8

There has long been plenty of interest in Stack Exchange clones. We even have a question cataloging them here.

I never thought much about why the Stack Exchange technology isn't for sale. Who knows, maybe the team just doesn't feel like selling their secret sauce.

Then I saw an interesting comment in an answer by ChrisF:

The team doesn't sell the system for "public" use any more. SE 1.0 was an attempt at that which failed.

What's the story behind this?

16

Not much of a story - there wasn't much interest in the "Stack Exchange" platform as a product.

There were a few sites that were created and most of them didn't gain any traction - turns out that to have a thriving Q&A site, you need a community behind it (that's the philosophy behind Area 51 proposals - show us there is a community, and it will get a chance at a Stack Exchange site).

Simply put - it wasn't a commercial success and was therefore abandoned.


This has somewhat changed now (mid 2016) - we do sell the engine to large organizations these days. Stack Overflow Enterprise is now a thing - to find out more, you can contact enterprise [at] stackoverflow .com.

  • 2
    The few SE1.0 sites that were successful have for the most part been folded back into the network, too. – hairboat Oct 15 '14 at 15:44

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