The eBay backed community service Tokoni has launched after a year in public beta.
The service comes from former eBay executive Mary Lou Song and Skype President Alex Kazim, and is centered around story telling, but not through the use of blogs. VentureBeat calls it "a YouTube for stories" that is targeted at people who don't feel comfortable with blogging, and want to make connections on the one site.
Despite being open for registration for nearly 12 months, Tokoni hasn't seen much traction. The site doesn't register on Quantcast at all, and Alexa ranks it at over 400,000th. Compete registers under 6,000 unique visitors in August, after a peak of 14,000 in May.
I regularly accept that while I may not get the appeal personally of a startup or site, that I'm not always the target market, and certainly this is the case with Tokoni. But I also don't see a strong appeal case either, at least one that is teeming with lots of potential users. It's niche, and it comes into a market with way to many substitutes. Let's accept the premise that some people don't like blogging or even Twitter to share stories; but they don't have to use a blog to share stories already. There's forums and social networks that allow sharing, and this is as close as I can picture what Tokoni is trying to achieve. The appeal of community is also freely available on forums and social networking sites as well, so although blogging can at times be a lonely pursuit, there's already strong alternatives.
It could also be a case of me being completely wrong, and that it is so far removed from my understanding that I just don't get it. Only time will tell. I will give them credit on one front: it's well implemented, designed, and it feels like a safe and friendly place to share. Secret women's business perhaps.