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A social network is like the new hip club in town. The innovators start a place that is hip, maybe a bit underground. They invite their friends who are not mainstream but know how to create a good atmosphere. Those early adopters invite their friends who are a bit more mainstream. Then the club becomes popular for the mainstream audience. The first innovators may leave the club but a large crowd has fun. This is how social networks like Facebook or Hyves started and became popular.

Imagine there’s an investor who is very jealous. He opens a new club, very large and hands out invites to make the entrance exclusive. He makes the big mistake to advertise with those invites on a campus of a large IT company. The geeks all want to go into the club on the night it opens. Once the club opens they discover nothing is happening there. Some try to hang around the bar, order a few drinks, start to dance, discover the dance floor is empty and then leave home disappointed. The innovators avoid the new club because they didn’t "discover" it themselves and they can’t create their own setting there.

The investor also owns some successful small but specialist shops in town. Suddenly the customers of the shop can only check out through the new club nobody wants to hang out, just because the investor wants to attract more visitors to his new club. Do the customers accept that or will they also ignore the shops they used to go?

Yes Google, this investor I’m talking about is you. You tried to hype Wave and later Google+ but don’t know how to build up an active community. You are closing down some very valuable niche services like sharing blog posts in Reader or the social features in iGoogle just because you want to force your users into Google+.

You’ve just lost a Google+ user: me.