Two years ago, Yik Yak served as the go-to app for news, questions, jokes, and gossip. Its beauty lay in its simplicity: Anyone could download the app and anonymously post short messages onto a public, location-based forum. The St Andrews feed refreshed itself constantly, updating within minutes as Yaks poured in from across the three streets.
As the app’s popularity grew, the Yik Yak team slowly implemented changes to their original formula. Initial updates proved beneficial to the overall Yak experience – such as flair to identify the OP and the introduction of “herds,” allowing Yakkers to keep in touch while abroad.
And then came handles.
At first, handles were optional usernames, intended to facilitate private messages between Yakkers. When handles became a mandatory function within the app, usage rates plummeted. The allure of complete anonymity was gone. Despite eventually reintroducing optional handles, Yik Yak has yet to regain its prior popularity.
Yesterday, the app’s co-founders officially announced the app’s shutdown. Timed with the approach of summer, the team will begin “winding down the Yik Yak app over the coming week.” Several engineers will be moving to Square, a mobile payment company that has consolidated Yik Yak’s talent for $1 million – a steal, bearing in mind the app was once valued at $400 million.
RIP, Yik Yak. You will be missed.