Monday, October 4, 2010

Time's Up for, "Twitter for Video" Startup Officially Shuts Down October 22

In an email to the community of users, called "12ers", co-founder Sol Lipman announced today that the 2-year old startup known as the "Twitter for Video," would officially end operations on October 22nd. What began as an idea over beers between two friends with "scrappy energy" ended up being a wild ride with many ups and downs, Lipman explained that 12seconds is in its twilight and had reached the end of its life cycle.

In speaking with Adam Ostrow of Mashable, Lipman pointed out a number reasons why they are pulling the plug on their once popular video service. Citing low traffic on the site which had not seen any real growth in the last two years since its launch, along the high cost of running the video site which had been self-funded are two main reasons. But essentially, 12seconds had been squeezed out of the Twitter app ecosystem as that market has narrowed with the richer experience of the New Twitter.

He told Mashable that:
“I don’t really see the growth in Twitter that we were seeing [back when we launched]. I don’t see it as an explosive growth opportunity right now for a third-party application builder. In any ecosystem eventually there are going to be winners and losers. I think that’s going to shake out more and more as time goes by."
Lipman told Janko Roettgers of NewTeeVee, that 12seconds “fell victim to Twitter’s growth." It was originally built to be its own video community but got swept up in the excitement of Twitter only to later see its users abandon the site for other services. While 12seconds said had moved on from being a Twitter utility, Roettgers pointed out that there was more to it than that, and actually most of the 12seconds team has been working on the location-based social networking startup Rally Up, that had just been acquired by AOL in August.

12seconds seems to have followed a similar path as Seesmic, which also started up as a video community but re-engineered itself as a Twitter client developer. Rather than shutting down the site, Seesmic deemphasized the video conversations to a new domain which is still up and running.

With users could record 12 second video messages with a web cam or mobile phone to share as status updates on Twitter, Facebook and embed them into blog or websites. While the site saw some success in gaining celebrity users, crowdsourcing commercials, launching iPhones apps, taking part in the first annual Streamy Awards and reaching 200,000 users – 12 seconds was self-funded and was unable to create a sustainable revenue model or attract VC money.

Lipman had this to say to the loyal 12ers:
"It is time to end 12seconds. However, if 12seconds had a bucket list it would have filled it up with amazing life experiences!  We launched an innovative micro-vlogging system, built crazy mobile apps, created revenue with legit sponsors, we were nominated for awards and had the best users on the Internet - our beloved 12ers. 12seconds is not a failure - it is a life well-lived.  It really is about the journey.  I know this because I'm at the destination." 
12seconds will be releasing a download tool later this week for 12ers to bulk download their videos. It will be available until they pull the plug on October 22nd.