Twitter’s former VP of product Michael Sippey seemed to be building a service that might challenge his former employer: his Talkshow app allowed anyone to exchange text messages in front of an audience; the idea was to get other people talking.
Now it’s gone quiet. In a letter to users sent earlier today, the company writes:
“Six months ago, we launched Talkshow in the App Store, with the goal of giving people an easy way to have simple, uncluttered conversations in public. Today we have some tough news: on Thursday December 1, we’re shutting down the Talkshow app and website. While we have enjoyed the conversations that have happened on Talkshow, and are grateful for the community that has formed around the product, we don’t see it getting big enough to have the impact we had hoped for. We’re sorry, and we’re going to try to handle this transition in the right way.”
The nascent company generated a good deal of buzz when it first launched. With Talkshow, each conversation could be followed via the app or through embeds on any site. Starting a show was as easy as sending a message ; users picked a co-host (or hosts) and a title for the show and their friends received a push notification letting them know it was go time.
Users could also share pics and GIFs in shows, post stickers and so forth.
Talkshow officially launched in April. That it wound up stagnating seems to suggest that users aren’t terribly interested in seeing 1:1 messaging turned into a broadcast medium.
Then again, Talkshow’s limited growth may have centered more on execution. App store optimization startup Sensor Tower estimates that Talkshow’s app was downloaded roughly 62,000 times over its short run, with roughly 70 percent of the downloads coming from the Apple’s U.S. App Store and the remaining 30 percent coming from Australia, Great Britain, and Canada.
Either way, here’s what happens now, says the company, which never publicly announced any kind of outside funding yet appears to have raised $2.3 million last year (so may have money leftover to try something new):
As of today we are removing Talkshow from the App Store. If you have the app installed you can continue using Talkshow for the next week; we want to give the community an opportunity to wind down their shows. However, we have turned off the ability for users to create new accounts or create new Talkshows.
On Tuesday November 8, we will end all currently active Talkshows. When that happens, Talkshow hosts will no longer be able to send messages to their shows, and audience members will no longer be able to submit Q&A messages. Effectively, every Talkshow will be in “read only” mode, in the app and on the web.
Also on Tuesday November 8, we will make export tools available for every show. On the the web view for each show, we will prominently feature a “Download” link, which will allow any user to download a zip archive of that show. That archive will include an HTML file, CSS and all the images that were sent to the show. We’re making these export links available publicly, because Talkshow was literally designed to be “texting in public.”
If you were a fan of a particular show, and want to keep it for posterity’s sake, you can go ahead and download a zip archive of that particular show.
On Thursday December 1 we will be turning off Talkshow. As of that day, the app will no longer function (even in “browse” mode), and requests to Talkshow profiles and show pages on the web will no longer work.
R.I.P. Talkshow. At least it lasted longer than Peach, another social app that had everyone talking at its launch . . . then sank, within four days, to the bottom of the iPhone downloads chart.