Today I noticed Compete.com had come out with November stats. My blog had a spectacular month (and if you read it, you know why), but my intentions were other: to see how FriendFeed fared in a key month after its Facebook announcement has died down.
The graph doesn’t look good for FriendFeed, which has lost an additional 20% of its audience.
The question we, as FriendFeed fanatics ask ourselves is why? Why is a product that is so unique been left for dead all of a sudden.
One camp would point to the Facebook announcement. Who wants to spend time and energy on a satellite service, knowing that the resources are aligned with the parent company. This is interesting because it would tell a lot about user’s behavior in this Real Time Web: they want a product that evolves, even though the product is perfectly fine.
It’s the same feeling I get with the netbooks, the crunchpads and the Apple iTablet’s: we’re always looking for better, faster, stronger.
If the product or site or service does what it advertises, why does it have to keep development on a frantic race to over-development?
But then you see Twitter. They haven’t changed that much since they started. Yes, there are a lot of applications that leverage it, so it has evolved to become more a platform than a service. Still they are not losing the audience that FriendFeed has.
Clive Thompson wrote a great article on this month’s Wired about how startups these days are following a safe cycle. They launch something quick, they aim to build an audience, they sell to one of the big boys and then die. Rinse and repeat.
The problem is that none of this startups are aiming to change the world. They are following the iPhone App paradigm. Small, sweet and sold under two bucks.
Did FriendFeed’s intention all along follow this recipe? Not in my opinion. The service was really ingenious and they developed the best in class search, bookmarklet, and other features that I haven’t seen developed since.
Maybe FriendFeed was too much of a destination. They did have an API but developers didn’t flock to do stuff with it. Marketers didn’t ask for datamining. It’s so strange.
At the end of the day, we still don’t know what is the certain future for our beloved application.
But we’ll be here until it dies or until something better comes along.
I’m betting we won’t see the latter.