Facebook's habit for blowing app launches has doomed another debut. Rooms, a pseudo-anonymous forum app that appears to be Reddit crossed with 90s-era forums, was supposed to make a big splash in the press today. Instead, people are taking to Twitter to complain the app has been pulled from the App Store.
I wrote about Rooms.
I still can’t download Rooms.
I hope someone is making an Animaniacs room in my honor.
— Roberto Baldwin (@strngwys) October 23, 2014
I mean, I've heard of fail fast, but that was about 20 mins. RIP FB Rooms.
— megan quinn (@msquinn) October 23, 2014
Unfortunately, I’m getting an error when trying to download from the App Store:
“The item you tried to buy is no longer available.”
— Ryan Hoover (@rrhoover) October 23, 2014
Even a shunned Business Insider reporter is begging for a direct download link:
Anyone have a direct link to download Rooms?
— Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) October 23, 2014
[Josh] Constine: How does Rooms combine the best parts of the anonymity and pseudonymity of this old Internet without the problems?
[Josh] Miller: This is going to sound weird, but I think it takes the better parts of that [early] Internet and doesn't try to combine it with the newer parts of the Internet. A lot of the modern takes on anonymity and pseudonymity on mobile try to take that form of identity, but combine it with your social graph and combine it with all your friends and combine it with all your colleagues. But before, the way you organized on the internet wasn't around your address book contacts or the people you went to high school with, it was around these kind of islands of people and things that you felt an affinity to: interests, topics, those sorts of things.
So I think what we're doing great, or what I'm really excited about, is that we're taking those original concepts and not saying, "Hey, we need to match them with your address book contacts." There are all these other things you'd want to talk to people about.
Each Room gets a unique QR Code that can be shared with whoever its creator and members want to join them. That could mean keeping it super-private to just a few others interested in the topic, posting it publicly so anyone can join, or printing it out so people in a specific geographic area in the real world can add themselves.
QR codes—a technology long declared dead by the marketing world—are a strong signal that Facebook has churned out another product, like Slingshot and Poke, that will only be used by the early adopter set—that is once they can download it.
Update: Facebook seems to be blaming the delay on their content delivery network:
Facebook rep on why I can't download Rooms: "We just pushed it live at 10, it’s propagating and should be available soon." #propagating— Will Oremus (@WillOremus) October 23, 2014