is Google +.
When Google first launched Google + they had tremendous growth, but it sort of floundered after a while. Looking at Social Media Statistics for the past year, you can see the Google + has a respectable 359 million users, so it is not exactly a failure. Google ultimately planned on Gplus killing Facebook and they still may, but now the focus seems to be on utilizing Google Plus as a platform to implement Author Rank across their properties and there is even some speculation that Author Rank affects search engine placement. The jury is still out on this part.
There is a lot of controversy when you say a Social site has failed. People get defensive about someone saying their favorite social network is a failure. Someone even made a free game for failed social in iTunes.
It’s is still a long way from the social networking statistics of Facebook with their 1.1 billion users, it is still a player and could still make a comeback.
A lot of the tech type crowd has moved to Google + just because the conversations seem to have less drama. This could prove to be the life saver for Google as those techies are likely to start creating new and cool applications built for Google +
Just for the record, this is the one networking site that is not a failure in my humble opinion. Recently Google made some interesting changes to Google plus with the introduction of collections. Collections allow users to put together a curated page of content on a particular subject. In some ways, this works sort of like what Scoop.It does, but really Google does it better. While Google has public admitted that Google Plus has not been the Facebook killer it had hoped, these features may be able to help it come back from potential failure. Not to mention that Google will now have rich content specific pages from which to serve AdSense advertisements. These collections will not only become valuable real estate for Google products, it could also become a valuable source for people wishing to serve up targeted traffic to their website.
Google + is a fabulous place for interacting with like-minded individuals. Sure their growth may have floundered a little after an impressive launch, but they are far from a failed social media site. The opportunities for using Google + as a website traffic driving platform are numerous and collections are a great vehicle for realizing that traffic.
Most of these failed social media sites just went down the wrong path. They either tried to monetize too early or they stopped listening to their users. One example is Digg, they had some ban happy moderators who started harassing the users with questionable bans and deleting content. These out of control moderators drove off a lot of people who helped build the site by locating valuable content to share.
There was a time when it was standard practice to try and Digg proof your site because a popular link on the social network could bring dedicated servers to their knees, but that is not the case any more. Digg is still a major website and you may be able to find some valuable reasons to spend time promoting your social media prescience on the site, but it will never be what it once was or what it could have been. The days of trying to Digg proof your site are no longer needed. This need has moved over to Reddit. Reddit filled the void left by the failure of Digg and mostly because they listen to the users a lot better than Digg ever did. The site is prevented from showing a lot of spam, but their system does not automatically ban a user for submitting something questionable, but instead their voting system just allows the best content to rise to the top as the users of the site decide.
Another is MySpace. At one time MySpace was the king, but then Facebook came along and offered a better interface and offered some consistency with the profiles. It turned out that people seemed to have liked a fairly consistent user interface as they visited their friends profiles, so Facebook was able to capture a lot of their users. The same way Google + is pulling Facebook’s users away.
MySpace has been fighting back and has developed its self into a niche for music bands to promote their new music, but it still lost a lot of its user base by not being responsive to the changing landscape and maturing of the social media landscape.
You can not really say any of these sites really failed, they just could not maintain critical mass. Some of them may even make a come back only time will tell if the top 10 failed social media sites for this year will be the same top failed sites next year. It would not be surprising to see Google + take over Facebook in the near future or, at least, grow to a point where people who are active in social media circles just can not ignore it any longer.