Top 10 American Apps That Failed | What Should You Learn From Their Mistakes?

Top 10 American Apps That Failed | What Should You Learn From Their Mistakes?

Every person who builds an App wants to get millions of downloads. The secondary and financially beneficial aim is to increase the in-App purchase. Out of those, only a few mobile apps taste the popularity.

There are multiple American Apps that were developed with good intentions by their owners, but they failed to take off. This may be due to wrong execution, poor idea, and design, or incompetence to monetize efficiently. Many investors lost their thousand and millions of dollars due to the failure of an App.

Popular American Apps that didn’t work

Here are a few American Apps that failed to gain popularity and lost multiple customers.

Yik Yak

Yik Yak, an American App that was built by Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington in November 2013. They created the App while they were pursuing college. It was an anonymous texting App that allowed its users to chat with users around their locality.

Users can check chat from the other vicinity but were allowed to post in the area where they were presently in. The target audience of this popular App was mainly high school and college students. Its anonymous feature made this App popular very soon. Yik Yak App gained value worth $400 million.

However, the feature that made this App very popular also became the reason for its failure. With the anonymous chat feature, there were users who became victims of cyberbullying. Yik Yak lost its popularity and had to sack 60% of its staff by December 2016 due to the loss of App users.


Circa was an American online App that provided online newspaper and entertainment services to its customers. It was founded by Arsenio Santos, Ben Huh, and Matt Galligan in 2012. Circa had interesting news stories and amazing features comprising individual bits of information.

Circa faced a financial breakdown and went offline on June 24th, 2015. The company stated that it is expensive to produce high-quality news. They were unable to continue further production without the necessary capital.

Their concept was quite fresh and innovative which was copied by giants in the news sector and Circa was not able to compete with their advertising outreach and print staff.


Desti was a travel planning mobile App that used AI to help travelers. It helped them to plan their trips and decide on the best destination based on their preference. This App was like a search engine to find hotels, restaurants, etc. Users liked the App but after deciding their desired destination, they used to complete the booking via trusted websites and brand platforms.

Desti was unable to generate any revenue because of that situation. Also, Desti was a very new App in the traveling sector which already had several giants with more trust and years of experience. Later on, it was handed over to Nokia.



Flowtab was an American App designed to save your time by solving the problem of long queues in bars and other hospitality spots. This app enables many users to see the entire list of drinks they could place an order from their mobile phones.

They could do this without waiting for the bar-tender to take their order. The functionality would allow you to pay directly to the bar online for your drinks. However, this idea could not get very popular as users do not visit the same bar frequently and use the App once or twice a month which was not sufficient to generate desired revenue from the App.

Funding and the short staff was also the main issue that it could not take off as it was supposed to be. In conclusion, the owner had to shut down the App.


Gowalla App was a location-based social networking service that was launched in 2007. Foursquare, which is also a location-based App, was the major competitor of Gowalla.

When Gowalla owners realized that their rivals in the check-in service were far ahead of them, they tried to come up with different designs and new features, but their major competitors kept the focus on one or two functions that were most popular among users. Unfortunately, this mobile app could not survive for long and thus was acquired by Facebook in December 2011.


Grooveshark was a music streaming service and App which was founded by 3 undergraduates named Sam Tarantino, Andres Barreto, and Josh Greenberg. It was a paid downloadable music service for the first 2 years of its launch.

It became quite a popular mobile App at that point in time. However, it was later sued by multiple record labels for streaming music illegally. The App was banned from mobile marketplaces. Grooveshark owners decided to shut down the company in April 2015.

Mobile App Development


Munchery was a delivery service and online food ordering American App co-founded by Tri Tran and Conrad Chu. It was a great startup that hired a team of gourmet chefs that would cook new and quality food with constantly changing menus and users were allowed to order the food and get it delivered to their doorstep. Munchery’s business took off quite impressively in the first few years.

Munchery realized that its original heat and server meals had geographical restrictions. To ensure the best quality, the food needs to be delivered quickly. To meet these requirements, Munchery expanded its business to multiple big cities like New York and Los Angeles, etc.

It was not a great decision be it financially or logistically. The owner had to shut down new kitchens by May of 2018.


PoliMobile App was founded by Curt Prins in 2011. It was designed to provide political campaigns with a planned way to reach their supporters. They made it possible using a new set of technologies. Its primary goal was to connect with people by using text messages on their mobiles. However, this idea was not Appreciated as no one wanted to pay for this kind of service.

This happened because traditional campaigning methods were much better. They doubted that this App would work as per their expectations. Multiple campaigns accepted their trial offers but never ended up paying for the services. The owner had to shut down PoliMobile in 2015 as it was not generating desired revenue.


The founders of Secret App were David Byttow and Chrys Bader-Wechseler. It allowed users to post content anonymously and share it with their circle of friends or the wider public. The App soon gained the interest of the users and was valued at $100 million.

This American App provided the facility for users to keep their identities anonymous. However, the App lost its popularity after multiple complaints of cyberbullying and harassment. David Byttow announced the shutdown of the App on April 29, 2015.


Shyp was a famous shipping company founded in 2013 by Jack Smith, Kevin Gibbon, and Joshua Scott. This mobile app served many users to click a photo of the product they want to ship. This is how, users would be able to upload the photo on the App.

Once it is uploaded, a courier picks it up from your house and delivers it directly to the company headquarters. It was then packed by the employees in their own high-end custom packaging and shipped via UPS, FedEx, or other similar delivery services.

It was a great shipping model. However, Shyp had overestimated its regular users. Shipping is something which is not used by people very often. Apart from that, users were supposed to pay $5 for the shipping regardless of its size. Shyp also started charging an extra $3 as a packaging fee for the marked-up shipping cost.

In 2017, Shyp laid off the majority of its employees and stopped operating in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago to achieve profit. The company was finally shut down on March 27th, 2018, by CEO Kevin Gibbin.

Wrapping Up

Though, a startup is the future of this generation. However, not all startups are meant to be successful. They need complete market research and strategy and changes as per the market. The trend and owners should keep their knowledge up to date to sustain their business.

Hope these mistakes have taught you how to build mobile Apps successfully in the future!

About Us: Algoworks is a B2B IT firm providing end-to-end product development services. Operating chiefly from its California office, Algoworks is reputed for its partnership with Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon, Dell, Salesforce, and Microsoft. Algoworks is an expert in Mobile App Development with experience in catering to enterprises belonging to all domains. This includes: Android App Development, iOS App Development, ReactNative App Development, Flutter App Development etc. For more information, contact us here.

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Rachit Agarwal

Rachit Agarwal

Director and Co-Founder at Algoworks Technologies
Rachit is leading the mobility business development function, mobility strategy and consulting practice at Algoworks. He is an expert of all mobile technologies and has experience in managing teams involved in the development of custom iPhone/iPad/Android apps.
Rachit Agarwal

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