Take on a daily photo challenge with The Daily Spank

IMG_2302The provocatively-named The Daily Spank is a new iOS app from Snow Cherry Ltd. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries no advertising or additional in-app purchases. An Android version is reportedly in the works.

The Daily Spank is a photo-centric mobile-social network, but unlike many of the numerous other Instagram imitators out there, it has something to distinguish it from the crowd: a degree of “direction” to the experience. Rather than simply allowing users to post photos of anything they like at any time, The Daily Spank instead challenges its users to take a particular type of photo each day, and then encourages the community to engage with one another through “spanks” (likes), comments and shares.

The app’s main feed always keeps the day’s challenge prominently displayed at the top, with the entries displayed underneath. Other users’ contributions to the daily topic can be sorted by how recently they have been posted or ranking, though in the latter case it’s not entirely clear what is being used to calculate the images’ rank, since they certainly don’t appear to be ordered according to how many “spanks” they have received. It’s also possible for users to follow one another, and a special “following” feed allows for the daily challenge’s results to be filtered to show just specific people rather than the global community. There’s a competitive element, too; users receive a rank according to how much attention their photos have attracted, measured through “spanks” and comments.

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Contributing a photo to the daily challenge is a simple matter of tapping the “Upload Photo” button and then either taking a new picture or choosing one from the device’s photo library. Once the picture has been selected, it must be cropped into a square image using the standard iOS “Move and Scale” interface. An issue with this prevents users from cropping detail from anywhere other than the center of the image — attempting to pan the crop area over to anywhere other than the center results in it simply snapping back to the middle again. This isn’t too much of an issue in practical terms once users are accustomed to it and learn to take their photographs with the important details towards the middle, but for those unaware it can be frustrating to have taken the perfect shot and then be unable to use part of it. There are no other editing features or filters in the app, but there’s nothing stopping users from taking and processing an image in another app and then uploading it to The Daily Spank.

Once an image has been posted, the user receives notifications of “spanks” and comments as alerts even while browsing the app, which can be a little intrusive — a more conventional notifications icon would have perhaps been better, particularly for users who attract a lot of “spanks” and comments. There are a couple of other minor issues here and there, too — the most notable being that it doesn’t appear to be possible to tap on a user in a comments thread to view their profile and subsequently follow them.

For the most part, the app’s community appears to be an active, lively and mature one interested in actually talking to each other rather than just sharing their Instagram usernames or trying to pick up girls, which is a good sign. App Store reviews are universally positive, too, with many users citing the fact that the app has a “point” rather than simply being yet another aimless photo-sharing network as something they particularly like about it.

On the whole, despite a couple of flaws, The Daily Spank is an excellent app that encourages people to be creative with their device’s camera, and for them to interact with other like-minded creative types. While at heart it’s little more than another photo-centric mobile-social network, the simple addition of a “common goal” for the community each day helps make it into a distinctive and fun experience that looks set to enjoy some success as a result. With an update or two to tweak the few issues it has, it’ll be worthy of an unreserved recommendation for photography enthusiasts.

You can follow The Daily Spank’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.