Is it time to ring the trouble house alarm and discuss? After getting off to arguably the hottest start of any startup and sky rocketing to a fast valuation of $4 billion with no revenue but some of the biggest and brightest names in the VC space. Now however a recent report discusses the slow down and this is just as they roll out replays which is a way for clubhouse creators to distribute their content. Replays will allow those who create audio content on their platform to record the rooms and repost this content on 3rd party platforms. The issue is why did they take the radio approach and something ephemeral and pivot now?
Why it may be too little too late to get out of the Dog House for Club House?
With Replays, creators can now share their conversations and audio on other 3rd party platforms that have the ability to amplify their reach exponentially. This includes all the biggest social media names who have already copied their idea such as: Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. So now they can connect with their fans through their base on these other sites (reminder Clubhouse has <2 million MAUs).
So Replays 101 is a podcast like feature and if they utilize the new startup from David Sacks and Jason Calcanis (did I spell that right J. Cal?) they can turn audio directly into a podcast. "Replays also allows creators to pin links to specific segments, skip to the next speaker, see who’s joining the conversation, and see total attendee counts. Listeners can tune in at 1.5x or 2x speed, pause, and create 30 second clips from the recording. The downside is that creators cannot receive tips through Replays like they can in live conversations." So why take away the monetization ability?
So is all of this too little too late? Replays sounds great but why didn't they keep the ability to reward creators? Think about Youtube and why people create content and upload music videos on there? It's cause they are getting rewarded each time you listen. Why stop that at any point of the funnel in the clubhouse funhouse?
So how bad is the downward trend for the formerly most popular app of 2021? In April 900,000 people downloaded clubhouse on an invite only basis. Not bad? Well 2 months before that 9.6 million people downloaded the app on iOS only. In April they were still getting upwards of 10 million active weekly listeners but as of summer time it has dropped down to only 2 million.
The challenge is it went from the newest cool kid in the school to a high school drop out looking to get it's GED. The flop may be that they can't keep up with the biggest tech companies that typically only get a 1 year head start before their ideas are copied (Jeff Bezos used to say 2 years but that number has dropped significantly as we now see).
Are the copy cats the problem? I think it stems more from the alienation of Android users. With that kind of funding and valuation why didn't they get into the Google play store sooner? By the time Spring ended they rolled out the Android app but it's fanfare was starting to dwindle instead of using those extra 10 million users globally to fuel further growth. So while that was stagnant Twitter which already had an Android app rolled out Spaces, telegram a global privacy chat platform launched Voices Chat 2.0, and then Facebook did Facebook with Audio Rooms, Discord launched Stages, well you get the idea right? Did I mention Spotify laucnhed Greenroom as well?
So the invite only on Clubhouse was good at first but hurt their growth... By July they dropped the invite only codes.
They stopped having high quality conversations on the platform. So better payment to those attracting listeners should have been done, dropping the invite only earlier, stopping hate on their platform was listed as a risk, and not rolling out Replays sooner.
So while I would love to see other startups succeed and everybody can be a Monday morning quarterback. This should give some perspective on Clubhouses Dog House Days.