The world is looking a little less crazy today with the news that Blippy, a social network which allowed you to share your credit card purchases with your friends and made no sense, has closed.
Social media is full of all kinds of weird startups, but Blippy, which launched in December 2009, always struck me as a particular affront to reason. True, it wasn't supposed to share your credit card numbers, and you could choose which purchases to publicize, but why in God's name would you want to broadcast this information anyway? The prospect of Blippy somehow succeeding was even more discouraging, as I lay awake at night wondering what kind of crazed extroverts were taking over the planet.
As one might expect, there were some security issues: back in April 2010 it was reported that Blippy had accidentally -- you guessed it -- shared the credit card numbers of members who were sharing credit card purchases with the world. But even high-profile security screw-ups seemed unable to stop this living manifestation of unreason, as Blippy implemented a new security policy (trying harder not to share credit card numbers) and survived another year.
Bizarre as it was, Blippy raised a good amount of money from venture capital firms, including Charles River Ventures and August Capital, which together sank $12.8 million into the social network, valuing Blippy at $46.2 million just before the credit card numbers fiasco. Still, Blippy never attracted more than 100,000 users; tellingly, there were some traffic spikes following press reports, but these all proved transient, meaning the network never enjoyed much organic growth.
Meanwhile Swipely, a social network which originally pursued a similar idea, has reinvented itself as an online loyalty platform, wisely dropping the online purchase-sharing to focus on offering rewards and cash back to users who are regular retail patrons. In February Swipely founder and CEO Angus Davis told Mashable: "We don't think people want to share their purchases. Period." Thank you, Angus: my world makes a little more sense today.