Why do Startups fail? 10 Startup Ideas That Stink

by Fred Abramson on October 11, 2010 · 1 comment

DeLorean DMC12

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Why do so many startups fail? You may be really smart, execute well and have the funding.  However, the bigger problem may that the problem is too big to handle. The blog Business Insider lists ten startup ideas that never work.  They are:

  1. Semantic Search/Any search company that’s not Google. When was the last time that you asked Jeeves anything?
  2. Social recommendations as a standalone don’t work.
  3. Local News Sites. Perhaps the Patch network of sites may work, but probably not because of lack of advertising dollars.
  4. Micropayments don’t work. The site with the best content, The New York Times failed charging by the article.
  5. Stop trying to kill email. Look what happened to Google wave.
  6. You can’t try to make a better car company. Tesla has sold only 2,000 cars.  How about the DeLorean? I vividly remember John DeLorean busted on tape selling cocaine in a ludicrous attempt to save his company.
  7. Music startups can’t get enough paying customers. I am a music geek and have  purchased music online occasionally on iTunes and rarely on Amazon. (I still purchase CD’s at J&R Music, so I may be a bit of a dinosaur).
  8. Marrying the web and the TV hasn’t worked out.  Even though all the cool kids in New York love Boxee, do you know of anyone who uses it? It remains to be seen what happens with Apple and Google’s latest offerings, but history is not on  their side.
  9. RSS Readers are not a business. Whatever…. Google does the job reasonably well.
  10. A startup focused on kids or making life easier for parents. I’m not sure I agree with this overboard generalization. Certainly my hometown of Port Washington,NY needs more daycare centers. However, if you are planning a startup to take on the big boys, ie Target, Wal-Mart et. al, you are looking for trouble.

What do you think? What is on your list for startup ideas that never work?

The Law Office of Frederic R. Abramson represents startups and small businesses in New York. If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 212-233-0666.

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