Yik Yak: a deadly combination

by birtanpublished on August 21, 2020

Anonymous messages and local contexts were the perfect mix to make the popular social network geek yak come to life back in 2013 they were also the poison to kill it and it gave us their epitaph died too young and too soon the social network divides by two young roommates

At Furman University in South Carolina yes Facebook style went from popular to irrelevant Brooks Buffington and Tyler drool managed to sneak yak-yak into the top ten social media apps in the App Store

Shortly after its debut the idea of expressing their thoughts without showing their name and allowing other users to read it within one mile away conquered young people from hundreds of universities and campuses in the United

States the magic not only dazzled the students but also the investors who in three rounds of funding granted seventy three point five million dollars in venture capital to Buffington and draw not bad at all but it was a matter of

Time anonymity which affects everything it touches turned the social network into a catalog of cyber bullying and sexist racist and hateful comments did the formula for this aster grow as the app did how is that a start-up valued at

Over four hundred million dollars could not stop its fall the attempt was made but too late so this is startup forensics yet yeah yak-yak wasn't the first app developed by Brooks Buffington and Tyler troll

Their previous attempts include a game named fry cook which really never took off and an app for asking quick simple questions named dico short for dichotomy in the beginning frat brothers Doug were slur and Tyler drool developed the game

Fry cook for iPhone it was more than a school assignment but less than a first attempt Buffington joined to form a trio when they developed dico after that they established local engineering LLC in June 2012

Brooks Buffington and Tyler drove finished their University career and then returned home while Arslan returned to finish college it was 2013 when yak-yak emerged locust engineering LLC was dissolved and werster was out of the

Equation later he sued the founders claiming his place in the raising unicorn keep it simple the idea of yet GAC's founders was quite simple short messages called yaks to share with anyone who was close very close without

Having to reveal an identity now what sort of comments or conversations were being shared opinions class nodes requests complaints about the cafeteria food or it was simply a place to express your

Thoughts without the risk of being judged the app spread quickly through the campus in Furman University where its founder studied and then came to Georgia Tech and the rest is history it went viral in American universities and

Even reached other countries such as Spain Germany Brazil and Australia while alive yet captured the attention and the financing of over 10 investors and it relied on Atlanta even though it seemed almost an escape or requirement to dive

Into the Silicon Valley environment to get financing what they did right Yik yak was a social network that would reach a coveted market sector University students add the peak of its fame in 2014

Yik yak was better rank than giants like Facebook Twitter and Pinterest in the app store Counting 1.5 million downloads that year but success was not only achieved behind a keyword it was about generating

Local context in the application but it was also diving into the university campuses making special events and knowing their potential users this was an important and very well performed strategy they even got former President

George HW Bush to wear yet yak socks more muscle than their competitors during Yankee ex-prime other apps like secret and formspring used anonymity to grow a community of users around them these apps run with the same

Fate of disappearing but they died even earlier in 2015 they couldn't beat Yik yak in terms of venture capital either secret a confessions app barely managed to raise thirty five million dollars for financing after their initial boost they

Failed to appear among the hundred most popular apps in the App Store but they still reached around 50 million users in total in April 2015 David by toe CEO of secret confirmed the closure of the applications and said they had returned

Part of the money invested to their partners on the other hand formspring an application to ask anonymous questions lost ground to movements of companies like tumblr and only obtained around fourteen million dollars in venture

Capital founded in 2009 it reached 30 million registered users and four billion publications it finally closed its doors in March 2013 at the end of 2014 Yik yak announced a round of financing

From Sequoia Capital although after that downloads and traffic rates began to fall when did the ship start sinking although the initial enthusiasm of freely asking who wants to go out for a beer later could keep you gex flame

Alive and in the middie also gave place to disturbing situations like receiving negative comments about your image or being close or in the same room as your stalker and no knowing who that was furthermore you are not in college

Forever I mean some people are but most difference graduated move to other cities and interest in the app decreased however the app played an important role when in the middle of a shooting in the library of Florida State University in

2015 the students used it yet to let authorities know where they were hiding gradually the app began to receive the attention of the press but not because of its rapid growth or its ability to raise capital but because of its

Difficulty in stopping insults and cyber bullying the founders resorted to some measures to try to limit the comments that undermined the image of the application such as yeah karma yeah karma allowed the yaker community to

Regulate the comments giving positive or negative votes to the messages that were posted so the messages that received five negative votes went completely out of the feet it wasn't enough cases like that of young Elizabeth long echoed in

The press Elizabeth tried to commit suicide and while she was recovering she saw some messages in Yik yak which invited her to do it again another well-known case was that a feminist great Rebekah man who appeared

Dead in feminist United now that she had received numerous threats through the anonymous platform Yik yak began to become popular in high schools though it was banned in many of them this forest yet yet to find solutions

Offering geofences the schools were just required to fill out a form in which they indicated its coordinates to request the service to stop working there no matter the number of downloads or users in the area more than a hundred

Thousand schools were eventually fenced Chicago was a particularly problematic site for the application in an interview one of the founders said that it was curious that people did not stop talking about Yik yak in that state but when

They came to download it they simply could not use it Rozelle is the founder and chief executive of stump out bullying said an interview with the New York Times that he had parents reaching out to say kids as young as nine years

Old had been threatened and harassed through the application the proximity that initially caught the users attention eventually made them fear for their safety especially those who were harassed to the platform yuk yuk also

Tried to motivate its followers to create a username later this was made mandatory and when the interest in the application fell the founders had to take back the measure but at that point the application had already become a

Ghost town neither the private chats nor the list of the best yaks was enough to revive the dying unicorn so what happened to them DRO said they stopped listening to their users they distanced themselves from them and according to

Him that's when the fall began finally in 2017 they had to say goodbye to the application and the company that was once value and worth four hundred million dollars chose to sell part of their IP and it's team engineers for 1

Million dollars to the mobile payment companies square yikyak went from heaven to hell so lessons learned power and responsibility generating expectations in users and investors is a great power that comes with great responsibility

Anonymity and proximity the thing that made your company grow can also destroy it if you don't evolve change the rules of the game listen to what your customers want and give it to them but don't pivot so much that they don't

Recognize you or identify themselves with the product that they signed up for bad press if they're talking about your company it's fine but if they associated with negative situations all the time well it's not fine when the press talks

About your product act as soon as possible grow with your audience it's far that you focus on your customers but think about how you can continue to be relevant to them especially if they're

College students who will soon graduate and go home plain and simple if you lose relevance your end is another

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