Kevin Rose’s Oink Shuts Down

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Oink, the first app from Kevin Rose’s new startup lab Milk, is shutting down. The announcement posted to the company’s homepage today claims the app was a “test” and the decision was made so that the company could focus on its next project, yet to be named.

For those unfamiliar, Oink is an app that lets you rate things at different places, similar to the ex-Googler founded startup Stamped (and parody app Jotly!). Instead of rating a restaurant or a bar, for example, you can rate a dish or a drink.

Likely due to brand name recognition (Rose, not Oink), the app initially saw a wave of downloads – 100,000 in the two and half weeks since its November 2011 launch. At the time, Rose said he was “pretty happy” abut the app’s growth, and detailed plans for future enhancements like curation and voting.

He also noted that he saw Oink’s monetization potential in being an interface for businesses that want to interact with and attract loyal customers. But he did say then that they were still in the “figuring out what sticks” mode. “First we have to prove that there’s value in seeing a bunch of people help curate what the best stuff is in a given place,” he explained.

By December, at Le Web, Rose revealed Oink had reached 150K users, seemingly signs of decent growth.

But perhaps Rose decided the margins on user reviews, even when successful, are generally poor. Case in point: Yelp’s gross margins in its S-1 filing. In February, for example, the third amendment to Yelp’s S-1 revealed its full-year financials showing that, while net revenues increased since 2009, operating losses increased right along with them. User reviews are often a tough business, and acquiring and keeping advertisers is difficult and expensive.

The full text posted to Oink’s website today reads:

Howdy,

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
Download your Oink content
We’re shutting down the Oink website on March 31st. To download all of your ratings and pictures, simply enter your username or email address associated with your account.

If you don’t know your username, open the Oink app on your iPhone. Tap on your profile (bottom right), tap “Your activity”, and your username will be displayed in the bar at the top of the screen.