In memoriam: The brands that we lost in 2016
R.I.P Vine. So long, Meerkat. Rest in power, Sports Authority.
This was a rough year all the way around. Not the least of all for the brands and platforms — big and small — that bit the dust in 2016, either by way of bankruptcy or acquisition. As this godforsaken annus horribilis fades into 2017, we wish these brands one final farewell. The names may be gone, but they are not forgotten.
The social media darling of 2015 was officially dead in 2016. The live-streaming app made its name at the South by Southwest festival last year. But facing competition from Periscope and Facebook Live — both of which have better distribution — Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin decided to ditch the live-streaming business. Life on Air, the company behind Meerkat, built video messaging app Houseparty after the death of Meerkat.
In October, Twitter shut down video-sharing app Vine so the struggling social network could refocus on its core business. Vine will be missed by many. As Tim Armoo, co-founder of video influencer platform Fanbytes, described, if you look through the hashtag #RIPVine, you will find that some of the more genius comedic moments to ever unfold over six seconds.
— Funny Fml (@TheFunnyFml) November 24, 2016
Amazon announced last March that it would be shuttering its Webstore e-commerce platform effective July. However, sellers were notified in February that order processing on Webstore properties would cease on May 1, 2016, bumping up the deadline to migrate to another service by 60 days. It seems Amazon even does its failing efficiently.
On the ad tech side, Facebook closed LiveRail this year, its video ad exchange business that was acquired for a reported $400 million to $500 million back in 2014. Brian Boland, vp of ad tech for Facebook, said that ad fraud was the biggest hurdle that LiveRail hit.
2016 was a tough year for many retailers, too. Sports Authority filed for bankruptcy protection in March with more than $1 billion in debt, and scrambled to close its 450 stores shortly. Now, Sports Authority is taken by Dick’s Sporting Goods, a more high-end retailer.
A job search engine with 30 million monthly users active in 24 countries and 12 languages, SimplyHired simply vanished this year. The site, once a competitor to LinkedIn and Monster.com, shut down in June, pieces of it acquired by EreMedia.
The company, which specialized in making it easier for artists and vendors to find and rent short-term retail space, announced on its site that as of March 17, it was no longer in operation. Founded in 2012, Storefront was an online marketplace that paired artists, designers and brands with short-term retail spaces, a sort of Airbnb-meets-Etsy.
The notorious Las Vegas strip club — known to locals as “OG gentlemen’s club” — put down its pasties for good in October. Despite being perennially popular, the club was mired in legal battles. But this raises a pertinent question: If there’s no hope for the OGs, who will possibly stand a chance in 2017?
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