Tripbirds launched its social travel service earlier this year, I thought it looked beautiful, worked well — and would, inevitably, struggle.

The reason was simple: the site was dipping its toes in a competitive-but-ineffective market for travel services built on top of the social substrate of the web. It’s an idea that is appealing, but unrewarding; a niche that has failed, time and time again, to produce any truly viable businesses. The problem? There are loads of products fighting for similar territory (Gogobot, Wanderfly, Everplaces and many more) but overall, demand for what they’re offering seems to be low.