Remember cross-platform mobile messaging service Kik? Anyone? Bueller?
Kik’s growth was an epic story of new product/service success, to the point that their servers were overwhelmed several times in the first few weeks (if not months) after launch. It made so much sense, in theory, at least. Users of Blackberry Messenger, RIM’s proprietary messaging software is much better than SMS aka text messaging; its faster, messages are displayed as conversations, and you can tell when a message has been sent/delivered/received. It’s basically like instant messaging; you have a profile/profile pic, status message, etc. It’s pretty good and definitely much better than text messaging. The problem, of course, is that its proprietary and only blackberry users can take advantage of it.
Kik is basically a cross-platform version of Blackberry Messenger. Genius, right? I thought so and was one of the first people to download it and get my non-blackberry-carrying friends to use it, too. I haven’t used Kik in months. I peaked at about 20-25 contacts within just a few weeks of initially downloading it. Similarly, I have not received a kik message from any of these contacts in months, either.
So what happened? Why’d he momentum stop?
If you look at the traffic to the website from Alexa (whether you think that’s accurate is another story) shows the peak was in November and then quickly tapered off (kinda looks like a head & shoulders pattern, eh?). In December, RIM sued Kik, but from the looks of it, Kik’s popularity had already started waning before the suit (and really, how many average people even knew about the suit?)
So why did myself and apparently all of my other friends who’ve download Kik stop using it? I really have no idea to tell you the truth! It just kinda wasn’t cool, and the concept of BBM for everyone wasn’t as great in practice as it was in concept. That, combined with the server/service outages, some privacy issues (they were very opaque about how the software added/suggested contacts) and all the hype just fizzled out, just like that. I still send SMS messages to my friends with Android/iPhones and I still send BBM’s to my friends with Blackberrys. It’s pretty stupid, if you think about it, when it would make more sense for me to use Kik, but for some reason even though its better than SMS, I just feel little-to-no compulsion to use it.
I guess its because SMS messages are threaded in a conversation on my Blackberry and the other advantages of Kik just aren’t enough to kill my SMS habit. It’s a shame, because the idea really seemed like a great one. Unfortunately, not every great idea – even if executed perfectly – does not turn into a commercial success.
UPDATE: Kik responded!
Well, we shall see then, eh? I anxiously look-forward to see what they’ve got up their sleeve…