Special Report

Brands That Disappeared in the Last Decade

1. Vine
> Founded in: 2012
> Type of business: Media

Vine was a short-lived but beloved video making app that took the internet by storm in the early 2010s. The app let users make six second videos that looped over and over, often to hilarious effect. Vine was purchased by Twitter in 2012 for $30 million as an easy way for users to shoot and share videos on the social media platform. Many other social media platforms began to offer video services similar to Vine’s — specifically Instagram, which also gave creators a longer time limit on videos. Perhaps as a result, Vine usership plummeted, and Twitter discontinued the app in 2016.

Source: jeepersmedia / Flickr

2. Pier 1 Imports
> Founded in: 1962
> Type of business: Home goods

Unlike many of the other companies that folded in 2020, Pier 1 Imports was already on its way out long before the COVID-19 pandemic. The home goods retailer filed for bankruptcy in February, following nine straight quarters of declining sales. A few months later, Pier 1 decided to cease all operations and liquidate its assets.

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images

3. Borders
> Founded in: 1971
> Type of business: Retail, books

As Amazon expanded far beyond its initial aim of selling books through the internet, brick-and-mortar book sellers like Borders struggled to keep up. While Borders competitor Barnes and Noble launched its own eBook reader, Borders failed to adapt to shifts in customer preferences and went bankrupt in 2011. The company had nearly $1.3 billion in debt, exceeding the total value of its assets.

Source: Pool / Getty Images

4. The Weinstein Company
> Founded in: 2005
> Type of business: Entertainment

After becoming successful in founding Miramax Films, Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob founded film studio The Weinstein Company in 2005. In 2017, the New York Times and The New Yorker magazine published accounts from numerous women accusing Weinstein of rape, sexual harrassment, and unprofessional conduct. Following these revelations, the company bearing Weinstein’s name was in a public relations crisis. After an attempted sale fell through, The Weinstein Company declared bankruptcy in early 2018. Lantern Capital eventually won a bidding war for the assets of the company.

Source: Scott Wintrow / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

5. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
> Founded in: 1884
> Type of business: Entertainment

For nearly 150 years, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus traveled around the country to entertain the masses. Acquired by Feld Entertainment in 1967, the circus began losing its popularity over the past few decades — attendance has reportedly dropped by as much as 50% since the 1990s.

Animal rights activists continuously targeted the circus for its use of creatures like elephants in the show. Feld Entertainment’s CEO also noted that audiences seemed to be abandoning the circus due to their shortening attention spans and expanding entertainment options. The high cost of moving the show from city to city eventually made the business model untenable. The circus act performed for the final time in 2017.

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