V2: The Vine revival may already be dead
Vine has been dead for 16 months, but for the last five, there was at least hope that it was coming back when the company’s co-founder Dom Hofmann revealed that he had plans to revive it.
Well, the six-second video site is back to being dead, at least for the moment. In a note on the V2 forums, Hofmann announced that the project is being postponed for an “indefinite amount of time” citing spiraling costs, legal hurdles and the fact that Hofmann is already working on another project.
“Taking into account a larger-than-expected audience, we now know that the estimated costs for the first few months alone would be very high, way beyond what can be personally funded,” he wrote. “The attention has also raised an issue that we might not have faced otherwise: legal fees have been overwhelming. It’s unlikely that this will be the last of these issues.”
Hofmann doesn’t explain what these legal issues involve, though as I wrote when V2 was announced, ownership of Vine is a confusing thing. Hofmann did indeed co-found Vine, but left the company in 2014 – a couple of years after Twitter had bought it. At the time of its death in 2017, Vine was still owned by Twitter – and indeed the Vine Camera app can still be downloaded on iOS and Android, and is labeled as being developed by Twitter. The company never responded to our request for comment on V2 – over whether a non-compete clause had expired, or whether the company had reached a private agreement with Hofmann – but it wouldn’t be wholly surprising if at least some of the legal issues concerned ownership of branding and concept.
In any case, Hofmann is quite clear that V2 is on hold. “Long story short, in order to work, the V2 project needs to operate as a company with sizable external funding, probably from investors,” Hofmann writes.
“This is difficult because I already run an early-stage company that is in the middle of development. Very few backers would be happy with the split attention, and I wouldn’t be either. This is potentially solvable, but it’s going to take time for the space and resources to become available.”
It’s also difficult, you’d imagine because investors are unsurprisingly cautious of backing a company that has already been closed down once due to lack of commercial viability. I personally wouldn’t be surprised if “indefinite” turned into “forever”, but Hofmann claims this isn’t the case: “We take a step back. The code and ideas still exist, but until everything else comes together, we can’t move forward. Again, this is indefinite, which means that it could take a long time. But it’s necessary.
“I’m very, very sorry for the disappointment. If it’s any consolation, I think it would have been even more disappointing if this service had been developed and released incorrectly, which is where we were headed. I’d like for us to get it right.”