Small bubbles are popping. Niche social networks closing

I have had a rash of emails the past few weeks about smaller, niche social networks that are ceasing operations by the end of the year. I mentioned this trend on TheSocialGeeks Episode 41 last week.

The first sign was an email asking if anyone was interested in purchasing or acquiring the assets or technology behind Refynr.  This service helps build filters for your socialRefyner logo media streams in Twitter and Facebook to remove the clutter.

I have begun talks with a few companies already, but am wondering if you, your company, or anyone in your network would be interested in acquiring/buying my company. The Refynr technology has been built up over the past 14 months, has over 1,000 users…

I love this service, yet I forgot about it at some point and failed to go back.  Deconstructing the activity streams is what will save the enterprise worker with recent pushes to include them in every social product and cause users to oversubscribe.

visualcv logoI then received an email from a very cool site VisualCV that helped you build  outstanding online resumes.  They talked about a freemuim model that never really developed I am guessing.

Dear VisualCV Member

We regret to inform you that the website will be ceasing operations, effective December 30, 2011.
To ensure we meet all our members’ privacy concerns, we will destroy all user data once website operations have ceased. This includes any and all backups we have.

The email goes on to say they will refund prorated funds to paying members.  I am surprised sites liked LinkedIn would not have been interested in this technology to boost their resume creation abilities.   They let you embed images and save off your resume as a clean looking pdf file.

In the middle of these two notices I received another email notifying me of the closing of Strands Fitness on December 30th.  this site created and maintained training logs.  With the creation of such items as Fitbit I can see where they had heavy competition.

I was also confused that you could still create an account with some of these services with the pending shutdowns.  Strands did support quite a few devices, but never caught on in the three years they existed.  They are allowing you to export your data with provided instructions.

The parent site of does have other products and sites that are fee based only so they might just be readjusting their focus to viable networks and services they have built.

This begins to ask the question if these smaller social networks can maintain themselves without being bought by the larger.  With limited numbers of users and the larger sites building more features to match close enough, I can see the pull of the users away.

Plus you go where you friends are.  Apparently they are not on many of these smaller networks.

  • Ted Kusio

    I think you’re touching on a fascinating topic, but wonder if it’s indeed a major shift, or just that “sites come and go.” I mean there are a lot of other niche sites I know that seem to be still going strong, and new ones joining the list: art, music, health, Ning sites, etc.

    I think it’s more a matter of what else the site offers (such as app integration), beyond just being a social network. Also, YES, LinkedIn could use a better resume service.

  • IdoNotes

    Great feedback. I think we will see a trend of more smaller ones disappearing. Most seem to be self funded and not the ones that get venture capital.