Fab.com, the gay social network that launched originally as Fabulis, has closed after its founder said that advances in gay rights mean there is less need for a gay version of Facebook.
The website began as a sort of gay Foursquare-style game based around users’ Facebook connections. It then evolved to a gay version of Groupon.
But neither really took off despite millions of dollars of investment from influential angel investors and the Washington Post. The company will now reform as a Groupon clone centred around design enthusiasts.
Jason Goldberg, its founder, wrote in a frank blog post explaining the decision: “Gay rights progress over the past year had a positive impact on the gay community but a negative impact on the demand for our services.”
He added: “With developments like the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the court victories over California’s Proposition 8 gay marriage ban, the Obama administration’s tacit rejection of the Defense of Marriage Act, and the anti-bullying ‘It Gets Better Project’ continuing to integrate gays into the mainstream, we saw a diminished need for a gay Facebook or a gay Yelp or a gay Foursquare or a gay Groupon.”
Mr Goldberg also admitted that he “couldn’t do the math” to turn Fab.com into a big business.
He added that there is a larger market for well-designed products, the focus of the next incarnation of Fab.com, than there is for a gay-orientated online venture.
While Fab.com managed to gain more than 140,000 registered users, other social networking platforms are growing much faster.
Dot429.com, a newly launched gay take on Linkedin, has started to gain traction and gay mobile networking applications including Grindr and BoyAhoy have grown significantly, particularly in the UK.
Writing on PinkNews.co.uk’s comment section, Mr Goldberg explained: “Grindr is the only true success story in new online gay services, and that’s because it’s about a critical need: hookups. But we didn’t want to be another hookup site at fab.
“I do not believe at this point that there is legitimate demand for a non-sexual social network for gay men that would garner more than 1M members. And if you can’t get to 10M members, it’s hard to build a significant business in this space.”