Monkey Inferno, the team behind the revived Bebo, has shuttered its video chat app Blab, citing a lack of everyday usage by creators and the poor quality of most of its livestreams. Both the mobile and web app have been shuttered as the company turns to its next product around building an “always on” place that people will want to hang out with their friends.
Created in 2014 by Bebo founders Michael and Xochi Birch, Blab allows users to send messages to one another through its app. Think of it like a Google Hangout where four people at a time can participate in the live video while others can submit commentary. It should have been a place where the community could gather to talk about any topic, but two things went wrong, according to Monkey Inferno chief executive Shaan Puri.
In a Medium post, he wrote that first of all, most livestreams on Blab “sucked” stating that they weren’t “interesting enough to justify stopping what [people] are doing to watch your broadcast.” At its peak, 3.9 million users had signed up for a Blab account, but only 10 percent were active users. “The struggle with livestreaming – is that we need to show you something awesome, that’s being made right now,” he stated.
The second reason for Blab’s failure is blamed on user behavior: It discovered that while it wanted to appeal to brands, most of its users were people who used the app as a place to hangout with their friends. Turns out that there’s more activity among this group than brands like ESPN, UFC, Tony Robbins, Cisco, and others who were only really using it perhaps once a week “for approximately 2 hours.” Puri explained that those using the app to connect with their peers used it “5 to 6 hours per day, every day.”
With a mission on building a product that millions of people would use everyday, Blab’s team decided to rebuild things with a focus now on being that “always on” place for friends.
Blab’s entry into the live video space came before the rise of Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook Live, but it’s now a much more crowded marketplace with competitors all fighting for our attention. The app had been in beta for a while and even started to integrate itself into other services, such as Product Hunt to power the livestreamed “Ask Me Anything” events. Some of the more noted broadcasts that it’s done include being embedded on the UFC’s website which caused its servers to overload due to traffic and being used by infamous pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli.
Monkey Inferno’s app joins Meerkat in the pile of services that have left the livestreaming game, but will they be joined by others soon?
“For us, we would rather fail trying to achieve our mission, than succeed at someone else’s mission,” Puri wrote.
The team is said to be working on Puri’s vision now, but hasn’t revealed any other details about when it’ll be launched.