The Death of iTunes Ping: Apple’s Failed Social Network

Following today’s Apple Keynote, their music social network (called Ping) experiment silently received a death notice. However, most people didn’t even know about the social network in the first place.

Before we get into why this never worked, let’s detail exactly how we knew it came to an end. Apple announced an abundance of new gizmos, including the iPhone 5 and a new iPod Nano & Touch. Another huge announcement was the new re-imagined design of iTunes.

Tech Pundits quickly picked up from live blog screenshots that the new version of iTunes did not have the word Ping anywhere on it. This came with little surprise, as Ping had received what I call the “Buzz” effect.

To explain this effect in further detail, I’m relating this to Google’s first social experiment, called Google Buzz. Once Google allowed users to feed their twitter posts into Buzz, that was all users ever did. Myself included. I never saw a reason to actually visit Buzz’s website, even though their was a comment system there, and you could actually post original content into it. It seemed easier to just feed my tweets into Buzz and allow my followers to comment or “like” posts on there. This worked well for awhile, but it eventually became nothing but another twitter feed.

This is ultimately why Google shut down Buzz. This same effect happened with Ping. Users (mostly musicians — as it was supposed to be a music social network) simply re-pumped their tweets into Ping and that was that.

Also, the most important reason Ping failed was because nobody had any clue it existed. This was because of a disagreement between Apple and Facebook. Since the Mountain Lion release, and the latest version of iOS, Apple and Facebook have since patched things up — but all too late.

In theory, the idea of seeing what your buddies (or favorite celebrities) bought on iTunes was a great idea. But, you HAD to be in iTunes to see it. If Apple had made connections early on with Facebook to allow for “frictionless sharing” — then the network could have possibly survived.

However, CEO of Apple Tim Cook is quoted saying “We tried Ping, and I think the customer voted and said ‘This isn’t something that I want to put a lot of energy into.’“

So it’s a possibility that even if Facebook had allowed for this sharing early on, Apple still would be dumping it on the 30th.

It started in September 2010 and will be put to rest on September 30th, 2012.

Some users are generally worried about their data they have posted on Ping, and whether or not they’ll be able to retrieve it once the service does shut down. I’m sure Apple will have some sort of an export option, but I can’t think of very much important information that I’ve run across on Ping, let alone anything worthwhile that I’ve posted.

Apple has already killed all known links to the service from their site.  Also, if you try to sign up for an account (why on Earth you’d want to I’ll never know) you’ll see this message:


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