Appnox Technologies


Top 7 Mobile App Failures & Learnings to Build a Successful App

The very quick growth of the Mobile App market in today’s strong and productive environment has set the standard for applications, the app has to be updated and enhanced with time to survive in the market. People are considering mobile application development because it is the new way to run the business and also, to keep track of the business, an easy way to reach the customers and generate more revenue.
As per Statista, global mobile app revenue is generated only by advertisement and paid downloads are more than USD 935 billion in 2023.

When you are aiming to develop an application to provide assistance to your users and get a large number of downloads along with the hike in-app purchases. But it is not as easy as it seems and a very small number of applications are able to achieve these kinds of milestones. Over 60% of mobile applications collapse because of bad implementations, poor app ideas, etc.

Furthermore, an in-depth analysis of the mobile app development services industry shows that a large number of applications had to shut down in the very initial phase of use. The major reason behind these diverse results is very tight competition and digitalization. Except for the competitive aspect, there are a lot of mistakes that a developer can make which can affect the success of the application.

On the way to develop your app? Only aiming for the best to happen is good but not preparing for the worst can be a little dangerous. I am listing a few unsuccessful Apps from the past for your better learning, and mind-the-things which can cause the same problem for you.

8 Mobile applications that failed and what kind of error they made

1)Yik Yak – (2013 to 2017)

Yik Yak was very famous and popular among the youth for their unique concept. This app allows nearby people to send anonymous messages. This app’s unique concept became the major reason for shutting down. The cases of cybercrime increased as people started to take advantage of anonymous messages to threaten people and many schools and colleges imposed a ban on its usage.

The company gained a very negative reputation and made it impossible to monetize the software. They tried to convert it into an application for group text but could not succeed. Later on, the app started asking for a username or permanent handle and that was the end of the journey of the YikYak app.

Lessons to learn 
In the face of difficulties concerning security, safety, and monetization. The modification of the fundamentals that attract users to download and appreciate the app was not the right solution for the difficulties of Yik Yak. Before launching the App, it was essential to conduct thorough market research to evaluate the positive and negative outcomes of the App.

2)Hailo – (2012-14) (American market story)
Hailo used to provide Uber-like taxi services and it was a huge success in London, they marked New York City to take over in the upcoming steps of expanding. It crashes badly in the entire North American market while still performing well in Europe.

As per this Cab application, the path and the drivers of London and New York were the same while not only the path but perspective about the cab facilities was very different. New York City’s Yellow taxi drivers usually don’t carry smartphones during their shifts but smartphones are an essential tool for using this Taxi app played a major cause in the disastrous outcome. They failed to provide training to American cab drivers and drivers were not mandated to use smartphones as part of their profession. As a result, Hailo could not onboard the needed number of yellow cab riders in America, and, even after receiving funding of more than $100 million, they could not survive the American Market.

Lessons to learn 
Every user is unique and the same goes with the market. Refrain from making assumptions and conclusions on a single successful launch and do not underestimate the value of market research before the launch.

3)Vine -(2012-17)
Vine was a successful social networking site and it gained quick popularity for making short-term videos. 

The main reason behind the failure was that they could not develop a sustainable business model, failed to adapt, and could not compete with other similar available apps. In 2012, Vine was purchased by Twitter at $30 million as it was quite ahead of other social media platforms but lacked the adaptability to put this app behind its competitor’s apps like Snapchat, Instagram, etc.

Later on, makers made efforts to revive this social media application by extending the duration of the video clip and onboarding other failed social networking sites named Wagon but these efforts were not sufficient to change the destiny of this app. In 2017, Twitter decided to end the struggle and shut down the app forever.

Lesson to learn 
You can not be sure about the success but the one thing you should be sure about is competition. You can not avoid competition, and to beat the competitors you should always embrace the changes and actively seek the scope of improvement to be ahead.

4)Auctionata- (2012-17)

It was a unique concept with lots of potential and received funding of more than $96+ million. This app is used to livestream the auctions for selling artifacts, ornaments, and fine arts. Auctinata’s effort to live stream the auction was not up to the mark due to slow broadband speed, the customer service was below average, the online payment method was not smooth, and the users were facing issues with delivery services as well. The owners were attempting to take legal action against their customers. In 2016, the app was accused of rupturing the trade laws, and later on, the involvement of board members in illegal bidding to artificially raise the price was discovered.
These facts were sufficient to break the faith of users and users started to decline the app.

Lesson to learn 
Do not be unethical, or irresponsible, and never cheat your customers. Your transparency with the T&C of your app is required, and protecting the data of your users should be your priority. Accept the mistakes, learn from them, and take the necessary steps to not repeat the mistake. 

5)Shyp- (2014-18)

If you want to ship something to the other side of the country and expect to avoid big queues and other formalities, then this app something all you need. The process was very smooth, take a picture of the item you want to ship, upload it to the App and someone will come to pick it up. And the cost of the service was just $5. Initially, it was launched in San Francisco for testing purposes and the app faired pretty well. The app was quite successful in California as well but when they tried to expand in other major cities like New York, and Chicago the app tasted failure. The founders made efforts to save this app but that was too late. The journey of this app was full of ups and downs, full of lessons to learn but within 5 years the on-demand courier service app closed.

