12seconds Is Shutting Down

Twitter video community 12seconds has announced that it is going to shut down by October 22. 12seconds offered users the ability to record short video clips (you probably guessed by now how short exactly) and share those clips via Twitter as well as within the 12seconds community. Users will be given a chance to export all their clips in the coming days.

In an open letter published on its home page, 12seconds CEO Sol Lipman said that “it’s time to call it quits,” adding:

“12seconds is not a failure — it is a life well-lived.  It really is about the journey.  I know this because I’m at the destination.”

A slightly less prosaic way to say this would be that most of the 12seconds team has also been involved with the 2square competitor Rally Up, which was bought by AOL (s AOL) for less than $10 million in August. Lipman told me during a phone conversation that there simply wasn’t enough time anymore to make any significant changes to 12seconds.

He also said that 12seconds “fell victim to Twitter’s growth.” The site wasn’t originally intended to be used for Twitter video sharing at all, but got swept up in the growing excitement for the micro-blogging service — only to see its users disappear to other services. “The Twitter ecosystem changed a lot,” he added.

12seconds launched its private alpha more than two years ago, and briefly experimented with so-called “tweetable video commercials” last year. The company was self-funded, which impacted its ability to compete with countless other startups popping up in the same space. Lipman wrote about this two years ago on the company’s blog:

“Why do you raise funds?  To pay people.  Every single person at 12seconds has another job or consults.  No one gets paid.  Yes, we’d all love to work on 12seconds full time.  Perhaps one day we will raise money and get paid.  But the lack of funding is not and will not be the barrier that stops us.”

Asked about this today, he said that he was still proud of the way 12seconds was run as a self-funded startup. “I love the bootstrapping model,” he said, adding: “I think the VC model can be very flawed.”

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