As an example of how little Google cares about a product once they decide to shut it down, we only know about this via a brief mention in a blog post, sneakily titled An update on Google Affiliate Network:
We’ve made the difficult decision to retire Google Affiliate Network and focus on other products that are driving great results for clients.
To be fair, Google didn’t buy the network deliberately, it was a minor component of their multi-billion dollar purchase of DoubleClick. Known as Performics back then, the affiliate network was worth perhaps $50 million (based on what Double Click paid for it 2 years prior).
But also to be fair, if they didn’t want it they could have sold it to someone else and pocketed $50 million. Perhaps it wasn’t worth their bother for such a piddling amount.
Since Performics became GAN, it hasn’t changed much. Apart from making it look more like a Google product, it seems they put little effort into it. They didn’t even give it its own domain name!
And now, merchants and affiliates who have perhaps had a relationship for a decade through the Performics / GAN platform, will now have to shift to a new platform. Of perhaps just give up, emulating the mega-successful Google?
That’s not 70 all time, that’s 70 in the last 18 months. How many businesses have the luxury of ditching products at a rate of one per week??
Woody Leonhard says:
By my count, Google has discontinued more than 70 free-standing apps and major sets of APIs in eight different “spring cleanings” over the past 18 months. Perhaps Larry Page took Steve Jobs’ advice to figure out what Google’s good at, and focus … mercilessly.
It is easy to forget in these fast-moving times, but these are some of the more notable dumps:
- Aardvark – peer-to-peer Q@A, purchased for $50 million, lasted 19 months
- Google Desktop Search – best you could get, great brand advocate, but not an earner
- Fast Flip – interestingly the similar product FlipBoard is all the rage these days…
- Jaiku – like Twitter but they didn’t want to play second fiddle
- Google Wave – email 3.0, but too advanced to make waves
- iGoogle – a landing page that was used by millions. They’ve re-animated it until November, but this is one of the more senseless killings
- Google Reader – it seems almost certain that the most popular replacement will make a $billion
- FeedBurner – purchased for $100 million, massive user base, hanging on by a thread. Do they dare kill this as well?
Google Video no longer accepts uploads, and will soon disappear into YouTube. Makes sense, should’ve happened years ago.
iGoogle will be shut down in 2013. Makes less sense. Just because a product is making billions of dollars, doesn’t mean you should shut it down. Millions of daily users will change their start page.
The others to go are:
- Google Mini (enterprise search app)
- Google Talk Chatback (replaced by Meebo)
- Symbian Search App
I was really surprised when Google purchased Aardvark, considering they’d already given up on the questions and answer game years prior with Google Answers.
Still, I persisted with it, because I like to help people out. But because my expertise was based on keywords found in my Gmail account, rather than my true expertise, most of the questions I received were not suited to me. And when I didn’t respond to a question immediately, and it gave up on me, I felt like I had missed out. It constantly left me feeling disappointed
So, along with all the other Labs projects, Aardvark is ending at the end of September. I’m guessing that such an automated system, with no monetization, probably didn’t have any staff to make redundant!
It was good while it lasted, but without Twitter it is nothing. For two months since Google’s agreement with Twitter expired, the Realtime Search, and realtime results within Google Everything, have just dispapeared. It is expected that it will be resurrected when they feel Google+ can provide enough useful content.