Stabbed in the back by FriendFeed

I haven’t written a blog post in about four months.  Life has been getting in the way and I just haven’t had the time to sit down and put some thought into a serious post.  This is the first time I’ve felt compelled to write in that span of time and it pains me to do so.  Whether this strikes a chord or is just another post echoing around inside the chamber, this is how I feel.

Betrayed.

Earlier today, FriendFeed sold itself out to Facebook for a reported $50 million.  What will Facebook do with FriendFeed?  No one knows for certain, but many suspect this was not a purchase of FriendFeed but instead a purchase of FriendFeed’s tech and talent.  Much like Twitter acquired I Want Sandy a few months back and later shut it down, this might not bode well for FriendFeed users.

I’m a bit sickened by FriendFeed’s willingness to sell.  I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I have a few theories.

Maybe it’s the way the early FriendFeed adopters contributed so much and are now getting so little.  Robert Scoble and Louis Gray, for example, evangelized the hell out of FriendFeed and did so for good reason – they loved the service and thought it could do big things.  My idea of a big thing was not selling to Facebook, but I’m not sure how Louis and Robert feel.  And it wasn’t just Robert and Louis but tons more.  If I named every single person who talked up FriendFeed like it was the light bulb, I’d be writing here for days.

Maybe I hate this move because I will miss the FriendFeed community – the people I’ve met, shared laughs with and learned from.  What happens to them?  Do they vanish into thin air?  I don’t know.  For those who want to keep in touch, find me on Twitter (@shawn) or send me an email – shawnfarner (at) gmail (dot) com.

There’s one last reason I could be disappointed by this – maybe I thought the FriendFeed crew was above selling themselves out.  Maybe I thought they wanted to innovate on their terms.  After all, these guys left Google to strike out on their own.  That led me to believe that they were going to do their damnedest to make sure FriendFeed became all it could be, and by that I mean more than just a few new buttons in Facebook.  Guess not.

I’m sure a lot of others are let down by this news and are standing at the same crossroads, too.  FriendFeed is saying it still wants to be my friend (for the time being), but I’m not sure if I can do it.  If Facebook decides to keep FriendFeed intact, that will take some of the sting away but it won’t repair the trust – and what’s a relationship without trust?

15 Responses

  1. Sasha H. Muradali August 10, 2009 / 9:02 pm

    Interesting read. Thanks for sharing!

    I thought about what you said earlier actually — well, specifically, the bit about Google was going through my head.

    I hope you don't mind, I linked you in my blog post tomorrow, for Tuesday http://sashahalima.com/blog/?p=3940

    Best wishes,

    @SashaHalima :)

  2. Fajar August 10, 2009 / 11:29 pm

    Well said. This is exactly how I feel when I found out FriendFeed acquired by Facebook.

  3. Dennis Jernberg August 11, 2009 / 12:05 am

    Your title says it all. Let the FriendFeed deathwatch begin…

  4. Wins August 11, 2009 / 12:48 am

    I feel that, but it is a business decision. You can only wish them well unless you can outbid FaceBook.

  5. DGentry August 11, 2009 / 6:48 am

    The thing I'm disappointed about? They let the news break in TechCrunch. Scoble or Louis Gray could have at least gotten a traffic spike with even a little advance notice, but they apparently learned about it from TechCrunch.

  6. Louis Gray August 11, 2009 / 9:39 am

    I learned about the acquisition on FriendFeed, when Bret posted his note. You can see my one-word comment of “Boom” under his entry. Real-time news is typically very sensitive. I don't have insight, but assume a contact at Facebook reached out to TechCrunch.

  7. DGentry August 11, 2009 / 11:51 am

    That seems likely. The acquirer gets to control when and how the news breaks, barring inadvertent leaks.

  8. DGentry August 11, 2009 / 12:48 pm

    The thing I'm disappointed about? They let the news break in TechCrunch. Scoble or Louis Gray could have at least gotten a traffic spike with even a little advance notice, but they apparently learned about it from TechCrunch.

  9. Louis Gray August 11, 2009 / 3:39 pm

    I learned about the acquisition on FriendFeed, when Bret posted his note. You can see my one-word comment of “Boom” under his entry. Real-time news is typically very sensitive. I don't have insight, but assume a contact at Facebook reached out to TechCrunch.

  10. DGentry August 11, 2009 / 5:51 pm

    That seems likely. The acquirer gets to control when and how the news breaks, barring inadvertent leaks.

  11. ooooooo January 20, 2010 / 4:52 pm

    not alone

  12. 7anoOona April 11, 2010 / 3:14 pm

    heeey every budy

  13. 7anoOona April 11, 2010 / 7:14 pm

    heeey every budy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *