Sampa, the start up company best known for allowing families to upload and privately share pictures, blog posts and other milestones is closing its doors. In a letter sent to RWW, CEO Paul Gross explains, "There is no big story behind it, just the simple version of we ran out of money and the business models we tried didn't work out."
RWW first covered Sampa in June 2006 and the service certainly evolved since then. It went from being an overly techie-looking blogging platform to a user-friendly family tool with built-in family tree, baby countdown timer and import functionality from Flickr and YouTube.
While the company did manage to raise $1 million dollars in the Spring of 2008, they were forced to realize the sad reality that by the Fall of 2008, they were unable to build the company they'd envisioned.
Said Sampa co-founder Marcelo Calbucci,"One by one [our] potential partners started to fall off our whiteboard, because they decided to built in-house, or they acquired a similar solution to Sampa, or because they weren't ready to do the deal. On Friday, June 1st, 2009, our last chance was gone...We'll be shutting down our servers for good in August (which will give our customers many weeks to export their content) and liquidating the corporation."
Despite having shaped itself into a great tool, in the current market, Sampa's closure seemed a high possibility. Sampa was often compared to the more well-known Yahoo GeoCities service. When ReadWriteWeb profiled the closure of GeoCities in April we predicted that a number of web site building tools would also meet their unfortunate end. As non-commercial users increasingly produce content for 3rd party networks and blogs, the family web-building space becomes even smaller.
Sampa recommends users export their baby-related site materials to TotSites, their family journals to Cozi and their general purpose blogs to WordPress. Another smart option might be Picalily. Meanwhile those looking for a simple family tree application might want to try Geni or Genoom.