Talking tech since 2003

Babblr, the instant chat tool for tumblr that launched on May 7, has crashed.  The company said that the company’s servers couldn’t handle the 34,000 downloads in three hours that it experienced at launch.  Now, Babblr is asking for money; $50,000 to be exact.

In a video the company released this afternoon, Babblr co-founder Brandon Sowers said the following:

“When we launched last night, we were expecting about 50,000 to download and handle that, our prior testing showed that we could handle 50,000, but we got 34,000 downloads in a matter of 30 minutes.  And what that did is that the servers couldn’t handle that traffic so this is a big website now, and we’ve realized what some of the issues are and some of the problems, and so we’re asking for your help, so we’re showing you what we need to be able to make this happen.”

Sowers said Babblr needs $2,000 to $5,000 for developers to build a larger infrastructure.  It will also need $2,000 per month for authentication servers and $5,000 per month for database servers.

Sowers told that five minutes before the live stream went on, they realized there was a glitch in the system and that the servers couldn’t handle so many users at once.

“We were ready for 50,000 to come in at a time, but it just blew through that in 30 minutes,” Sowers said.  “We had at a time for about 45 minutes we had 34,000 people talking and using the chat function the way we wanted to, but so many people were coming in that it was crashing the authentication servers so we had to shut it down.”

Babblr said that first 10,000 people to donate $5 will get a limited release of Babblr before they give a full release to the public.  Sowers said in the video that he hopes to have Babblr up an running in a couple of days if they can raise the funds.

Tumblr users are mostly 20-something’s, so many are not that willing to fork out cash to keep the platform going, as evidenced by posts under the video clip on YouTube:

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Sowers said that despite some of the negative comments circling around tumblr and YouTube, Babblr is receiving positive commnts from users that want Babblr up and running again.  He said they have already raised $10,000 in just of couple of hours since releasing their statement.

Babblr is the first instant chat for tumblr, which currently only allows users to follow blog posts and send mail through the “Send Fan Mail” option.  But Babblr allows users to correspond with each other in real-time and set up groups.  At launch, Babblr was set up to work on Google Chrome’s web browser with the company planning to expand it to other sites and platforms.  Obviously, that plan is on hold.

At the end of April, Sowers said that over 26,000 people had already signed up for Babblr and reportedly over 200,000 had signed up just three days prior to its launch (they incentivized users by offering them Babblr for free if they downloaded it before it officially launched.)

After the initial launch, Babblr was planning on allowing users to download the extension by either choosing a price or socially sharing with friends.  Basically, the company wanted to make it the first pay-what-you-want app for Google Chrome extension, which means users can choose to pay 99 cents or more to use the app.  If they don’t want to pay, they can share it with friends (or basically do some free advertising for Babblr).

I hope Babblr can get the money they need to get it back up and running.

UPDATE:  The company has issued an apology this early evening:

“We bring you our deepest and most sincere apology- Our team underestimated just how anticipated Babblr was to tumblr users. Before the launch, we ran through various server and online capacity tests, but unfortunately, our tests were extremely inaccurate to the amount of traffic and downloads we received in such a short time! Our team is working as hard as we possibly can with our available resources, However; what we’re going to need to repair and successfully relaunch Babblr is far beyond any of our budgets, and we are here to seek your help! We want to follow through with our Babblr promise, but that might not be possible without your help! Our team is forever grateful to you, and we appreciate your patience and humility throughout these past few days!

Again, we apologize for our mistakes and hope you will understand the current predicament!”

-The Babblr Team



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