"We are going to lose some good companies." That's the warning cry from investors in tech these days.
Some we won't miss, of course: the lame, me-too, or single-featured "products" masquerading as businesses. But be prepared. Some Web 2.0 start-ups that are well-loved by many are in serious danger of falling off the cliff.
The problem is that being loved is no guarantee for success. Even being used isn't enough. Remember Kozmo, the munchie messenger service from the last bubble? Not a person who used it didn't love it. In the interest of building a user base, the company was OK with losing money on every transaction in its early days. But when the time came for it to become a real business, it was too late. It couldn't transition to a viable company, and it folded. It was a tragedy.
Here, in no particular order, are 11 online services companies that could face a similar fate. Several of them are 2008 Webware 100 winners. Like I said, popularity isn't enough.
Although well-used by many and even relied upon by some (
), Twitter has yet to turn on a revenue model. It's not like the company would lose users, if it set up a minor advertising strategy as a test; people want to see the company make some money. Please, Twitter, turn on the revenue before it's too late.
This is one of the coolest online communication companies I've seen. I like its products and services. But the revenues for running branded chat rooms cannot be all that large. Meebo belongs under the wing of a larger company like Facebook or Microsoft, but with Meebo's expensive valuation and the coming cutback in M&A, I fear that its exits may be blocked.
TripIt A very useful service
for organizing travel information. Wait, travel? Who's going to be traveling more often during the economic storm we're heading into? People are going to sit at home on their mattresses filled with cash, teleconference instead of go on business trips, and take vacations in their backyards. I fear for this company and other clever travel start-ups.
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