Social Q&A website Formspring has called it quits and will be shutting down at the end of March. The company says that the reason behind the imminent shut down is that it had become challenging to keep the ever growing site going.
Formspring was built on the same lines as Yahoo answers. The site allowed users to ask and answer general and pointed questions anonymously or tagged with their accounts. Founded in November 2009, the site grew into a community of 30 million registered users who’ve created more than 4 billion posts on it.
Formspring’s founder and CEO Ade Olonoh broke the news on the company’s blog page. “I’m grateful to each of you that helped make the site better by asking questions and posting responses. None of this would have been possible without you. Through the community you created, we’ve met new people, strengthened relationships, opened our minds to different points of view, and made each other smile,” he wrote.
Olonah also informed regular Formspring users that the last day to ask questions on the website would be March 31 and that you can export your responses on the site from now till April 15, after which the site and associated apps will go offline with all content being permanently deleted.
To export your Formspirng data, you need to log in to your account and head over to http://www.formspring.me/account/export. Hit the export button on the page and the site will email you when your data is ready, following which you will be able to download a zip file of your responses.
Formspring has had its fair share of notoriety in its brief journey as a community. In 2010 the site came into the limelight for its anonymous form of asking questions that led teenage bullies to take advantage of it. The lack of ownership on posts led to extreme insults and threats on the website against other adolescents and it was even linked to a teenager’s suicide in March 2010.
The growth of the website was also a bone of contention with Olonah claiming that Formspring had actually routed Pinterest in being the fastest site to hit 10 million monthly unique users a month. A comScore report in January 2012 had led Olonah to make this claim. The site was also hacked in July last year, which led to the company having to disable the passwords of nearly 30 million users.
The site underwent a major overhaul in the summer of 2012 as it moved away from the simple Q&A format to add topics and tags to aid conversation. Olonah had told Venture Beat at the time, “It’s not like we’re launching something that’s completely outside of the space where we were before. Conversations now have multiple entry points, either via shared interests or topics or with people you know or follow. This is a major shift in design that further aligns us with the interest vs social graph.”
With Formspring’s demise, the foucus of Q&A communities will shift to heavyweight Quora and veteran Yahoo Answers to fill the void.
(Cover Image Credit: Getty Images)