News broke the other day that Secret, the anonymous sharing app, would be or is or has (the details are fuzzy) shut down. The site was just a year old – a veritable newborn when measured anywhere outside of Silicon Valley. Suffering from a user exodus and what seems to be an unclear vision of what the app should be about, the founders and others decided to exit the game rather than continue on what appears to be seen as a losing battle.
There is nobility in shutting down a startup, taking care of employees, and returning cash to investors, when you realize it won’t succeed.
— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) April 30, 2015
We’re often asked how soon clients should jump into any of the new apps or social networks that launch on a regular basis. Secret’s fall from the mountain top of buzz, something it achieved by being an outlet for the tech world’s secrets, serves as a reminder that these startups can disappear at any moment. You can build a strategy, you can source content and establish a workflow, but tomorrow the rug could be pulled out because the company decided running the product no longer made sense, ran out of money or any other reason.
Even the most stable of these networks brands are using to reach people – sites like Facebook or Twitter – are essentially sand castles, only as stable as the people around them are careful and subject to the whims of nature or, in this case, market forces. That’s why we recommend not only being careful about jumping in, making sure it actually makes sense to establish a presence there, but also making sure one network isn’t seen as a single source of salvation (read: traffic) and therefore isn’t at risk of becoming a single point of failure.