Yik Yak’s CTO drops out as the hyped anonymous app stagnates

53
Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 9:06 AM

That source — with intimate information of the company — also tipped me off that Yik Yak‘s original CTO Tom Chernetsky has bailed, which the startup presently confirms.

Yik Yak’s CTO drops out as the hyped anonymous app stagnates

Is Yik Yak a thing anymore? Not so much, according to download stats, traffic charts, surveys and a source that says the college app’s monthly user count has been declining. That source — with intimate information of the company — also tipped me off that Yik Yak‘s original CTO Tom Chernetsky has bailed, which the startup now confirms.

Yik Yak’s long-time CTO Tom Chernetsky just left the company

He’s not the only one who thinks the supposed rocket ship won’t fly as high as some expected when Sequoia led a mammoth $62 million at $400 million valuation in November two thousand fourteen. Since late latest year, Yik Yak’s VP of Product, Director of Engineering, Lead Product Designer and other senior employees have departed.

However, the hometown CTO’s departure could've been catalyzed by the recruitment of seasoned Google Director of Engineering Michael Morrissey, funded by the Sequoia cash. Morrissey leads engineering at Yik Yak, and Chernetsky mightn't have enjoyed being in his shadow. But it’d be tough to leave an exec role at a startup if everything was up and up.

It seems that the gloss of posting anonymous gossip, jokes and bullying may be wearing off, as it did for Yik Yak’s deceased cousin Secret. My source says Yik Yak has built a direct messaging feature that it’s preparing to release, but even jumping into the chat sphere mightn't be sufficient to revitalize the wounded animal.

Savage numbers

Months after Sequoia pumped a ton of cash into the Atlanta startup, download rates and traffic began to drop, according to App Annie and comScore charts dug up by GigaOm. Things have gotten worse since, as Google Play dropped it from its charts latest March, likely due to detest speech in the app.

This week, App Annie shows Yik Yak sank to No. sixty-three on the download charts amongst U. S. social networking apps and just No. one thousand sixty-seven amongst all U. S. iOS apps. That’s compared to No. twenty-one in social and No. one hundred forty-one overall on April three, two thousand fourteen, No. twenty-six in social and No. three hundred overall this date latest year and a peak of No. two in social and No. three overall in September two thousand fourteen.

While comScore’s exact numbers aren’t always accurate, the directional trends are typically reliable. They indicate a decline starting in late 2014. Presently comScore pegs Yik Yak at 1.76 million monthly mobile users over eighteen, essentially flat from sixteen months ago. A tiny Tech Insider survey latest mo didn’t space Yik Yak in the top fifteen apps amongst college students after once being the huge startup on campus.

These stats all mesh with what my source says, which is that Yik Yak has had zero significant growth in over a year, and consistently misses its growth targets. They cite four million monthly active users as the count in January, noting the no has declined since then, though I can’t confirm that exact number.

The lack of more obvious growth is also worrisome considering Yik Yak has quietly begun pushing for international usage in English-speaking countries love Ireland and Australia. The startup initially tried to block overseas users until it was ready, according to this grand history of the startup written by Business Insider’s Alyson Shontell.

Naturally, Yik Yak PR defended the company, insisting that “growth and usage is very strong.” They claim the no of active colleges on the app is presently at 2.000 and counting, and the company is hiring. But without more concrete metrics to counter publicly available data, it’s tough to drink that Kool-Aid.

To become a powerful social network that can survive on ad revenue, Yik Yak would've to obtain a lot bigger. Right presently it might only have one-third of the 12.2 million U. S. college students on board. But even turning them all into faithful Yakkers mightn't be sufficient to justify its valuation.

(Don’t) speak back

The problem with anonymous apps is that over time they start to perceive exhausting. The crude stories, played-out jokes stolen from Reddit and cringe-worthy bullying wear on people. While they might've a few juicy quips of their own to share, blowing off steam can eventually perceive pointless. That’s why my Secret and Yik Yak usage dried up.

Yik Yak’s product has continued to plod along, despite some colleges’ attempts to ban the app for facilitating cyberbullying. But nothing has made it perceive fresh again.

Yik Yak began allowing photos but number faces last July, and launched a web client in January. Then, in a move that seemed to confuse some users into thinking Yik Yak was number longer anonymous, it opened the option to post from a handle/screen title rather than having always have number identification attached to a post.

That latest feature unlocks what could be a make-or-break feature for Yik Yak — chat. According to my source, Yik Yak plans to open private messaging between handles, so if someone says they’re lonely, kids could attempt to cheer them up (or shamelessly hit on them). Or if they think someone has been through a similar situation they could celebrate or commiserate with them.

Chat has proven to create apps stickier and Yik Yak could utilize the retention, judging by the charts. The startup will have to discover some way to crack out large time beyond the U. S. college market, despite refusing to authorize high-schoolers in to prevent more bullying. Luckily since the startup is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, its employees are less likely to obtain poached by other tech companies than they'd be in Silicon Valley.

But maintaining morale should be tough. All college kids seem to speak about these days is Snapchat and Instagram, when a few years ago it was Yik Yak on the tips of their fingers.

READ ALSO
Smartling acquires Jargon to assistance mobile developers prepared their apps for international markets

Smartling acquires Jargon to assistance mobile developers prepared their apps for international markets

New York-based Smartling is known for its “translation management system” software, and marketplace of professional translators. Its software feels a bit love a mainstream content management system love WordPress, but with features built around managing...

81
Tech imitates art in a 3D printed fake Rembrandt based on the elderly master’s fashion

Tech imitates art in a 3D printed fake Rembrandt based on the elderly master’s fashion

But is it art? (Yes. It’s definitely art.) The Following Rembrandt is the title of the project, which was sponsored by ING and Microsoft and supported by the Delft Univ of Technology and several museums.

119
How to deal with IoT challenges through abstraction

How to deal with IoT challenges through abstraction

He writes regularly on business, technology and politics. How to connect the network The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the tech industry.

60
Fintech’s $138 billion opportunity

Fintech’s $138 billion opportunity

How to connect the network Fintech is in the midst of a golden age of investment and innovation. According to KPMG and CB Insights, investments in fintech startups doubled between two thousand fourteen and two thousand fifteen, to $14 billion.

58