Back in March 2009 I wrote about MeeHive, a service launched by Kosmix that promised to give users custom-built newspapers by piecing together stories from blogs and news sites across the web. At the time I wrote that it seemed to work pretty well, but questioned if people would actually wind up using it given the plethora of RSS aggregators available, not to mention the similar startups have tried (and often failed) to make this work. Alas, it looks like things haven’t worked out for MeeHive after all: Kosmix has emailed users to inform them that it will be shutting down later this month.
Here’s a portion of the email:
We’re planning to retire MeeHive on Oct 19 to focus on Tweetbeat, our new social media filter. This means that, as of Oct 19, the MeeHive site will no longer be available and your MeeHive account will be deleted. We want to make this transition as easy as possible for you, so we encourage you to contact us at email@example.com if you have questions or thoughts about this. We’d especially like to thank those of you who shared your ideas and feedback with us over the past months.
Kosmix offers a search engine that will dynamically build ‘topic pages’ for your query, pulling from sources like Wikipedia, blogs, and content written by the Kosmix community. MeeHive essentially took that technology and applied it to news, but it obviously it didn’t catch on. In the email announcing the closing of Meehive, Kosmix writes that it’s directing its attention to Tweetbeat, a real-time Twitter search engine that launched at TechCrunch Disrupt. The company also recently launched Tweetbeat Firsthand, a browser plugin that will let you mouse-over proper names to see that person’s recent tweets (for example, you can mouse-over President Obama’s name in a news story to see his tweets).
Update: If you’re wondering why this sort of personalized news startup so often fails, there’s an excellent thread on Quora that discusses this.
We’ve reached out to Kosmix for more details on the shutdown of Meehive.