It’s a pity but we could see it coming. Why could the people who invested in iYomu not see this was a dumb idea?
As the Herald says, “even offering a US$1 million prize to encourage membership to its site didn’t give the company the legs to last a year.”
A few obvious reasons why it didn’t have the legs:
- Facebook, Bebo, MySpace, LinkedIn…they had the critical mass, and frankly taking on established players is just plain stupidity. It’d be like me starting going up against TradeMe with an alternative online auction site
- It was developed entirely in Flash…dependent on users having the plug-in, a disaster for those that are computer illiterate (like a lot of adults?)
- Offering a US$1 million prize felt a little desperate…almost like a bribe?
- ummm…it was naff.
More to the point the investors who were misguided in their loyalty to the idea are probably now very shy of investing in any online business. That’s $1 million dollars that now can’t be used on another project that has better more sustainable legs, as Bruce Simpson points out on his blog:
Traffic to the iYomu site never did reach the levels that the organisers had expected when a prize of one million dollars was involved.
What’s more, the bulk of that traffic was clearly (as I predicted) incredibly fickle and of no value as far as the site or advertisers might be concerned.
These people weren’t interested in spending money, they just wanted the prize or to support a friend vying for the prizemoney.
Apart from an annoying interface the experience of trying to stop communications from iYomu was infuriating. I joined in the first week, then unsubscribed the week after, but I continued to receive notifications from them even after repeated attempts to dissociate myself their communications. A colleague had the same experience, even threatening the Anti-spam legislation on them.
Richard McManus from Read Write Web sums it up well:
In the final analysis…iYomu didn’t get off the ground not because it targeted old people – but because it executed poorly. It had crucial design flaws, little to entice people to return regularly, a PR campaign that in the end backfired, and the site just didn’t scale to enough people quickly enough.