Remember Yik Yak? For those of you who do, Yik Yak was a massively popular social media app back in 2013 and 2014. Shortly after its launch, it spread like wildfire across U.S colleges and universities. But a few years later, the company dissolved and the app was no more.
As of 2021, the app is now back, however, it’s filled with bugs and barely anyone uses it. Yik Yak alternatives have popped up here and there, but the best Yik Yak alternative by far is Cloak.
Cloak: The best Yik Yak alternative
Similar to Yik Yak, Cloak is an app for iOS and Android which allows you to anonymously share whatever is on your mind. Your home feed includes nearby posts (if you enable your location), popular posts from people around the world, and posts from the Circles you’ve joined.
On top of having an anonymous feed, you can also meet new people and send private messages to friends. As long as you know someone’s username (let’s say you met them on Omegle or Instagram), you can privately chat with them. Send texts, photos, videos, and audio messages through the built in messenger. All sent media will delete automatically after 7 days.
The app is available for download on iOS and Android.
What was Yik Yak?
Yik Yak was a social media app created by Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington back in 2013. The app allowed you to view what people were anonymously saying within a 5-mile / 8km radius. In return, you could post whatever was on your mind, all while remaining anonymous. People could comment and upvote your post without ever knowing it was you, just like our Cloak app.
The app interface of Yik Yak was very simple and easy to navigate. You could see what people were saying in your area and you could explore what was being said in other cities and on college campuses. On your posts, you could write text and share photos. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, loved Yik Yak at its peak. At one point, Yik Yak was valued at $400 million.
Why did Yik Yak fail?
Yik Yak failed for a few reasons. The biggest was being unable to control the cyberbullying and hate speech which was flooding the app. Yik Yak didn’t initially require users to create a handle or verify their phone number. Since it was an anonymous app, people began sharing anything they wanted, even if it targeted, hurt, and threatened others.
Parents and students began reporting the app to their schools, which in turn had middle schools, high school, and colleges across America ban the app. Many schools blocked the app from being downloaded and used over their school WiFi networks, however, students could still use the app on their phone through data. This prompted the team over at Yik Yak to geo-fence many school locations. Basically, Yik Yak was given a school’s coordinates and made it so their app couldn’t be used within said area.
With more backlash because of the ongoing bullying problems, they eventually required users to create handles. Their user base generally disliked the idea because it took away from the anonymity, causing more people to uninstall their app. On top of requiring handles, Yik Yak removed the ability for you to see what other cities and campuses were saying. In replace of this, they began showing users who were located near you. People weren’t happy that they pivoted away from what Yik Yak originally was, and the app faced many 1-star reviews and uninstalls.
A few months later in December of 2016, Yik Yak laid off 60% of their staff. It was clear that the app wasn’t going to turn around, so people left it for good. Then in April of 2017, Yik Yak decided to shut down. In August of 2021, the app came back on the iOS app store.