Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Formspring Absorbs What's Left of Q&A Competitor PeerPong: The People

Q&A start-up PeerPong has shut down, and competitor Formspring has already picked up PeerPong CEO Ro Choy to serve as its COO.

PeerPong “wound down just this past month,” Choy told NetworkEffect, and a couple other members of the PeerPong team joined Formspring as well. To be clear, Formspring did not acquire PeerPong, but at least three of its employees moved over together.

TechCrunch reported Choy’s hiring today, but glossed over the mention of PeerPong. Choy said PeerPong had six employees before it closed.

A cached message from the PeerPong home page reads:

We’re Sorry, but PeerPong is in end of life mode.

When we launched in early 2010 we believed we could use advanced semantic technology to let people access expertise across social media. We succeeded in finding and indexing over five million people by their knowledge and expertise whether on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin, and helped answer questions from hundreds of thousands of users from these ridiculously smart people over the last year.

Unfortunately we find ourselves in a tough position where the service alone can’t support our business goals and sadly need to discontinue the site. I want to thank everyone who committed their time and effort to Peerpong, including the many members who had great answers for all types of questions, from technology to food to dating, and to the Peerpong team directly for the many months trying to unite NLP/semantics with an engaging user experience. There’s no pithy comment to summarize the experience of trying to make something incredible and falling short, only deep gratitude and few, but significant regrets.

Ro Choy – CEO

PeerPong had raised $2.8 million from Partech International, DCM, First Round Capital and Charles River Ventures after being incubated at Partech under the name Muchobene. PeerPong, which Choy joined as CEO in January 2010 after leaving social app maker RockYou, promised to help connect users to subject matter experts through social media.

Earlier this year, PeerPong was experimenting with a so-called pivot to offer a new service called Rendezvous that would have semantically analyzed users’ Facebook profiles to find events and people they might be interested in. But that didn’t work out either.

Formspring, meanwhile, says that as of this week users of its service will have submitted three billion answers to each other’s questions.

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— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle