Air France says the Bluenity service will go offline from midday (CET) on Monday 14 May, ending what it says has been a “great community adventure”.
Members belonging to the service were notified of its closure in emails yesterday (Thursday 10 May), just days ahead of officials pulling the plug.
Bluenity was launched in November 2008, with a claim to be the “first social network website for all travellers”, a line which jarred with some coming just months after British Airways unveiled its own network of sorts under the MetroTwin brand.
The idea behind Bluenity was that passengers would be able to meet other travellers before, during and after the trip, as well as share content and experiences on the platform.
Back-end systems, officials said, were “now on a par with the technology and functionalities offered by the web community. This is a response to those customers who would like to be proactive on their trip, whether they are travelling for professional or leisure purposes”.
Three and half years on, Bluenity has now gone the way of MetroTwin (although it lasted an extra nine months). BA closed MetroTwin in September 2011, saying it would focus on developing its social media presence on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Bluenity’s email yesterday indicated at where the focus now lies, advising members to head over the various profiles Air France has on the same social media channels and, now, Pinterest.
The notification, curiously, boasted of the network being launched in 2005.
In addition, there is no mention at all in the closure email of KLM, despite Bluenity being jointly launched with a fair degree of fanfare by the pair (corporate sister brands) in 2008.
As anyone who has observed the role of airlines in social media over the past two years will know, KLM is considered by many as rather a pioneer – and successful – with its various initiatives and strategy through Facebook, so perhaps it is no surprise that the Dutch airline’s focus has shifted elsewhere, including developing so-called social seating platforms.
The closure of Bluenity illustrates once again that companies which once considered building their own services have realised that the vast majority of a consumer’s social network time is based around their existing use of Facebook, the world’s largest social platform.
Whether this latest casualty will influence decisions elsewhere remains to be seen, but the future of standalone social networks for individual brands is currently under a bit of a cloud.
Virgin Atlantic, for example, launched its own VTravelled system in June 2009 with equal gusto as BA and Air France-KLM’s versions, but in early 2011 said it was temporarily closing the site¬†for redevelopment. Fast forward 12 months and the carrier has yet to relaunch VTravelled.