Remember when anonymous apps like Whisper, Secret, and Yik Yak were the hot thing?
Secret, founded by former Square Wallet developer David Byttow, got a whole lot of attention from tech blogs and even scored coverage last February when Gap claimed to be the first brand to launch a promotion on the hottest new social network.
Now, Byttow is shutting the operation down.
With a heavy heart, I’ve decided to shut down Secret, wind-down the company, and return the remaining money. https://t.co/HZUCMe3xFu
— David Byttow (@davidbyttow) April 29, 2015
As he writes in a just-released Medium post:
“Unfortunately, Secret does not represent the vision I had when starting the company, so I believe it’s the right decision for myself, our investors and our team.
Secret, Inc. still has a significant amount of invested capital, but our investors funded the team and the product, and I believe the right thing to do is to return the money rather than attempt to pivot. Innovation requires failure, and I believe in failing fast in order to go on and make only new and different mistakes.”
Secret, of course, got quite a bit of bad PR in recent years: there was the Pando article about how the app was used to share “lies and libel” via the safety of anonymity. Our parent pub Adweek also posted on the “dark side” of Secret, or the reputation for bullying that led many schools to try to ban use of the app and its competitors among students.
So are anonymous messaging services no longer the hottest thing in Silicon Valley? A simple Google news search for Yik Yak demonstrates the PR challenges that come with promoting such a product.
And of course, there’s this…
Without Secret, how are people going to get tech reporters to publish bogus tips as stories?
— Peter Kafka (@pkafka) April 29, 2015
Until the NEXT big thing, then.