Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

IAC’s Proust Personal Social Network to Shut Down

Proust, the somewhat pretentiously named social journaling service from IAC, is shutting down at the end of the month.

Users were told today via email that the service would close Jan. 31, and were offered a data export tool.

Proust had been one of the emerging efforts to create a more personal and meaningful social network. Those kinds of services turn out to be especially hard to grow.

Here’s IAC’s statement on the matter:

Since its launch in 2010, Proust slowly gained users but did not result in an associated revenue substantial enough to maintain operations. We explored several strategic options for Proust, but decided that the best option was to fold its assets into IAC.

For his part, Proust co-founder and CEO Tom Cortese said in an email he was “totally bummed.”

Proust had only formally launched in July 2011. Here’s what I wrote at the time:

The company name is a reference to the French writer Marcel Proust, who famously (to some people, at least!) answered probing questions about himself in what’s come to be known as the Proust Questionnaire.

“On the social Web today we share trivial stuff, but why not go deeper, especially with people you’re closer to,” explained Proust CEO Tom Cortese in a recent interview.

Proust divides life experiences into chapters, presenting users with more than a thousand questions to get them telling their personal stories. Users can choose, quite simply, to make their answers public or private to only their contacts. They can also view their life histories as a map or timeline.

Alternatives to Proust include Path and Storytree. Oh, and Facebook Timeline!

 


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