A little over three months ago, Milk Inc. released their first app which had the rather cute title ‘Oink’. Milk is the brainchild of internet entrepreneur, Kevin Rose, who famously founded Digg. Oink allows people to rate things instead of places. So for example, you could rate a particular dish in a restaurant instead of the restaurant itself. Kinda like Digg actually, but with things instead of news. As far as apps go, it is beautifully constructed, and very pleasant to use. Attention to detail galore. Clearly, a lot of work was put into this app.
Oink was released to great fanfare about three months ago, having been in testing for about two months prior to the public release date. As a regular viewer of the “Random Show” (which is basically a vlog where Rose and his buddy Tim Ferriss of Four Hour Workweek and Four Hour Body fame talk about all their latest interests and doings), I watched with interest as they discussed this new venture and I was keen to try it out. I thought it was quite good. I reviewed a chicken enchilada that I quite liked, a Croque Monsieur, a beer and a latte, I think. And then I kinda forgot to keep using it. I guess I wasn’t the only one to forget, which is a shame because after only three months Milk has killed the app! Ouch, that’s a little harsh!
The Oink website is now displaying a goodbye letter of sorts, with the following as explanation for why they have decided to shut the app down:
We started Milk Inc. (the company behind Oink) to rapidly build and test out new ideas. Oink was our first test and, in preparing to move onto the next project, we’ve decided to shut it down to help focus our efforts.
Thank you so much to everyone who joined and contributed to Oink. You have been the heart of Oink. We are extremely grateful for all of your effort finding and rating the best things in the places around you. We’ve discovered thousands of awesome pizzas, pastas, coffees, teas… and roller coasters, zoo exhibits, paintings, sculptures, vistas… and sodas, salads, sliders, soups… and so much more.
So long and thanks for all the Oinks! More news from us soon,
The Milk Team”
Is it just me or is this all just a little bit quick? Usually, apps take time to gain traction, and it isn’t like this one was doing too badly. After all, it had 100,000 downloads in its first two and a half weeks and 150,000 in a little over a month! I think most app developers would be quite happy with these download statistics. OK, it was a free app but I just sort of assumed that they had figured out some sort of way of making money from it in some other way. I guess not.
The thing is, a big reason for the large number of downloads is that Kevin has quite a large following (of which I am one). There is a bit of a history here of perennially starting businesses and then kinda losing interest. The danger is that his following may actually start to lose interest themselves if they feel they are being taken for a ride, especially when many people may have invested some of their own time in these ventures by, for example, investing a lot of time in rating items for Oink. Who knows, maybe the next big project is amazing and everyone will want it and it will make a ton of money. Let’s hope so, because if it is another app that relies on community involvement, Mr. Rose may find that the community doesn’t turn up.