In less than a year since its startup, Flowgram has been put to sleep. In an extremely disappointing move, the developers sent out this email to users a few days ago:
Today is a sad day for us. We have decided to terminate the Flowgram service as of the end of the month (June 30th, 2009). The service received excellent reviews and had an enthusiastic core user base. However, we were not able to demonstrate (especially in these economic times) that Flowgrams would ever be prevalent enough for us to adequately monetize the business, either though ads or subscriptions. This is obviously very disappointing, but building the Flowgram platform was a lot of fun, and it was wonderful to see how many of you used our tool to express yourselves in a deep and meaningful way.
Although you won’t be able to play your Flowgrams after the end of the month, you can export them to video by clicking “share” from the website or “more sharing options” from the Flowgram player and scrolling down to the export to video section. It is very important, if you wish to keep your content, that you export to video and download the video by the end of the month. Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any difficulties doing this.
Again, I would like to thank you for your support, for your Flowgrams and for your good wishes.
Abhay Parekh (Founder) and the rest of the Flowgram Team
In these financial times, just because something is a great product doesn’t mean that it will survive. And whether we like it or not, developers and investors still need to make a dollar either through advertising or premium accounts. So many Web 2.0 tools are free for us to use but the people behind them still need to make a living somehow.
A similar thing has happened at Totlol, the video site aimed at young children.
Totlol developer Ron Ilan recently published the following message:
My focus over the past year has been on making Totlol the best video web site for kids and parents out there. I think I succeeded. It got great reviews. It has been copied and borrowed from. It is packed with features. It has an iPhone web app. It has an active user community. It is growing. Last month Totlol was visited 150,000 times.
While building TotlolI was constantly looking for ways to make it sustainable. I failed. A “normal” website would just “fill up” with ads, but Totlol is not a “normal” site. There are two things that set harsh limits on what can be done – the target audience and the usage of the YouTube platform. With Totlol you just can’t do what other websites do.
It is now June 2009, more than a year has gone by, and I find myself running a website that is loved and growing but has no future. It needs a long term sponsor and I can’t find one. I just can’t support and develop it all by myself anymore.
So, it is now time to say goodbye.
Totlol ceases on 1 July.