Socializr Lays Off Staff, On DeadPool Watch

Socializr, the online event organization tool that first went into private beta in 2006, isn’t in good shape.

We’ve heard from a couple of sources that Socializr has laid off most or all of the staff and that the site is running on autopilot. The company confirms cost reductions but won’t go into more detail on the scope of the layoffs. From founder Jonathan Abrams:

We are definitely not shutting down our site, or our operations, or the company, but Socializr has taken cost reduction steps to adjust both to the economic conditions and the time required to grow an event invitation service, and we expect these moves to help us get close to cash-flow positive, albeit on a very lean burn-rate, and last a couple of years without needing further capital. Additional details are company confidential, hope you understand.

Abrams is best known for founding Friendster in 2002, one of the first popular social networks. Friendster ultimately lost its pole position in social networking to MySpace, which in turn lost to Facebook. But Friendster created a template for a user profile and friending that is still used by competitors.

Socializr was dubbed “evite 2.0” when it first launched by various press, but it turns out that it’s probably competitive pressure from Facebook and others that have doomed the service. Evite hasn’t evolved much, but more social invitation products, such as those offered by Facebook, have stolen a lot of new user growth. Socailizr, which never had a huge user base, can’t compete with what is essentially a side feature at the mammoth Facebook.

Compete shows Socializr peaking at 90,000 or so monthly U.S. visitors earlier this summer, which is certainly not enough to sustain a venture backed business. The company raised a total of $2.25 million over two rounds, the latest in 2007.

It doesn’t look like Socializr is shutting down any time soon, but it’s definitely on DeadPool watch. Let’s hope it can find a way to pull out a win, even a small one.