I wrote a highly critical article about epinions.com in September 2013 where I stated they have made themselves irrelevant in 2013. epinions.com used to be a great site where anyone could go to get high quality and unbiased user reviews of just about any type of product. It wasn't polluted with shills and ads.
Then, it did started getting polluted with ads. Soon, it became hard to tell links to ads from genuine content. Then, it became hard to find genuine content at all. Ads ruled. (Though, shills never really seemed to be able to take hold.)
Even still, I used epinions.com frequently enough until 2012. Thru no conscious action, I just stopped using the site. Eventually, I realized this and wrote my critical review as to why.
Well, today, epinions has announced they will be ending its community and reviews system. This is no surprize to me. They lost their way, and eventually people just stopped using the site. The site fell into the trap of trying to sell ads to generate funding rather than offering a superior product that people flock to. Their focus became monetization without understanding how to generate income from their product without losing its soul.
Their email to members stated,
After a challenging 2013, Epinions will no longer maintain community related operations of its website. We are proud that we were able to serve as a facilitator of shared experiences and thoughtful dialogue over the past 15 years. However, several obstacles, such as declining participation, have deeply affected our business and forced us to make this difficult decision.
Yeah, 2013 is when I stopped using the site, so this makes perfect sense. The site stopped being a repository for high quality reviews, and just became a poor quality online mall.
Community submissions ended today. Reviews can no longer be added. Last payments to reviewers will be issued on March 6, 2014. Access to online accounts and message boards will end on March 25,2014. The suddenness of this suggests a poorly planned shutdown, which means they prolly just ran out of money.
Farewell, epinions! Whatever form you eventually take, I'm sure I will not be apart of it.