"The fact that so many people are working on smaller, more personal networks is a good sign for Everyme. They’re clearly onto something. With investments in Path, Just.me, and Pair, we’re obviously following this whole space closely as well."
That’s MG Siegler, talking up CrunchFund’s investments in that dead end in social networking called “private networks.”
Gotta love his moxie. I mean, “the fact” that so many startups are working on private networks means there’s just a lot of tech kids out with no perspective being funded by VCs with money to throw at a million ideas, hoping one of them pays out.
Who knows? Maybe Everyme’s approach to private networks will make the difference.
But generally, private networks provide nothing new: They’re Facebook with artificial limits. They’re also like Google+ — social networks that no one needs.
Private networks assume that users want a “private space” online to be social with friends and families, to filter out the riffraff we collect on Facebook.
But the everyday user already filters for friends and family on Facebook. The numbers bear this out — the most popular private network, Path, has 2 million “users.”
Still, we read a lot about Path because:
- Path’s got friends among the bloggers of the Bay Area.
- Path makes sense to bloggers with followings because those bloggers need a private network in which they can be themselves rather than D-list Internet celebrities — which still sets them apart from most people.
- MG Siegler accounts for about Path mentions online.
- Oh, and Path had a problem.
But the real problem that Path faces? Those 2 million “users.”
Er, registered users, that is. Who knows how many of those people are active users — the real measure of success. What percentage of Path’s registered users signed up, checked it out, then forgot it forever?
In any case, 2 million registered users may seem like a big number, no matter how bloated. But 2 million doesn’t make a viable network, no matter which train wreck endorses it.
Compare Path to the younger Instagram: 30 million users. In a year. And growing. (Of course, Instagram is also guilty of not revealing its active users. Still, 30 million versus two is a massive difference).
No wonder Facebook threw down a cool billion for Instagram.
Look for Google to respond stupidly and acquire Path. Investors should get their money’s worth. No one will notice, because no one is using Path anyway.