Yik Yak’s CTO drops out because the hyped nameless app stagnates
Is Yik Yak a factor anymore? Not a lot, based on obtain stats, visitors charts, surveys, and a supply that claims the school app’s month-to-month consumer rely has been declining. That supply with intimate information of the corporate additionally tipped me off that Yik Yak‘s unique CTO Tom Chernetsky has bailed, which the startup now confirms.
Yik Yak’s lengthy-time CTO Tom Chernetsky simply left the corporate
He’s not the one one who thinks the supposed rocket ship gained’t fly as excessive as some anticipated when Sequoia led a mammoth $sixty two million at $four hundred million valuation in November 2014. Since late final yr, Yik Yak’s VP Of Product, Director Of Engineering, Lead Product Designer, and extra senior staff have departed.
Nevertheless, the hometown CTO’s departure might have been catalyzed by the recruitment of seasoned Google Director Of Engineering Michael Morrissey, funded by the Sequoia money. Morrissey leads engineering at Yik Yak, and Chernetsky won’t have loved being in his shadow. Nevertheless it’d be arduous to depart an exec position at a startup if every part was up and up.
Plainly the luster of posting nameless gossip, jokes, and bullying could also be sporting off, because it did for Yik Yak’s lifeless cousin Secret. My supply says Yik Yak has constructed a direct messaging function that it’s getting ready to launch, however even leaping into the chat sphere won’t be sufficient to revitalize the wounded animal.
Months after Sequoia pumped a ton of money into the Atlanta startup, obtain charges and visitors started to drop based on App Annie and comScore charts dug up by GigaOm. Issues have gotten worse since, as Google Play dropped it from its charts final March, possible as a result of hate speech within the app.
This week, App Annie exhibits Yik Yak sank to #sixty three on the obtain charts amongst U.S. social networking apps and simply #1067 amongst all U.S. iOS apps. That’s in comparison with #21 in social and #141 general on April third 2014, #26 in social and #300 general this date final yr, and a peak of #2 in social and #three general in September 2014.
Whereas comScore’s actual numbers aren’t all the time correct, the directional developments are sometimes dependable. They present a decline beginning in late 2014. Now comScore pegs Yik Yak at 1.seventy six million month-to-month cellular customers over 18, primarily flat from sixteen months in the past. A small Tech Insider survey final month didn’t place Yik Yak within the prime 15 apps amongst school college students after as soon as being the large startup on campus.
These stats all mesh with what my supply says, which is that Yik Yak has had zero vital progress in over a yr, and persistently misses its progress targets. They cite four million month-to-month lively customers because the rely in January, noting the quantity has declined since then, although I can’t affirm that actual quantity.
The shortage of extra apparent progress can also be worrisome contemplating Yik Yak has quietly begun pushing for worldwide utilization in English talking nations like Eire and Australia. The startup initially tried to block abroad customers till it was prepared, in line with this nice historical past of the startup written by Enterprise Insider’s Alyson Shontell.
Naturally, Yik Yak PR defended the corporate, insisting that “progress and utilization could be very robust”. They declare the variety of lively schools on the app is now at 2000 and counting, and the corporate is hiring. However with out extra concrete metrics to counter publicly obtainable knowledge, it’s robust to drink that kool-help.
To turn out to be a strong social community that may survive on advert income, Yik Yak must get rather a lot greater. Proper now it’d solely have one third of the 12.2 million U.S. school college students on board. However even turning all of them into loyal Yakkers won’t be sufficient to justify its valuation.
(Don’t) Speak Again
The issue with nameless apps is that over time they begin to really feel exhausting. The crude tales, performed-out jokes stolen from Reddit, and cringe-worthy bullying put on on individuals. Whereas they could have a number of juicy quips of their very own to share, blowing off steam can ultimately really feel pointless. That’s why my Secret and Yik Yak utilization dried up.
Yik Yak’s product has proceed to plod alongside, regardless of some schools’ makes an attempt to ban the app for facilitating cyberbullying. However nothing has made it really feel recent once more.
Yik Yak started permitting pictures however no faces final July, and launched a net shopper in January. Then in a transfer that appeared to confuse some customers into considering Yik Yak was not nameless, it opened the choice to publish from a deal with/display identify quite than having all the time haven’t any identification hooked up to a submit.
That final function unlocks what might be a make-or-break function for Yik Yak — chat. In response to my supply, Yik Yak plans to open personal messaging between handles so if somebody says they’re lonely, youngsters might attempt to cheer them up (or shamelessly hit on them). Or in the event that they assume somebody has been by way of an analogous state of affairs they might rejoice or commisserate with them.
Chat has confirmed to make apps stickier and Yik Yak might use the retention, judging by the charts. The startup should discover some approach to escape huge time past the U.S. school market, regardless of refusing to permit excessive schoolers in to stop extra bullying. Fortunately because the startup is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, its staff are much less more likely to get poached by different tech corporations as they might be in Silicon Valley.
However maintainng morale have to be robust. All school youngsters appear to speak about lately is Snapchat and Instagram, when a number of years in the past it was Yik Yak on the information of their fingers.