Nameless app Sidechat picks up rival Yik Yak…and customers aren’t completely happy

Sidechat, the nameless posting platform that began blowing up last year on faculty campuses, seems to have acquired a rival nameless social platform, Yik Yak. When you could recall Yik Yak’s troubles from earlier years, the place bullying and harassment finally led to an ignominious exit in the form of an acqui-hire by Square, the gossip app relaunched under new Nashville-based ownership in 2021, promising improved moderation.

However now Yik Yak’s app has been republished below the identical App Retailer developer account as Sidechat — Flower Ave. It had initially been printed below its personal identify, Yik Yak, Inc. (The primary model below the unique founders was Yik Yak LLC).

As well as, Sidechat’s customers are complaining in App Retailer evaluations in regards to the compelled migration from one app to the opposite.

“Deliver again Yikyak,” one evaluate is titled, noting they obtained an replace that warned them that their “herd is shifting,” which pointed them to Sidechat’s app. A number of evaluations additionally complain that Yik Yak had been nameless, however Sidechat was asking for college kids’ faculty emails with a purpose to take part.

“Yikyak merging with sidechat is the worst determination,” one other reviewer lamented, including that Yik Yak had been accessible to everybody, not simply faculty college students. Plus, the reviewer mentioned, everyone seems to be nervous in regards to the merger as a result of their account information is now being related to their faculty.

Oddly, not all Yik Yak customers have gotten the push emigrate. As different App Retailer evaluations famous, Yik Yak continues to be working in some markets however not others. In actual fact, we had been capable of log in to Yik Yak in our local people when testing the app as we speak — and haven’t but obtained a push to maneuver to Sidechat.

It could possibly be that Sidechat is selectively pushing customers positioned on or close to universities and faculty campuses emigrate, as that’s its core demographic.

What’s attention-grabbing about this M&A occasion — which we’re listening to is extra akin to an acqui-hire than some type of massive exit — is that each corporations’ founders have tried to remain nameless. Yik Yak earlier refused to reply to questions on its relaunch. And even when being profiled by The New York Times, Sidechat solely responded to press inquiries from a generic e mail. Dozens of pupil ambassadors for the app had additionally declined to reply to or ignored the paper’s inquiries.

Nonetheless, an SEC filing for Sidechat’s mum or dad firm, Flower Ave., factors to involvement from ex-Snap engineer Sebastian Gil and ex-Snap product designer Chamal Samaranayake. Per the submitting, the corporate raised north of $10 million final summer season, shortly after getting written up by numerous college press, like The Harvard Crimson and The Tufts Daily. Extra lately, Sidechat was lined by Annenberg Media, a paper funded by USC Annenberg College for Communication and Journalism. Among the papers highlighted college students’ misgivings over Sidechat’s moderation capabilities and total affect on campus.

When requested, Sidechat’s founders declined to be interviewed for these articles as properly.

Our cellphone calls, emails, and different outreach to Yik Yak, Sidechat, and its founders haven’t been returned.

However there are many social media complaints in regards to the merger from less-than-satisfied customers.

The timing of the complaints and App Retailer evaluations level to a deal that went by means of someday final month. For what it’s price, Yik Yak Inc. updated its privacy policy in January, but it surely has not disclosed any change in possession.

In response to app retailer intelligence agency, Yik Yak’s app modified the identify of its writer from Yik Yak Inc. to Flower Avenue Inc. on February 28, 2023.

The agency tells us the brand new Yik Yak has seen roughly 3.5 million installs since its August 2021 relaunch. The very best rating it ever obtained was the day after its relaunch when it briefly grew to become the No. 1 Total app on the U.S. App Retailer. Right now, it now not ranks within the Total listings however is No. 89 in Social Networking.

Picture Credit: Sidechat screenshots

Sidechat, in the meantime, had simply barely north of 180,000 lifetime installs, making it the smaller of the 2 apps. (However maybe the one with extra runway!). Its highest rank was No. 30 within the U.S. Social Networking class, which was achieved in November 2022.

The merger is sensible on condition that each Sidechat and Yik Yak share an analogous objective of connecting individuals anonymously, although Sidechat has extra squarely targeted on faculty pupil gossip.

However staying nameless when asking others to belief your platform is an odd selection for these corporations — and one which appears to be backfiring. As a result of the customers don’t know who’s working Sidechat or what their values are, they’re hesitant to even present the corporate with their e mail, it appears.

Sarah Perez is on the market by way of e mail [email protected] and Sign ‪(415) 234-3994.‬

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