Clutching at straws?

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There are a fair few social media apps that I feel are just around because they’re different to the norm, such as Facebook, Instagram, Vine etc but that doesn’t mean they’re any good.

The latest one to come to fruition is an app called Whisper, it is a free iOS and Android mobile app with an associated paid online service which allows users to send messages anonymously and receive replies, basically Facebook/Twitter without the username. It was first launched in March 2012 under the original name ‘WhisperText’. Users post a message which are then published displayed as text superimposed over an image which are similar to greeting cards like the image below:

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It is doing incredibly well for an app that doesn’t get as much mention as big game players, getting on average 3.5 billion page views each month which has got venture capitalists interested, and no wonder!

In May 2013 the owners of the app added a service cost of $5.99 (around £3.59) meaning receiving messages was free but sending messages required payment. In my opinion that was the beginning of the downfall of the app, and the fact that in February 2014 the service charge was made free for ‘most users’ but paid messaging was something that was required for certain users for certain reasons.

I struggle to see the point in this app, I understand that it serves its purpose of a social media app that allows more anonymity than most others but I just don’t understand. Maybe thats naive of me but I’m sure most people would agree that it is some what unnecessary, then again, a lot of people would say that about social media as a whole.

Even though I am a Social Media Executive Intern, I think social media on a personal basis is somewhat pointless, meaning I don’t think many people actually need to read about what you had for dinner or the fact you’re bored, but social media for a business is priceless.

I suppose we will all find out how popular this app is if Facebook tries to buy it in a few months!

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3 thoughts on “Clutching at straws?

  1. Andy says:

    In my experience, most of these sites are predicated on a business model that supports advertising. I don’t know this site specifically (so shoot me!) but it appears on face value to follow the trend. Advertising rates vary massively from country to country and the number of unique visitors/page views, but based on 3.5bn page views per month, I would have to assume that the revenue potential from advertising would be substantial (typical CPM rates might be in the range of $0.80 to $3++). Subscription models for users always have one thing in common regardless of the nature of the site, and that is something compelling to offer (premium content/services for example). Perhaps they should go back to the drawing board and figure out how to squeeze a better ARPU via increased ad revenues (let alone a better product roadmap).

    • akavanagh says:

      I definitely agree, a lot of apps are created to serve the needs of the latest trend and I feel this is definitely one of them! The views are good but anything different to the norm will become popular because there is nothing else like it available. I have a feeling this won’t have the same life cycle as say Facebook and Instagram but only time will tell!

  2. Hi!
    I would think if this app has that many people using it that they could have put it in Google’s ads on other websites that they would get paid for people using it after clicking on it. This is called ppc or paid per click ad submission. They either could of been making money that way & lost out on it & decided to add a fee to it for needing a way to pay for all the costs. That’s why when having a business, you get free things to work with & then have to pay for it afterwards. I’m sure they are looking into who wants it & what they can get from it for selling it to the right people or company involved. Revenues are what keep that app going or how a business stays in business to keep their products selling also.
    Rodney

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