The Web is no different, leaving many sites to close up shop--sometimes just a few months after what their creators had hoped would be a successful launch. In other cases, it's a slow death march, stretched out with the occasional change in strategy, or a last-ditch re-branding effort.
2010 brought the closure of quite a few sites. Some names on this list you'll recognize right away. Others may leave you scratching your head, which may be just one of the many reasons they're no longer with us.
We've gathered 15 such sites and services that were open at the start of the year and for one reason or another closed up shop. Click through to find out what they were, what they did, and what happened.
While quite a bit could be done with Wave, consumers and developers alike had trouble wrapping their head around what it really excelled at. This was made even less apparent with the launch of Google's Buzz product less than a year later, a social sharing and discussion tool the company baked into Gmail.
To be fair, Google Wave is not well and truly dead. You can still go there and work on things, as well as export what you already have. The site will also continue to live on into next year, until Google shuts it down for real. That said, the company has completely halted active development on it.
Prior to the launch, Cuil claimed to have some 120 billion Web pages indexed, compared with Google's 40 billion. Furthermore, instead of ranking pages by relevancy (as Google does), Cuil promised to find the contextual meaning of pages, and offer results by category. This would let you do something like search for "Harry Potter," then be able to delve into the actors and directors from the films, the books, and even fan sites from a single results page.
Cuil ended up shutting its doors in mid-September without so much as a peep.
For instance, users that headed to lite.facebook.com would be greeted to a version of Facebook that did away with Facebook's growing side navigation pane. It also didn't show quite as many advertisements, or the service's "what's on your mind?" posting box.
Facebook ended the project in April without saying too much about why. Though based on the nonstop onslaught of features the company added to its service over the course of 2010, it seems most likely they simply did not want to have to support a second version of the site.
The idea behind that lives on with publishers simply adding listing information in a standard format that can be picked up by multiple search engines. What really went the way of the dodo were the custom result applications, which would let users pick the ways they wanted to restructure results data.
The service actually started out as a way for users to swap CDs but later made the jump to streaming tracks instead. This streaming technology is what made it a red hot acquisition target for Apple, which bought the company last December. Just six months after that, Apple decided to shut it down, offering users who had purchased tracks through Lala credit to iTunes.
Since the acquisition, and even leading up to the closure of the site, there was much speculation about what, exactly Apple intended to do with the technology. Included at the very top of the list is a subscription-based, streaming-focused version of iTunes, which had been churning in the rumor mill long before Lala came into Apple's radar.
GOOG-411 debuted at a time when smartphones were just beginning to come into vogue among consumers and managed to offer a way to search the Web from feature phones without data plans. As smartphone adoption grew, it became less and less of a relevant product for most people--especially with Google baking the functionality into its Android phones.
The service did play a significant role in helping Google build up a data set of human speech patterns, which has ultimately helped in providing faster, and more accurate results.
Feature phone users in the U.S. can still do searches by texting "GOOGLE" (466453) with their query.
Vox was a specialized blogging tool from Six Apart, the makers of MovableType and TypePad.
When Vox launched in late 2006, it was one of the few blogging platforms out there that let users define the level of privacy they wanted for each post--something we now take for granted on places like Facebook. This became important though, given the social nature of the site, which encouraged Vox bloggers to visit other users' sites.
Six Apart gave its users about a month to clean house and take their blogs elsewhere, including the company's own TypePad product, for which there was arguably quite a bit of overlap.
Similar to AdSense, site owners who utilized the Publisher Network could stick code onto the back end of their sites that would generate contextual ads on the fly. Yahoo launched it back in 2005 with the promise that Yahoo would vet the advertisements to make sure they were of a certain quality level.
At the end of March of this year, Yahoo sent an e-mail to Yahoo Publisher Network users telling them the service would be reaching the end of life just a month later, and that if they wanted to keep serving ads, to use Chitika's ad network instead.
Rudder's killer feature was telling you what you had left for discretionary spending based on how much money was going out in bills, compared with when your next paycheck was on the way. It could also deliver some of this information in e-mail form, meaning you could get an update without having to manually check in every day.
Where Rudder's creators intended to steer it as a business, was to offer up coupons to various places where users had frequently spent money, or to competitors who offered similar products and services. The company had also created an API for developers to build Widget applications that could run inside of the Rudder interface, though this didn't really take off.
The service launched at the DemoFall conference in 2008, and officially closed its doors in November.
Unlike something like an IRC channel, or a Twitter hashtag, Eventvue's big focus was on giving attendees a place that would be open both before and after a a conference had happened. It would also do some neat things like go through the list of attendee e-mails and map them out to Twitter user names, so as to automatically pull in any conference-related tweets from the people who were there.
Some high-profile uses of the service included DemoFall 2009, where Eventvue was offered up to attendees as a way to talk during the conference. Eventually, the chat feature became the big focuses of the product, and as Eventvue's founders said in a note about the site's closure, that came at the expense of the company's grander vision, which never came to fruition.
One of Eventvue's co-founders, Josh Fraser, has since moved on to a new project, called Torbit, which promises to make sites faster.
One very unique aspect of Radar was that it was a private affair. You shared photos only with the people that you wanted, as opposed to the vast majority of other social photo sharing services, which would put everyone's shots together into one big stream.
Over the years, Radar began to tie into other sites like Facebook and Flickr so that you could browse and post to these places. But with those two sites also offering increasingly extensive privacy controls, the reason for using yet another photo host had most people scratching their heads.
Wesabe shut its doors as a service but lives on as an open-source project people can download and run on their own. Wesabe's Web site continues to run as a help forum.
The only problem is that there wasn't really a business. Unlike something like Swivel (which also closed this year, but it set to re-open), there was not a private component, or an idea of premium data sets.
There is a happy ending though: Verifiable's creators have started another project called SaneBox, which will go through your e-mail in-box and figure out what's important and what's not.
Microsoft announced plans to shut down its blogging site in September in favor of Automattic's WordPress. As part of the transition, Microsoft offered users a way migrate their blog to WordPress, as well as making WordPress the default option on the company's Windows Live Writer software.
The company had originally promised that all Quicken Online data would be transferred automatically, before later changing it to a manual transfer. It also made users do that transition before the year was up, causing trouble for those who intended to keep using the Quicken Online product to get a full year of standardized financial records--something Mint could not quite match on a feature to feature comparison.
Quicken Online was shut down for good on August 29.