TrackThePack: The Final Shipment
The headline is admittedly a bit dramatic, but I needed something clever…and that’s pretty dang clever.
Last night I sent an email out to over 20,000 TrackThePack users letting them know that as of March 31, TrackThePack will cease to exist.
TrackThePack was launched back in 2006 while Ashley and I owned Fugitive Toys. We had dozens of shipments of toys coming in at any given time from all over the world, and I wanted to be able to keep track of them all to know if there were any delivery issues and when to expect a bunch of huge boxes being left outside our apartment door.
It started as an internal tool, but I eventually released it to the public, and it became a pretty fun project to watch grow. Initially it was just a little side project, but as it became more expensive to run, I decide to try a few things to monetize it.
But as you’d guess, since I’m shutting it down, none of those ideas really panned out.
It’s incredibly difficult to monetize a consumer web app that’s just “nice to have” and even if we had grown to hundreds of thousands or million of users, the costs associated with tracking all those packages just never would have made it profitable.
I launched TrackThePack: Commercial a few years back as a way to try and build a solution for businesses, and while that turned out to be much more profitable, the amount of sales work required just wasn’t something I had time or interest in doing. And since we got out of the ecommerce business back in 2009, I was no longer an active user of the Commercial product, so I just wasn’t in the position to build something truly useful.
Some highlights from the past 7 years…
- 30,000 users
- 1.8 million packages tracked
- 8.3 million events tracked
- First service of its kind to support forwarding shipping emails as a way to track packages
- iPhone app downloaded by 10,000 folks
- 350,000 push notifications sent to iOS devices
One of the most interesting aspects of running TrackThePack was the opportunities that came out of it.
I ended up with a lot of consulting gigs purely because of my work building TrackThePack. The most significant of which ultimately led to me being co-founder and CEO of PopSurvey (which is another post in itself).
So, lots of really great memories from running this app, and thinking about how it all started makes me all sorts of nostalgic. But alas, it’s a business. And it was bleeding money. And after running something for 7 years, I just don’t have the passion to keep running a failing product (economically, at least).
To all the users, friends and family who have given feedback and used TrackThePack over the years, it’s been a fun ride. Thank you.
Now, get back to work.