HarperCollins has announced on the Authonomy blog on Wednesday that "Unfortunately in recent years publishing of titles from the site has slowed as we have opened other submissions channels, and the community has become smaller, so the decision to close Authonomy has been made."
like BookCountry and many other writing communities, Authonomy worked by letting authors submit their manuscripts. The works were publicly critiqued and raked by other users, with some of the better works optioned by HarperCollins. The Bookseller notes that Miranda Dickinson, Steven Dunne, and Kat French had been recruited through the site.
A grand total of 47 HarperCollins titles had been sourced through Authonomy since it launched in 2008. An unknown (but almost certainly larger) number went on to be independently published by the authors.
In comparison, Amazon's Kindle Scout program has optioned 74 titles in less than ten months. (While Kindle Scout has a very different design and also works differently from Authonomy, the latter's website suggests that they had a similar purpose.)
What with the multitude of online writing communities, it's to be expected that some would close, but the biggest reason for Authonomy's decline is that it launched in a different era. In 2008 an author's best chance for getting published was to sign with a major publisher, but that stopped being true from about 2011.
The promise that "every month, five Authonomy manuscripts are selected to be reviewed by HC editors for possible publication" just isn't as attractive to authors as it used to be, not when they can publish on their own, make money today, and maybe get an offer tomorrow.
image by streetwrk.com