Lesson to learn 
Founders could not address the issue till the end and did not pay attention to their investors suggestions on key issues. And growth at any cost mentality was one of the primary reasons for the demise of Shyp.

6)Rdio- (2011-15)
This app was designed by Skype co-founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom. Rdio was basically a music streaming app that used to offer more than 5 million songs to its users and along with that app allows their users to see what their family and friends were listening to, in the past and in real-time. Instead of focusing on the user base, the founders were too focused on developing an ideal software for streaming the music. They undervalued the importance of marketing and did not have a dedicated team for marketing or marketing plans, it was the beginning of the downfall of this app. Later on, Spotify arrived in the American market and offered free music streaming to customers, and along with that they did the marketing of their product quite nicely and became well known even before the launch.

Lesson to learn 

They were more focused on the features of the app than on the user base. Better marketing and services like offering free music could have saved the app but efforts were made when it was too late to get better.

They failed to compete with other apps like Spotify, and Apple Music.

7)Google Wave (2009-10)
In the initial phase, Google Wave was stated as the future of communication and the buzz about the app was quite positive. Email, blogging, instant messaging, document sharing, multimedia management this app has it all in one place and was supposed to make communication and collaboration effective and convenient. The app was developed by more than 6000 developers and tested by over 100,000 users. Even after positive hype the app could not take off so well and the services were shut down after 6 months of its launch. The prior reason behind the failure of this application was launching the app before planning proper execution and taking the attention too seriously.

Lesson to learn 

The execution was not planned and the founders were tempted by attention and did not make their product clear. The concept of the App was too complicated to use and very much ahead of time.
These were the major reasons that did not let the Google Wave touch the mark.

8)Everpix – (2012-13)Everpix was an application designed to integrate and organize users’ photo libraries seamlessly, irrespective of whether the photos were stored on a desktop or in the cloud. The concept was innovative and fulfilled a genuine need among users at that particular time. The Everpix was too focused on the perfection of the product while only perfection of the product is not enough to be successful. The founders got a sufficient amount of funding to grow but they did not believe in the concept of marketing as there was no team or even a salesperson. Every task was managed by the developers and designers. The product was unique and carried a lot of potential and it still has a negative gross operating margin. Also, they could not convince the desired number of investors. As they were running out of money, they had to shut down the Application in 2013.

Lesson to learn 

If you are looking to grow your product consider marketing and advertising as essential components for your business. Money management is an essential part of the business and never use investors money to to pay salaries and other expenses.

Things to avoid during the development of an App -

The market of mobile is full of possibilities and million of Apps are fighting for user’s attention. While the competition is benefitting customers. Before jumping for the creatin of an App, strategising the steps are very necessary to move your App towards success.

What are the reason behind the failures of an App, here are few lessons from the failures –

1) Market research and rival analysis 

Before the creation of an App, a thorough research and survey should be conducted to understand the need, wants and behaviors of your potential customers. Inadequate amount of market research and rival analysis wont be able to address the genuine demand.

2) Importance of Unique Value Proposition (UVP) 

For any business model, the importance of Unique Value Proposition is very high because this is the only thing which can help you to stand out fromm yoor competitors. Lacking in UVP could be the one major reasons to hold you behind. Along with the UVP, Unique selling proposition (USP) is equally necessary as it can help you identifying your offering and also differentiate that why customers should choose your services over others. 

3) Updated Tech and Innovation Gap:

Keep your business model updated with latest technology and functionalities, as the it is directly interact with your customers, and outdated technologies can lead to unpleasant user experience.

4) Number of Collaborator 

Including too many associate during the development can lead to contrary visions and a product with multiple aims. So, having sufficient number of associates with the clarity and direction is necessary.

5) Realistic budget and sufficient requirements 

The estimation of budget and and other required resources should have the right numbers with the scope of the margin. Otherwise, it can affect the development of your project or may shut down.

6) Potential of Testing 

Before launching the product, multiple time of testing is required as insufficient amount of testing leaves the bugs and glitches undetected, which can be irritating for your customers and can hurt the reputation of your brand.

7) Maintenance after the launch 

Maintaining and updating your product after launch is very necessary as these are the major keys to retain your customers. Improvement and bug fixing naturally makes your product better.

8) Failures of functions 

Features and functionalities with bugs can affect the user experience and trust. Classifying quality assurance and accurate testing helps in making the user experience better.

9) Too many and complicated features

Offering too many features and complicated functionalities can make your customers experience frustrating and they can choose to uninstall your App. So, offering the features as per the need and preference of your customers can enhance the number of users.

10) Number of Download 

Focusing too much on the number of downloads rather than focus on existing can affect you can affect the success of your product. Applying strategies for engagement or maintaining the relationship with the customers are the key factors for long lasting success.

11) Right partner for right product 

To get the product which aligned with your vision, you should be very careful while choosing the software development agency. Because, choosing the wrong agency can make you struggle with deadlines, results, communicational gap. While choosing the flexible and experienced agency can help you to form your vision into a product. 


The above mentioned app were not the blunders, they just did not paid the sufficient amount of attention on that arena, where they actually need to improve that’s why it is very necessary to make your business a success. You must focus on the each and every aspect of your business. Be it, development, market research, quality analysis, managing customer relation, choosing right agency for your software development or any other factors, lacking in any of them can shut down your business or make your business loose it’s potential.