Another one of Meta’s experimental apps is biting the dust. They are shutting down the still experimental video speed-dating service called Sparked by January 20, 2022 so users will need to find another way to do some online video dating (of which there are several options outside of Meta). “Like many good ideas, some take off and others, like Sparked, must come to an end,” is the official statement which is a not-so-subtle way of saying that the service didn’t really gain the traction they were expecting.
Tech Crunch shares the news that Sparked will be shutting down in the first month of the year. It was only a “small, external beta” when they launched it last April and expanded slightly over the next few months. Basically, it lets you go on quick, 4-minute video dates with several people. If you hit it off, you could then follow it up with a 10-minute date. You also have the option to share your other personal details if you want to take it off of the app.
They eventually began experimenting with “audio dating” where you could have “audio-only” dates during special events. Eventually, Facebook Dating launched an Audio Dates feature for those who prefer talking with the camera off. There were some local events and global date nights and even dedicated events for specific demographics like age groups, demographics, etc. Suffice to say, this didn’t really launch for a wider audience and now it won’t ever.
Those who were part of the test group received an email that Sparked will be shutting down. Users can download the information from the website but after January 20, all accounts there will be deleted. There wasn’t any more information as to why this is happening except for the implication that the service did not really take off. It’s difficult though to judge its lack of popularity since it was only a limited beta test. But the feedback from users was probably less than ideal.
This is just the latest in the apps or services launched by the New Product Experimentation, an in-house incubation group in Meta. It’s very rare for something to make it out of the testing phase and become a stand-alone app and unfortunately (or fortunately), Sparked is one of those that has been given a maybe-premature death.