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Created January 19, 2012 18:26
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Form letter template for acquired startups
Dear soon-to-be-former user,
We've got some fantastic news! Well, it's great news for us anyway. You, on
the other hand, are fucked.
We've just been acquired by:
[ ] Facebook
[ ] Google
[ ] Twitter
[ ] Other: _________________
As you are aware, we've always provided a free service, and have never even
tried offering a for-pay option. This means we've never had any income and
have been operating at a loss for our entire existence. Since any schoolchild
can see this is unsustainable, it should have been more-or-less obvious to you
from the get-go that we were either going to crap up the site with ads at a
few cents per-click, or that we've always intended to be an acquisition target.
You can do the math on that one.
Your personal data which, until just now, was critical to our core business
will be deleted:
[ ] Immediately
[ ] Within a week
[ ] Within 30 days
We are excited to continue our core mission of connecting people with
solutions at our new home. Please realize that this is so vague a statement
as to be completely meaningless. But we just made so much money that at the
moment we genuinely believe this horseshit. In reality, you will never hear
about us or anything we create ever again. We are probably going to end up,
like, implementing a new scrollbar for Google Reader or something.
Thanks so much for making our business so valuable and enticing to a much
larger company with more money than sense.
Now grab your data while you still can and get out of here,
Shiny happy management ninjas
Connecting people with solutions
" loves you!"
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Very true and well composed!

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wagenet commented Jan 23, 2012

Pretty true. However, it's worth noting that not all acquisitions make a ton of money. In some cases it may be the only alternative to just shutting the doors anyway. Of course the rest of it is pretty much true.

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Demeter commented Jan 23, 2012

It is well composed! Here's another paragraph you could add, for an extra bit of user betrayal.

You have x days to retrieve your data. After that, it will no longer be accessible, and will be transferred in its entirety to the new
owner. They bought it all, lock, stock and barrel, including our customer base. Which includes your personal data!

That would only be possible if had a really lame privacy policy. I guess...

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ibjhb commented Jan 24, 2012

I added a
[ ] Never ever

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I hope one day I too can screw over all my users for millions of dollars. I've been doing it wrong so many years caring about them and going broke.

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I've sometimes wondered whether startups are sometimes built as a way to get noticed, then get hired into big, well paying companies.

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I wonder how many commenters here would make the same deal. You have a dream of providing custom avatars for MMO game players and you and your buddy code something up. It costs $100/mo to run it. Six months later hackernews notices is and suddenly 4,000 people are paying $1/mo. After six months it slides to 2000 people paying $1/mo. Now some middle manager at Electronic Arts thinks your service is cool and wants to buy your little operation as a way to hire you to recreate it at EA. The contract says you need to work there for two years after the acquisition at $120k/year plus $300k for the service itself. Your current job as a test engineer is not very fufilling. Current customers would be required to enroll in whatever EA user account system they already have to continue using EA's version of the same thing.

Its not great for the people using the service, but I wanted to throw in a hypothetical perspective of the other side of the table.

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@delomos @Demeter did you guys mean "well composed" or "well composted"? epic.

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deletosh commented Jan 25, 2012 via email

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Hopefully these images will help.

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@jtmkrueger I wish I had a clue >.<

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Demeter commented Jan 27, 2012


"Composted"? No, I didn't mean that, but I lol'd when I read it. ("That's how we do things... at!")
Nice images too. I was expecting something more graphic and gross, actually. I probably shouldn't say that.

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katelyn commented Feb 2, 2012

Or, you could pull an Imeem when they were acquired by, and then MySpace...Just redirect to and put a tiny pop-up in the right hand corner that says "Imeem is now MySpace! We hope you're excited as we are! Just use your regular Imeem login and you're good-to-go! As a side note- we've been experiencing difficulties migrating the playlists you spent hours, stay tuned!" > lost all my playlists <

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So true.

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My only beef with this is that as people we all want to forward ourselves. Why us that wrong? AND if people didn't expect things for free and would come off their cheap asses to pay a dollar for something I dedicated my life to building maybe I'd feel differently.

A friend once complained that all he got was a t-shirt for his donation. He forgot that the app he was dinating to took hundreds if hours to build. Who is subsidizing who here? Honestly.

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I wonder if Sparrow considered using this?

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