I think the main issue is that they didn't differentiate themselves enough.
Its a very tricky thing to bring a site to market when you're in a space that is dominated overwhelmingly by a specific force. In this case, they were targeting the Newschoolers-led market of young freeskiing-minded people. This was evidenced by their short-lived but aggressive facebook advertising campaign of "Freeskiing's new scene.".
I even reached out to them after launch and suggested that it might be a good idea to try to focus on a niche that NS was missing, or something that was more complimentary to what we are doing over here. In all circles of web, it makes very little sense to go toe-to-toe with the current titan. You are always best to focus on an area that isn't being serviced and offer that to people.
I think in their minds the big thing they were bringing to market was the pintereset-style social networky type thing. I actually really respect them for their vision on this, and was insanely impressed with what they launched. The tough part, is that they just so happened to have almost the identical vision to what we had for the future of Newschoolers.
It would have been easy in the past to say that Newschoolers wasn't living up to its full potential as a social community for skiing. Our homepage was vastly designed to the purpose of promoting ourselves as a media source vs. social network. We didn't utilize influences of current social media trends, and apply them to what was the true gold of Newschoolers. I mean, I had the exact same realization about 2-3 years ago when we kicked off the very nucleus development plans for the current state of the site.
ReJib is basically a re-imagined version of the best parts of Newschoolers and borrowing from 2012 web design lessons as influenced by pinterest. Its an awesome idea... absolutely fucking stunning idea. Just so happened that it was the exact same idea as we had... because we both stole it from the same place. Its like when Apple accused Microsoft of stealing the mouse-based OS from them... and Bill G. famously said:
"Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.”
Because we had the same vision for the future, adapting newschoolers to fit a more modern web philosophy - and embracing its social network roots - simply leads to a drastically more advanced product. We've been building the code for years, and have huge amounts of experience in how to manage a community. ReJib made a lot of the early mistakes that we made here, and have a huge wall to fight up against to offer a product that will compete against what we have at Newschoolers.
My public suggestion to them is find something that we suck at and focus on that. Those guys have amazing web vision, and if they hadn't been so hostile and ignored my attempts to reach out I would have loved to work with them. We want to foster awesomeness on the internet in skiing. We love nothing more than seeing others come up with unique new ideas that help push skiing's web forward.
Hell, that is why we are allowing people to feature content directly off of our homepage. We want to showcase the good stuff out there.
In the end, its very difficult to have two social networks servicing the same market in very similar ways. For the most part, people want to go where there is critical mass, or they want to go somewhere that offers something different.
newschool is a state of mind, not a style of skiing.