Livemocha Shutdown EDUKWEST

Livemocha Shutdown – What Went Wrong

The upcoming shutdown of Livemocha comes hardly as a surprise; one could argue that the language learning community has been on life support for almost three years after its acquisition by Rosetta Stone. One Twitter user stated that Rosetta Stone simply left Livemocha dying in a ditch.

Yet, pulling the plug for good is always a moment of reflection and essentially a point of no return.

What went wrong with one of the world’s biggest language learning communities? Livemocha had it all: sizeable funding, impressive user growth, partnerships with big publishers. Sadly, it ended up as an acquisition target for the company it had aimed to dethrone and got overtaken by its smaller, less funded competitors busuu and Babbel. I am going to publish an in-depth article in the coming weeks but here are some initial thoughts.

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Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at

  • Erik Zidowecki

    Thanks for the great article! I didn’t know all of the history of LiveMocha and the problems it had. I was always skeptical of it because I read in their own blogs about how they started off with offices and an emphasis on ping-pong tables and espresso machines (which I think is a rather odd thing to be concerned about with a start up) and how the founders seemed to be mostly entrepreneurs, rather than language lovers or teachers.

    How much of the demise is also to blame on RS, however? That big company has bought a few other companies, like SharedTalk, only to dismantle them.

  • DuolingoUser

    Duolingo does without a community? Have you actually logged in to

  • alemoon

    As always, it´s a very good analysis. It was a huge mistake not to invest in mobile and social networks, they paid dearly for it. And you won’t expect it from a company which is backed by a very well known organization.

  • Katerina

    Hello Kirsten, happy to get in touch with you again and thanks for sharing this information, I wasn’t aware about Livemocha plans. The acquisition of LM by RS was, IMHO, not well perceived by the community, due to the emphasis on rapid return on investment. Moreover, with a colleague researcher, we conducted a study published in a peer-reviewed journal about game mechanics and incentivized learning in LM and other communities. One of the findings was that the business model adopted by LM has laid the pedagogical model in the background. Here is the paper if you are interested:

  • Artie Duncanson

    If you miss LiveMocha’s peer-to-peer interaction, there’s a new language program being tested called Viglo that focuses on giving shy people the chance to interact with others in real-time without having to fear ridicule while speaking. And it does it in a digitally immersive environment. It’s a really neat concept. It can be found at