Recommendation site for retail, travel, food and beauty DailyCandy announced this week it would shut down permanently on April 4th. The news shocked many, since the site – born as an email list of 750 people in 2000 – was one of the first examples of a successful enterprise based solely on digital content. Comcast acquired it in 2008 and was later acquired by NBC Universal.
On the surface, DailyCandy was in no danger of shutting down with 950,000 Twitter followers and ties to the parent company of major TV channels. Though efforts to make money were increasingly thwarted. Its flash sale site Swirl shut down after a brief life, and Daily Deals (coupons for experiences and shopping) were discontinued. Sources say traffic was not enough for substantial monetization.
A New York Magazine piece, written before DailyCandy’s sale to Comcast, shows the site had warning signs of a small audience, failure (or unwillingness) to expand its product, and losing touch with its subscribers. Recent articles point to DailyCandy’s closed system, which made engagement and sharing with friends difficult. Brands’ direct social media efforts made the site and its emails redundant, as fans could find out about deals through signing up for the brand email list or following them on social media. DailyCandy was also slow to adopt mobile, and has a subpar site to this day.
Our latest report on social media Intelligence Report: Instagram showed that 93% of prestige brands are active on Instagram, the fastest-growing platform due to its mobile-centricity and focus on visuals. The shutting down of DailyCandy drives home the importance of evolving in that direction, for brands and media properties alike.