Entrepreneur magazine decided to look back at some wacky ideas that went boom and bust in an instant. Are there lessons to be learned? Certainly. Do they help predict if, in the long run, the new ideas will be brilliant or harebrained? Sorry, only time will tell.

Way back in the mid-’90s, dating franchises were one of the hottest things going. But like so many bad relationships, they followed the same sad trajectory:

Together Dating grew to 145 franchises in 1996, dropped to 22 in 2004 and threw in the towel on franchising in 2007.

The Right One began franchising in 1999, got up to 28 franchises in 2002, called it quits in 2007.

It’s Just Lunch began late in the game, franchising in 2000, hitting 96 locations in 2006, but pulling the plug on the whole affair in 2008.

There were others, of course. Eight at Eight–which arranged group dinner dates for singles with hopes of pairing up–grew to a few units, then gave up on franchising after a few years. And there were all those video dating franchises too, but, you know, we’re too young to remember them anyway.

With hot competition from Match.com, eHarmony and craigslist, personal matchmaking franchises didn’t stand a chance.

Photo by afterpicture.

 

Originally posted by Rich Whittle on January 27, 2010 in Ideas.

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