You might want to call it the “Facebook effect,” as we expected the world’s largest social network entering the check-in space would kill some of the existing services. It looks like Brightkite may be one of the first victims, as it is killing its check-in service to focus on group texting. It’s not bad though, as this is probably a much better business decision.
Brightkite and Loopt are the OGs of the location-based mobile social network game, although neither got the hype that Foursquare and its check-in model brought. These companies have added the ability to check in via its apps.
For the first time this will be a Brightkite app without check-in, posting or stream viewing functionality. Starting from 17th December, you can expect to see the check-in/posting and streams functions start to disappear from our apps and sites. These features were the defining element to our company 2 and 3 years ago, but we no longer believe they are sufficiently unique or defining to be our focus, so we are dropping them.
It’s rough to pivot your business like this and this generally doesn’t portend well for companies but Brightkite is going into a very popular space. Free text messaging apps like TextPlus are killing it with subscribers and using the group aspect could be a good way for Brightkite to stand out from the crowd.
If you’re obsessive about your data and want to retrieve all of your Brightkite check-ins, you can go to this RSS feed to retrieve your last 1,000 items. If you have more than 1,000 check-in and posts, you probably work for Brightkite.
What do you think of this company ditching check-ins? Is it the right move or is it admitting defeat? Could it be both?