OK, I'll say it: I don't get Yik Yak

Yik Yak just raised $10M, just a very short time after raising $1.5M, just a very short time after they reached about 700k users on a pretty rapid growth clip.  But I don’t get it.  Obviously, I’m not nearly as smart as the average bear, but I don’t get it.

Here’s this outsider’s perspective on the Yik Yak app: anonymous, location-aware Twitter. Am I missing something?  I downloaded it. I used it for a few days. Nothin’. I don’t get it. Both my kids’ schools urged all parents to delete the app from their kids phones & iPods because it’s such a fantastic tool for anonymous cyber bullying.  Full disclosure: my kids don’t have phones.  Yeah, I know that disqualifies me from parent of the year awards in certain circles, and I’ll own that.

Shortly after I got the notifications from my kids’ schools about the app, I walked over and talked to the two guys at Yik Yak, since I was literally sitting 20 feet away from them at the Village. I showed them the email, and you could see the “Oh, God, yeah we know…frick…what’d they say?” looks on their faces.  I asked, generally, what they were doing about loud voices like these. They replied that there’s the “under 13” download filter and that they make it clear that the app is for users over 18.  Everybody, including them, knew that was complete crap.

The following week they implemented the geofencing solution to keep the app from being used in elementary and middle schools across the US.  Pretty slick! But complete crap, and everyone knows it.  Banning kids from using an app at school, even technologically, is as effective as banning kids from using smartphones at schools.  Kids play after school at places other than school.

But that’s all old news. I’m just ranting there. What I really don’t get, other than the value of using the app, is the business model. Because there isn’t one, is there?  During the conversation mentioned above, I asked them how much they’re bringing in when the discussion rolled around the paying interns to help crowdsource some sort of filter system or something. To their credit, the founders were completely honest: “we don’t have any way of making money.”

Again, I’m not as smart as the average bear, and please understand, I mean no disrespect to the founders here. They are busting it just as hard (way harder now that they’ve got $10M in OPM riding on…some sort of “success”) as any other startup anywhere.  I’m not disrespecting them. I’m questioning the investors, whoever they are, and I don’t know who they are.  They don’t owe me one dime, much less any sort of explanation for their investment, and I’m not expecting any. My very simple question is this: what are you investing in, when you invest in Yik Yak?

I ask, because when you don’t know or understand something, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.  I ask because I don’t get it.

What do you think about that?