Yahoo has announced that it will close down location-based social network Koprol at the end of August, less than two and a half years after it bought the Indonesia-headquartered social network for an undisclosed sum.
Many in Asia had high hopes for Koprol as, pre-sale to Yahoo, the service had competed on an equal footing with Foursquare in its home market and, with a presence on the ground in Asia, it was seen as having a shot at expanding across Southeast Asia and beyond to challenge its US-rival.
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Things have changed massively since the deal was done in May 2010. Gowalla disappearing to Facebook, and Foursquare charging on to dominate the space with 20 million registered users and a newly redesigned app and focus.
However, the Koprol-Yahoo partnership looked like a good fit at the time, given the US company’s focus on and considerable presence in a number of key Asian markets. With Yahoo’s country staff siloed and effectively working in separate ways with little cohesion, the service failed to ignite on its early potential.
Koprol was not one of the Yahoo services shut down in January but we previously said that the future didn’t look good for Koprol, after its entire development team was laid off with Yahoo’s latest round redundancies, which cut 2,000 jobs worldwide. Indeed, we chatted with a Yahoo exec at Echelon 2012 who hinted that the service was living on borrowed time.
Now Yahoo has confirmed its fate:
In line with Yahoo!’s focus on more quickly innovating with our core products and properties, over the coming quarters, we are shutting down or transitioning a number of products that did not meaningfully drive revenue or engagement. After carefully reviewing its product portfolio, Yahoo! has decided to discontinue Koprol effective 28th August, 2012.
This is a sad day for Indonesia’s startup community as Koprol was seen a shinning beacon that the region had the potential to compete with Western services, and gain the funding and backing needed from with inside Asia.
The Yahoo post also contains information of how Koprol users and businesses on the service can retain their data:
You can export your profile, all your original posts, reviews, check-ins and images you have uploaded by going to ‘Export Data’ at m.koprol.com/export.
You may export your online data any time before August 28, 2012, however please note that you may only do so once. Once you have exported your data, any updates to your profile, original posts, reviews, checkins and images you upload onto Koprol thereafter cannot be exported.
For users who have created a Koprol Business Profile, you can save your profile, all your original posts and images you have uploaded previously, directly onto your computer.
The first year after its acquisition, Koprol saw a 20-fold increase in users, as its global user base reached 1.5 million, although 90 percent were based in Indonesia, the Jakarta Post notes. Interest petered out as its features and user experience began to lag rival services.
There has been recent optimism around Koprol and TNW’s partner in Indonesia — Daily Social — paid the firm a visit in April to check out the newly refocused service, which was aiming to be a neighbourhood message board.
It was unfortunately ironic that the visit was the day before the team lay-offs were announced. Now those plans are over and Koprol will check-out for good come August 28.