Yik Yak customers are enraged over the adjustments being made to the nameless social app after its quiet acquisition by the similarly-focused campus chat app, Sidechat. Whereas Yik Yak had centered on nameless posting inside a area people, Sidechat is working to construct non-public communities for schools. Initially, Yik Yak had been pushing its customers emigrate to the Sidechat app after the deal went via. However extra lately, Yik Yak customers inform us the corporate is pursuing a unique technique — as a substitute of compelled migrations, Yik Yak’s personal app has been given a large overhaul that successfully turns it into Sidechat.
As Yik Yak person Aaron Cost, a pupil at St. John Fisher College, advised us, the up to date Yik Yak app is simply “Sidechat reskinned now.” In addition they famous that in case you join Sidechat, you’ll see every thing in your native Yik Yak as a result of each apps seem to now be operating on the identical servers.
“Not solely did they modify every thing good in regards to the app, however they made it so it’s important to use your school electronic mail to show that you just’re in school. That means, they’ll simply monitor you and share your knowledge for advertising functions,” Aaron defined. Earlier than, Yik Yak solely required a cellphone quantity to enroll.
It’s not clear whether or not the corporate has plans to trace its customers or share their knowledge, but it surely’s a legitimate concern for customers of a beforehand anonymity-focused app, and an instance of the difficulties any form of nameless app would have to find an exit. Any adjustments that disrupt the app’s prior dedication to finish customers round defending their identities are going to be met with skepticism, mistrust, and anger.
The most recent adjustments have been formally introduced on Yik Yak’s Instagram account on Thursday the place they quickly obtained quite a few complaints within the feedback — a lot of which have been receiving a whole lot of likes, as properly. Along with customers’ distaste for the up to date Yik Yak, they have been upset that the Android model of the app was additionally faraway from Google Play. Yik Yak’s submit, in the meantime, promised its revamp would come with new options like photographs and polls, interest-based communities, and fewer bugs.
Nonetheless, what wasn’t detailed in Yik Yak’s announcement was how the app’s performance has additionally essentially modified. Earlier than, customers stated they may save a number of places so they may discuss to numerous communities, however that’s now been eliminated. With the brand new Yik Yak, you might be restricted to speaking solely with individuals in your college, and the 5-mile radius choice is gone.
Some Yik Yak customers have been upset sufficient to start out a petition, however to date it hasn’t reached its aim of 200 signatures, stalling out at round 182. The vast majority of these got here in throughout the first 24 hours. Nonetheless, there are many complaints to go round on Twitter and within the Yik Yak app itself, as customers encounter the up to date person interface and performance.
One group of customers determined to attempt to spam the GIFs and messages to the app all on the similar time as a way to crash the servers, however the app remained up and operating.
Yik Yak itself acknowledged the backlash on Saturday, in a now-deleted tweet: “been a protracted week.”
Plus, Yik Yak Product Supervisor Tom Zyzer posted a number of the person complaints on his Story, joking “I like my followers and my followers love me!”
This isn’t the primary time Yik Yak has had a tumultuous exit.
In 2017, the corporate closed its doorways after Sq. (now Block) “acqui-hired” its engineers in a $1 million deal. It was a disappointing consequence for an organization that had raised $73.4 million in enterprise funding and had as soon as been valued at $400 million at its peak. The exit was an indication of the challenges forward for a gaggle of nameless apps, the place the flexibility to submit with out real-world penalties usually result in cyberbullying and abuse. Different apps, together with Secret, additionally shut down or discovered their very own ignominious exits. Some, like Sarahah, pivoted.
However in more moderen years, nameless apps gave the impression to be making a return. After Snapchat banned nameless Q&A apps from its platform, apps like Sendit, NGL, and Slay took off by specializing in Instagram. An nameless compliments app Gasoline offered to Discord. Even Sidechat now has competitors from Fizz, an nameless college-only app that was blowing up at Stanford.
The present model of Yik Yak first launched in 2021, underneath new possession — who additionally selected to remain nameless.
Sidechat’s house owners haven’t revealed themselves, both, even when the app was profiled by The New York Instances. Nonetheless, an SEC submitting for Sidechat’s mother or father firm, Flower Ave., factors to involvement from ex-Snap engineer Sebastian Gil and ex-Snap product designer Chamal Samaranayake. (We’ve confirmed this by way of sources to be correct). 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 Every day.
Sidechat hasn’t returned requests for remark.
From the seems of issues, it doesn’t appear to be the Yik Yak deal is paying off for Sidechat. The corporate was clearly hoping to spice up its personal person base with Yik Yak’s numbers as a way to dominate the nameless college-only app market. But when these offended customers merely shut their accounts and go away, then Sidechat could not have gained a lot of something.