Updated: 24th June 2017

Blab shuts down its live video platform

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Blab, the live video chat platform that launched in early 2015 and quickly grew to almost four million users, has closed its doors.

Co-founder Shaan Puri announced the shutdown late Friday, saying that the website and app would be shut down immediately. He touted some impressive numbers from the service’s first year — 3.9 million users and an average time-on-site of 65 minutes per day.

But he also says that user churn was a problem because live video streams require a user’s complete attention. Puri says only about 10 percent of Blab’s userbase visited regularly.

Why?

Because most live streams aren’t interesting enough to justify stopping what they are doing to watch your broadcast.

The struggle with Livestreaming [sic] — is that we need to show you something awesome, that’s being made right now.

Turns out, that’s really tough. It killed Meerkat, and Periscope & [Facebook] Live are feeling the pain right now. Really, only Twitch has gotten it right with live streaming video games.

Blab was sort of a middle ground between Periscope (single-user video) and Google Hangouts (multiple users). It allowed up to four people to participate in a live video chat and quickly became popular among marketers for its ease of use and integration with social media. Here at Marketing Land, we’ve been using Blab since February to offer our weekly live video show Marketing Land Live, and more recently began using the recorded Blab audio to turn the show into a podcast.

No warning

Some of Blab’s most dedicated users are using Twitter to voice their frustrations that the service shut down without warning:

But there were signs in recent weeks that this was coming. For starters, there were numerous technical issues that cropped up and went days/weeks without getting fixed, if they were fixed at all. The Blab home page, which normally showed a selection of active video chats that anyone could watch, was showing mostly inactive chats that were 10+ days old.

Then there was the radio silence from Blab itself: The last tweet of any kind from its official customer support account, @Blab911, is dated July 7th, and the main @Blab account hasn’t tweeted since May 23rd. The Blab Daily Digest blog on Medium hasn’t been updated since May 2nd and Brittany Metz, the author behind that blog and perhaps Blab’s most visible team member, recently tweeted to a Blab user, saying “I no longer work with Blab.”

In his shutdown announcement, Puri says the Blab team’s next project will be “an ‘always on’ place to hang with friends.”


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