The thing is though that I fear for Path’s health and future. Today, they had to lay off 20% of the staff. And though they recently rolled out a premium subscription model, I still am not sure if there are enough people using it and willing to pay for that to sustain them. I hope it sticks around.
I’ve used Path off and on, and when the latest version was released, I became very pro-Path because of their new for-pay business model. I showed it to my friends. I encouraged people to sign up. I told them how great it is to not have your private info sold to advertisers. But not a single person signed up. They all have Twitter and Facebook, and they don’t want another network.
“All of my friends are on [insert social network]. None of them are on Path.”
None of my friends want to use Path because none of their friends are using Path. And it’s a damned shame. Path is really well executed. As David Chartier put it, “it’s the Facebook I always wanted. An ad-free, non-intrusive, beautifully designed service for people to talk about and between themselves instead of posting links and memes.” Yes, their CEO is a dick, but let’s be clear: Dick Costolo, Jack Dorsey, and Mark Zuckerberg aren’t cuddly teddy bears, either.
I’m sad that the service appears to be dying. It doesn’t bode well for other for-pay services, and I shudder to think that ad-driven software is the only way to be successful in the realm of social web applications. I’m hoping that this–much like Microsoft’s entry into the smartphone and tablet space–is just a case of being too late to compete and not a rebuke of for-pay software.