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The End of Trivia App 'Qrank,' One Tweet at a Time

Wells Dunbar, KUT News.

The social trivia game Qrank (pronounced "crank") is no more.

Co-founders and Austinites Rodney Gibbs and Michael Baird posted a message titled “Goodbye” on the game’s website on Monday, and announced that that morning’s edition would be the last of the daily quiz.

Qrank had been voraciously consumed by a legion of loyal players since 2010. As explained on the game’s website, the goal was to “choose 15 of the 20 possible questions and answer them quickly and accurately to beat your friends and earn achievements.” The game was available on Facebook and as a mobile app.

But while Qrank maintained close to 25,000 “likes” on Facebook and more than 8,500 Twitter followers, interaction with all of those fans waned over the last several months.

Qrank's latest tweet was posted Monday with a thank you and a link to the “Goodbye” message. Before that, tweets stopped in late July. As recently as June, tweets were almost daily.

The news section on the game’s website is also an indicator of waning interest – perhaps more on the part of the co-founders than the fans. Before the farewell, the most recent post was from March – and that was the only other post besides the “Goodbye” in 2012. Scrolling down further, older posts tout awards, accolades and high-profile partnerships.

The exception is Qrank's interaction with Facebook fans – which remained solid up until the end with daily hints to quiz questions. More than 300 comments, such as “Say it ain’t so” and “Noooooo…. :(“ flooded the Facebook announcement of the game’s end.

Along with the retirement of Qrank comes the end of operations of Ricochet Labs, the company Gibbs and Baird set up behind the game. No real reason is cited but there’s an undertone of the need to move on.

In fact, at least one half of the founding team has moved on. The Texas Tribune, which hosted its own Qrank game on its website, announced in May that Gibbs joined the staff as the Tribune's news source’s Chief Innovation Officer.

Disclaimer: The Texas Tribune is a media partner of KUT.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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