What Was Loccit.com ?
I have a box of photos (remember when we had to print photos?!), ticket stubs, notes from friends and other sentimental bits. It sits in my loft (attic) and is one of the only things that has moved with me to every house since I lived with my folks.
Now, we don’t print photos, we don’t keep diaries, tickets are emails, letters and notes are SMSs, emails, IMs, Facebook messages … we have nothing that reminds us of the past. When you’re 80, what will you have to look back at?
We looked at the social landscape and built Loccit. The original version integrated with lots of APIs (including Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin) and pulled in all of our users’ most important moments and compiled it into a timeline of your life.
The original Loccit.com was released in February 2011. We’d built Facebook Timeline, but 9 months before Timeline existed.
Facebook Announced Timeline
Timeline was launched in September 2011. The speech by MZ was incredibly close to my original investment pitch. There were sentences and points that were almost identical. Facebook had realised the same opportunity that I had, that this mass of data was an incredible personal history.
We couldn’t compete with Facebook and we didn’t want to try.
We decided to go after the personal greetings card market. In early 2012 we had the most advanced social web-to-print product creation technologies in the market. We could automatically create posters, calendars, photobooks and more using your favourite photos pulled in from Facebook.
We’d seen the advertising spend of Moonpig and other large competitors and knew that we couldn’t out-spend them, couldn’t out-shout them, so, we had to out-think them.
We created some very clever (even if I do say so myself) viral marketing gadgets during the purchase process, some viral Facebook apps and let them loose. Things were shared hugely, but we never achieved a truly viral feature or campaign (viral is correctly defined as a situation where for every user that registers, more than one more user goes into the funnel, not as something that’s just shared a lot).
We didn’t manage to achieve traction or sales that were going to sustain the business. With marketing spend, we could have. But, we would have needed several million pounds to get there.
The Next Pivot
We looked at where we could go with the runway we had left. We talked to loads of our users, got out on the street and assessed the landscape. We went back to our roots.
There was overwhelming feedback that suggested there was a call for a great simple personal diary app online. Our active users were proactively writing diary entries at least once a week.
We re-created the interface as a book-like diary with turning pages and served that basic need.
The diary was successful and we continued to load 100 odd users per week with spikes when we hit the press for one reason or another. The reality of the situation was, though, that we didn’t have the cash to pay for users and at the rate of subscription we weren’t going to hit 1m users in a hurry.
So Where Now?
We made the service paid for. We started at $2 / month. People, we found, would pay for the service. Just over 1.5% would oblige. That’s a pretty good conversion rate, but, there was a cash gap.
The business was burning cash every month and there was none left, so, for now, we’ve had to switch the service off. We’re open to conversations with investors.
What About My Diary?!
If you’re a Loccit user, don’t fret. The service will be switched back on in the next few months, or, we will compile for you a beautiful PDF with all your Loccit content and get it through to you.
If I was Google, I’d be looking at this space very hard right now. The deep integration of Google Plus with the Android OS makes the personal history space a good one to aim at. If I were Google, I’d be creating a Loccit.
Independent companies looking at this space, in my humble opinion, don’t have much of a chance. The space is too valuable, it needs to be done in partnership with a big gun, or, at some point, you’ll be shot down in the same way the original incarnation of Loccit was shot down by Timeline (as was our biggest competitor, Memolane).
Consequently, I predict that we haven’t seen the last of Loccit and whether it’s with us or without us, Google will have a Loccit of its own soon enough.
To Our Users
Thank you. We had a roller coster ride with Loccit.com. We enjoyed every moment of it and still believe in the concept. Sadly it didn’t come off for us. We vested a lot of time and money trying to make it work for you and us, but unfortunately we failed.
We’re forever grateful for the experience you gave us and certainly hope that you find a great way to accomplish the same thing Loccit provided.
Unfortunately for all of us, Loccit.com is currently another photo in the box in my attic.