Home Qwerly’s Acquisition: This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Qwerly’s Acquisition: This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Social data discovery API service Qwerly has been acquired by social marketing data provider Fliptop, the companies announced late last night. Qwerly was a European startup that allowed developers to provide information like a person’s Twitter profile or email address and would then return links to their corresponding profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks. In other words, it is a tool that helps you better understand the people you know, it points you to where they share their thoughts and experiences online, programmatically. (See: Qwerly Hopes to Power Rebel Alliance Against Facebook)

Fliptop, which acquired Qwerly, is a little written-about social media marketing platform that does similar things, just better, faster and with an explicit aim at marketers. Ultimately all beautiful things must bow down before the god of marketing; human communication has no meaning beyond the opportunity it provides for one person to sell something to another.

“The motivation to build Qwerly was really the question ‘what do we need to build a decentralized social web platform?’ and what we came up with was ‘first, we need to find out how profiles are connected’, i.e. consolidating identities across profiles,” Qwerly founder Max Niederhofer told ReadWriteWeb in January. “We looked at what had happened there in terms of open protocols, like webfinger, and figured things weren’t moving fast enough.”

From data rebel for decentralization to marketing tool in under twelve months, how’s that for things moving fast enough? It’s not the player I mean to criticize, it’s the game. Startup companies have to make money and people aren’t willing to pay for a lot that we ought to (in my opinion). If you were to tell people you enabled anyone to swipe through lit-up full-screen, epoch-defining great works of art from around the world on a nearly paper-thin device, while listening to music, people would yawn. No, the internet would rather put real kittens in a USB powered blender and make virtual goods come out, pooped into an idiotic Zynga pseudo-world, now that people would pay for!

But learning where people publish their thoughts, dreams, plans and photos online? Why else would someone pay to know more about another person but for the leverage it provides to acquire that person’s money? Qwerly’s broad vision (as I’ve always been excited about it at least) of providing value to developers of all kinds of applications, which might then be useful in learning about the world, one another, the human condition, art, science, beauty and love, clearly offers too little tangible value to be supported by the market. That’s not what the internet is for, people.

Qwerly users will be allowed to continue using the company’s data as it transitions to its new home, but the long term prospects of any project that would even consider decorating the dark fall through life into our inevitable death and through the sharpened teeth of the undifferentiated marketer are not strong.

Fliptop offers Salesforce integration, though, and that’s pretty cool. Hopefully more interesting things will come out of all this. We’ll see.

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