Yo! Why Some Social Apps Should be Avoided


If you work in social media marketing, you know that that industry-wide disruption sometimes seems like the norm. Just when you get the hang of marketing on one social service, another pops up, and seemingly becomes incredibly popular over night. For this reason, many social media marketers are quick to jump on new web sites and apps as soon as they are available. This however, is a perilous approach. Recently, a new social messaging service launched called Yo, and users very quickly learned that the app was deeply, profoundly flawed.

What is “Yo?”

Yo bills itself as “a single-tap zero character communication tool.” Basically, you click on the name of one of your contacts, and with one touch, the app sends them a message that simply says “yo.” The idea is that you can use the app to simplify the process of sending a message. A blogger could send a “yo” message to their followers each time a new post goes up, or a retail site could send their fans a “yo” to let them know that a sale is going on. For individuals, it can be used simply to get the attention of friends or other contacts. The app was released earlier in the year and within a few months, became very popular with hundreds of thousands of downloads, and a million dollars in investments.

What Went Wrong?

The problem is that Yo was built very quickly, and while the design was elegant in its simplicity, many, many flaws ended up in the design. Last week, a group of hackers managed to hack the app and steal thousands of users personal phone numbers that the hackers then used to send spam “yos” to nearly everyone using the app.

Now, it is certainly possible (in fact it’s likely) that the developers of Yo will take some of that investment money, and build a better more secure app, but the early woes that Yo has faced should certainly give any marketer looking into using the app pause. It’s also just as likely that Yo isn’t the next big thing and that it’ll end up confined to the dustbin of history. It’s generally best when looking into establishing your presence on a social site or app to wait at least a few months to see if early popularity looks like it will turn into longterm success.

It’s also important to note that established content and social services have endeavored to create more secure services for their users. Learn how WordPress is working to build a more secure content portal here.