The rough and tumble days of the early cannabis Internet space were dominated by a few yellow beards of yesterday like High Times and the Stoner’s Cookbook, but the first person to plant a flag on the Internet and raise money was Isaac Dietrich of Massroots. Massroots was his brainchild, and according to most records, Massroots raised over $20mil (over $7mil of that from the ArcView Investing Group) to create the “Facebook of Weed”. The stock price has fallen to $0.0031 cents and their last official press release was in September.
It appears now that Massroots has called it a day and closed up shop, which may be a problem since they are a publicly traded company with stock symbol MSRT. While their social media channels have remained active the website has now been down for over 3 weeks and Google has begun to remove all listings that lead to an error or non-connected page. Once you are essentially de-indexed from Google, you are done. Google likes and trust you to a point, but once you remove all content links from their webpages and Google search shows users an error page for your links, they do not take kindly to your domain if you put it back up at a later date. They have a similar “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me mentality.” All efforts to contact Massroots and Isaac have fallen on deaf ears.
We noticed a large influx of new signups on our WeedFeed social network at Cannabis.net that were mentioning the phrases “Massroots is closed, looking for a new family” “Massroots apps is done, I am checking you guys out.” There a few social networks standing and by downloads of the app we are one of the largest, so we are getting their users now for free.
The rumor earlier this year was that their main financial backer, ArcView, had finally gotten tired of throwing good money after bad, and walked away from their Massroots support. This could have been the death blow to a struggling idea.
Where did Massroots go wrong?
One, was there a need for a stand-alone cannabis social network? While Facebook does restrict reach and shut some pages down, there are many active cannabis pages and groups on Facebook. The idea behind Massroots was to create THE cannabis social network, get millions of users, and then monetize that data and those eyeballs in the best way you can. Not only does Facebook have an active weed scene, but LinkedIn, Instagram, and Snapchat, while restricting cannabis, allow for active pages. Hence, users could stay on their main channels and talk weed and not worry too much. As cannabis legalization grew in acceptance, the need for a singular cannabis social network faded, it was no longer taboo, or needed to be hidden.
Two, Massroots failed to pivot to a financially successful model, taking swings at blockchain when it was all the rage, and even trying to tie up with a legal services business in the cannabis space. The internet cannabis space is a tough space right now as it is illegal to sell cannabis without a license and you cannot ship THC across a state line or use the post office. This eliminates the main advantages a website with a large number of users would have over a land-based retail shop. Once the cannabis plant is descheduled or the Federal law is changed, then it will be the websites that rule the world, much like Amazon and brick and mortar retail.
The biggest mistake Massroots is making now?
Not selling, even for pennies on the dollar, is a big mistake right now. Once the content is delisted in Google, it is basically worthless as they will never get the domain authority or search placement back. The strongest asset they have is a large database, an app, and social media channels. Get the site back up and then put the assets up for sale, even in bankruptcy.
The assets are losing value by the day and the CEO has a fiduciary responsibility to get the most value back to shareholders he can, even in a bleak situation. Just to let the site go down and to stop publishing content is opening yourself up to shareholder lawsuits and liability. If you did the best you could and got $0.02 back on the dollar, oh well, if you just turned it off and walked away, that is negligence to shareholders.
Where will the story end? More details will have to come out in the future because Massroots is a public company and certain forms and explainations must be given for legal purposes. Will Isaac put the site back up in time and merge or sell the site to a competitor? According to router tables and monitoring services, it may be too late, as Massroots is no longer ranked as a US site or active site as of today.
Buyer beware, do your research.
Baccus, Thom. “MassRoots – The End of a Cannabis Era and a Big Error, Indeed.” Cannabis.net, 2 Dec. 2020, cannabis.net/blog/news/massroots-the-end-of-a-cannabis-era-and-a-big-error-indeed.
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