I’ve been beating my head against a wall for the last two years trying to make a news app experience work, and despite great reviews, I’ve failed.
So, we’re giving up on the Inside.com App and focusing 100% of our efforts on a medium that’s resulting in much better engagement — email!
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Why News Apps Failed
Very few people seem to want a dedicated news app, and while my team poured their heart and soul into building what I think was one of the two or three best news app experiences ever, we couldn’t get traction.
We got exceptional reviews, great press, featured by Apple, and tons of glorious feedback from users — but we didn’t have breakout success.
Neither did Circa, Zite, Trov, or Pulse.
Some readers that are part of big companies are still chugging along, like Facebook’s Paper and Yahoo News Digest, but even those well-constructed products are solid but not breakout hits.
News apps failed because social networks succeeded.
People want to get their news filtered through their social network. It’s just easier and more fun to click on news links your friends are sharing than to open a separate app.
Intellectually, you would think that people would have a unique app for each experience in their life: photo sharing, news, shopping, socializing, watching video, emailing, chatting, etc. It turns out that with these social platforms surging, many things are consolidating into them.
Lesson Learned: Social is eating the world. Photos, video, news, and messaging have folded into social, and we all know that Facebook and Twitter desperately want to pull ecommerce into their platforms (but have failed thus far, even though it has worked in Asia).
Continue reading Knowing when, and how, to pivot (or, why didn’t news apps work?)