What ever happened to Joost?

It’s never a good thing to have a story about your company begin with “Whatever happened to…” but in this case I have to ask it. When Joost launched in beta it was the hottest thing going. Everyone wanted an invite and many thought the newest creation by the guy who brought us Skype would surely be a hit. High quality online video with commercial content and interactivity, how could it loose?

I had an early Joost beta account and I had high hopes as well. While the downloadable client application was slick, there was virtually nothing to watch. Someone once said content is king and with regards to Joost it was never more true. Months and months dragged on. There were announcements from Joost about content deals, but I never saw anything compelling in my client. You only have so much time to hit when you announce yourself in the Web 2.0 world. There are so many things happening so fast, if you don’t get some traction, the next big thing will wash ashore and you’ll be all but forgotten. What ever happened to…

Joost had every reason to succeed. They were formed by known entities with a proven track record. The weberrati were ready and willing to embrace it. But content really is king and if you can’t deliver the goods, it doesn’t matter how slick your client is or how good your business plan is. At his point, Joost is stuck with a large, heavy desktop application while the rest of the online video world has moved to web distribution. The real nail in the coffin was Hulu. Hulu does everything Joost purports to do but does it on the web and actually has high quality content.

There have been stories this week about a Joost restructuring, a new plan that includes US only distribution. Paidcontent.org has sources that say that’s not so.  Either way, I don’t see how Joost recovers and becomes important again. They’re way behind the curve and all the mojo has drained out. With enough money they can hobble along for awhile, but mark this one down as a success that should have been. I guess you can’t win them all.