Proust, IAC's Social Network For Sharing Eternal Memories, To Shut Down

Remember that social network built to eternally catalog your memories? Barry Diller would rather you forget about it.

Launched in July by Diller's IAC, Proust was a social network designed not for location or photo sharing, but for memory sharing. It was targeted at capturing nostalgic moments through prompts modeled after the famous "Proust Questionnaire" (When was your first kiss? Your most memorable birthday?) and named after the famous French novelist. Back then, we called it the Benjamin Button of social networks—we were right.

"On January 31st 2012, is shutting down," the company said in an email statement to users. "Because helping you preserve your memories is important to us, we’ve created a simple way for you to export your stories, photos and more. Login to Proust and use our simple export tool to download all of your information to save on your computer."

The irony of a memory preservation service shutting down aside, Proust is yet another example of what startups are forced to do with leftover content. Preserve it? Offer a way to download it or port it to another network? We've seen this happen before when Google gobbled up Slide and Dodgeball; perhaps it could happen to Gowalla, too, after Facebook's acquisition.

For Proust, it's all the more ironic as the network was designed for preservation, yet barely lasted six months. "It was just this process of seeing memories go by the wayside," said cofounder and CEO Tom Cortese, in July, of his inspiration for the website.

So much for Benjamin Button. This is more like Memento.

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  • Mel Hogan

    Proust is a good example of a great concept with misguided execution. The name of the site itself was confusing to any but the most esoteric of users. I'm a firm believer in the memory-preservation space, so much so, that I work for a startup that is getting it right. If you truly want your memories to live forever, log on to today, and remember, It Starts With You.


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