About.me ... and failing to pivot
Some context - about.me was one of the first single-page personal websites. All it offered was a simple online presence for people. It was big when it was released in 2010 - a lot of publicity and lots of famous people pushing their personal brands online for the first time. It was one of those sweet ideas where you didn’t need much tech. The mere ownership of the brand “about.me” was enough. I’d say it’s difficult to find a more suitable name for personal online presence (apart from owning your own name).
And then - nothing. That’s OK. Sometimes you don’t need to make changes. For example, Hacker News is as good as it was 15 years ago. If they don’t make any changes, I’d guess it will still be OK 10 years from now. However, with the rise of online influencers and their presence on multiple platforms, there was a need for something even simpler than about.me - a page where one could list the links to all other accounts online. That’s how services like linktr.ee and their competitors were born. All they had to offer was an easy way to create a mobile-friendly page with a list of links or buttons. Nothing more. No fancy widgets or anything.
They could have easily won that market against Linktree. For example, about.me/StanBright looks better and is easier to communicate than linktr.ee/StanBright. Yet, they didn’t do it. About.me was launched six years before Linktr.ee. They had the time advantage, they had a working product, they had a better brand name, yet they didn’t make a move. They failed to pivot.
What’s the missed opportunity? According to Similarweb, about.me has ~1.3M monthly visits as of today, and Linktree … wait for it … it has ~132M, and it’s growing!
Moral of the story - a simple pivot, sometimes, costing you almost nothing, could result to a 100x growth of your product.