Merecal Goodbye Letter

Album Cover: Plans

"And it came to me then that every plan is a tiny prayer to Father Time."
Death Cab / What Sarah Said

Posted on October 24, 2011 10:06 PM in Personal
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

I closed the door on Merecal tonight. I've already posted about what Merecal is before, and I recently posted the details of its demise over at the Merecal blog. However, I'm reposting that goodbye letter here for posterity's sake, since I'm pretty sure this blog will stick around longer than Merecal's will:

We released Merecal back in 2009 for very selfish reasons. First and foremost, we wanted to build a service that would make our personal tastes in music, books, movies and video games work for us rather than against us. Rather than worrying about whether one of our favorite bands had a new album out, or one of our favorite actors' movies was coming to DVD, we wanted to rest easy, knowing that Merecal would do the hard work for us and let us know when one of those releases was coming.

Second, we were hopeful that our little entrepreneurial adventure would prove profitable so that we could justify spending more time on the site (we both have full-time jobs outside of Merecal), adding features that would make it even easier for users to count on Merecal to keep them up-to-date on all kinds of new releases -- and not just releases in the currently supported categories.

Typically, selfishness doesn't pan out in the end, but in the case of Merecal, it did. We are proud of the service we built, and we've continued to rely on it as our one-and-only source for new release information. Furthermore, we were profitable, and remain confident that our users saw the same benefits from the service that we did.

Unfortunately, the bulk of this post has been written in past tense. That is because we are faced with the hard-to-swallow task of shutting down Merecal on October 25th, 2011.

When we started developing Merecal in 2008, we made the decision to build it on the backbone of Amazon's Product Advertising API. Amazon's extensive and dependable service gave us the data we needed to cover a very wide range of new releases across the many categories and subcategories that Merecal supports today. Sadly, as of October 25th, Amazon's Product Advertising API will become far less extensive in terms of the sheer amount of new release information we will be able to access. This change strikes at the heart of Merecal, since we lose the ability to offer the deep content so closely tied to our users' specific interests.

We can imagine that your reaction might be similar to our own -- a selfish one. Where will we now go to get new release information in the formats we prefer, e.g. email, web feeds, calendar updates and/or tweets? Right now, we don't know the answer to that question. We just know that Merecal won't be that place.

That is a hard reality to accept, but it is the reality, so we apologize not only for the inconvenience of Merecal's demise, but also for the lack of apparent alternatives.

As always, if you have any questions, comments or even recommendations of good Merecal alternatives, we're all ears. Hit us up in comments, on Twitter @Merecal or via email at

And finally, we just want to thank all of our users who helped confirm that there was demand for a service like Merecal, and for making Merecal such a fun product to work on.


The Merecal founders,
Matt Jackson and Bernie Zimmermann

R.I.P. Merecal


Bill Millstein on December 10, 2011 at 7:24 AM:

Sad coda.


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