What are some startup ideas that frequently fail ?


This is a famous questions which you want to ask before entering into “RISK”, but no one is there to answer. The reason is that there is lot of subjectivity in this question. One Idea may be “Bad” according to one and “Good” according to someone else. What are some startup ideas that frequently fail ?, this is a question which is asked on “Quora”. We are collecting most voted answers on the Quora platform.

Lee Semel, http://leesemel.com (Total Votes 410)

– Anything that makes programming “easy for non-programmers or businesspeople”

– Micropayments

– T-Shirts (except Threadless (and Busted Tees … thanks Adam Kazwell))

– Recommendations based on what your friends like

– RSS readers, or more generally, sites focused primarily on presenting and formatting news stories gleaned from 3rd party sources

– Customized personalized newspapers focusing on mainstream news (as opposed to niche industry news with high business value)

– Find nearby people to meet/date through your mobile phone

– Anything involving paying people to look at ads

– Sites that purport to measure someone’s trustworthiness as a standalone service, separate from any other context or functionality

– Craigslist killers – but not sites that attack individual categories on Craigslist (see diagram in this question’s summary)

– To-do lists – there are tons of these, but everyone’s workflow tends to be so personalized and specific to that person that none of them really catch on

– Most blogs that are started with the intent of being businesses

– Business that let consumers scan some kind of code, number or barcode in real life, with some special device, or lately their phone, and they get sent a URL, ad or coupon in return.

This isn’t to say that these are terrible ideas perpetually destined to fail, rather that they are commonly attempted ideas, that been tried many times, and fail frequently.

Artemi Krymski, Post.fm Founder / YC AlumniPost.fm Founder / YC Alumni (Total Votes 275)

Nothing fails persistently.  Everything that works is a re-invention of some existing idea that has failed before – done right.

Search engines “failed” as a business before Google came along.  Online transactions failed before PayPal came along.  Email “failed” before Hotmail made it accessible online. etc etc

Bruno Morency, Founder of Context.IOFounder of Context.IO (Total Votes 106)

Anything that promises to make email a thing of the past.

Rose Yao, product manager facebook (opengraph/platform, previously mobile)product manager facebook (opengraph/platform, previously mobile) (Total Votes 46)

Social recommendations, in the last couple of years I’ve seen a lot of startups try to tackle the space of recommending stuff to people because their friends liked it.   (dentists, lawyers, makeup, etc)  All of them have changed directions since then.

Dharmesh Shah, Co-founder and CTO, HubSpotCo-founder and CTO, HubSpot (Total Votes 31)

Tools that deliver personalized news.


Vilan Natanzon, Internet IntellectualizerInternet Intellectualizer (Total Votes 25)

Startups dependent on communities tend to decline after initial success. Once communities reach a certain size they become difficult to manage, in some cases abuse is rampant or quality of content declines.

Examples of this are Yahoo Answers and Digg. Although not exactly failures, fresh starts are gaining too much momentum against them. Reddit and Quora could become future victims because community design is a complex problem.

Niall Smart (Total Votes 18)

Website annotation (aka web graffiti) – i.e. the concept of a browser extension that lets visitors to a site add their own private annotations and/or have public conversations in-situ on the site. See: rooh.it, blerp, fleck, trailfire, reframeit, dotspots, google sidewiki, stickis, third voice.

Mohit Bansal(23) is B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, India. He has interest in business and entrepreneurship and has published couple of research articles. He is also associated with various NGOs. He is with Techaloo when it was just in concept stage. The Techaloo site was not existing even then. Currently Mohit is working with Mu Sigma as a Business Analyst Profile.

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