After taking a look at the more recent stats for 43T, it appears that this goal may now be moot. 43T has lost regular users at an alarming rate: the Zeitgeist page which showed the five most recent comments used to represent no more than 10 minutes worth of comments at any time; now it can be up to an hour before the fifth comment cycles off. The home page drops you directly into the most recent posts, and the Robots’ blog hasn’t been updated for months.
I recently posted that my writing wasn’t receiving that much attention; I now realize that one of the main reasons is that there just aren’t that many people out there.
It’s an unfortunate story. The Robots escaped from Amazon as the titular “smartest guys in the room” and built a user community, but couldn’t see it as anything but a resource to be sold. And the usual ad revenue wasn’t enough. When Zuckerberg turned Facebook into a big house and nice cars, they wanted that, too, and the vulture capitalists around them pushed exactly that onto them. So they hitched their star to Facebook’s, ignored (or disparaged!) their user base, and sold their new look to the ad brokers.
But, of course, once you do that, why should a user stay? If they want Facebook, they’ll go to Facebook. If they don’t, they’ll just leave. That’s what happened, and really, the ad guys are probably coming around to the same conclusion. And yet “Configure Facebook” is now an option under the “Your Account” menu. SMH.
Trend analysis shows that 43T will probably recover somewhat, and eventually, if they are at all canny, level out to a slightly higher plateau than what they have now. (Alexa shows a big part of the user base in India; those in other countries might be eventually sacrificed to keep it profitable for the Robots.) Had they listened to their user base – perhaps in the form of a 43TUG? – they probably could have done better.
(Incidentally, I’m looking anew into starting a social networking site through my company, but it’s just in the planning stages now and has nothing to do with the above. Whatever user base I might subtract from 43T is likely less than a hundredth of the damage they did to themselves.)