A few years ago I signed up fro iVillage Connect to work on a client project. The idea of the site was to build a social media function among the large and active iVillage community. Whenever I tried to use it though I found it to be just about as clumsy and difficult as can be.
Apparently that didn’t change. I got an email today letting me know that iVillage Connect is being shut down:
Dear iVillage Connect User:
You are receiving this message because you are a registered user of the iVillage Connect social networking service. We are writing to notify you that iVillage will be shutting down the Connect service as of March 31, 2009 at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. After that date, you will not be able to sign in to access your account or use the Connect system. We recommend that you access your Connect profile before this change to copy any information you may wish to save.
We have appreciated your participation in the Connect social network, and we look forward to your continued use of iVillage services. We are always working hard to provide the best features for our users, and we hope you will visit iVillage for your future needs.
If you have any questions, encounter problems or have missed the date to access your Connect profile, please contact our Customer Support team.
Caryn D. Stein
Director of Community, iVillage.com
It’s interesting that such a large community failed to make the leap to social media – but not that surprising. Why? I think there were a number of reasons. First, the community was working pretty well as it was and to ask people to change the way they connected to each other maybe wasn’t the best idea. Secondly, the site just wasn’t that easy to use. It was cumbersome and not especially intuitive. Third, because there were broader and more functional alternatives – members may well have used other sites for social media.
I think this is a cautionary tale for companies who decide that now might be a good time to build social media communities of their own – especially those companies that don’t already have active and lively communities to begin with.
Adieu iVillage, it’s hard to say you’ll be missed . . .