Path’s having problems. The mobile first social network that launched on the iPhone and later Android, has recently had to layoff 20% of it’s staff as it struggles to find growth.
I like Path. I suppose I still do but there’s a sign of how little I use it when the last update I posted was over 2 months ago and the time before that was 4 months ago. The engagement has dropped through the floor. Why? Well a social network needs one vital component, people. Path launched with the restriction of 50 friends, so you actually knew the people you were sharing with and not just ranking up friends and followers like Facebook and Twitter. It was a nice idea, but somewhere down the line the network has, well, strayed off the path to profitability.
Most, if not all social networks come to the realisation that the only way for them to make money in the early days it by advertising, something Path has not really embraced. You could say they ‘Jumped the Shark’ when they started charging for stickers (read: big emojis). Charging for filters was nothing new and enhanced the camera’s features to make it appealing for posting to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare all at once. No posting to Instagram though, that’s been a bigger impact than many could have foreseen. Instagram has a huge number of users and up until the buyout wasn’t moving to advertising in app.
The other issue for Path is the pay for service option. The idea of paying for a social network has been enough to cause waves of anger on Facebook and Twitter in the past, when hoaxes went round. Paying for access to a network is not something 99% of users want to do. That 1% well they’re the people using App.net and that’s going so well.
Path has potential to be a great way for close friends to share their lives. It has a broadcast mechanism for the larger world as well which makes it a useful tool. Where they go from here to drive engagement and keep people using the app, I don’t know but it better be a damn sight better than charging for large smiley faces! Hopefully Path 4.0 will bring this sorely needed innovation.
Source [ The Verge ]