Off lately, there has been a lot of buzz about an app called Meerkat. What is it all about? You probably just heard about Meerkat and people are already saying its over.
Meerkat is a new video app for iOS that allows anyone to launch a live stream using their iPhone or iPad. If you think it’s something like FaceTime, yes it is, except that it broadcasts to anyone in the world rather than just a friend in China. The app will automatically generate a link to it as soon as one start a video stream from Meerkat, allowing anyone to click the link and watch from their smartphone, laptop or tablet.
It fame has soared sky-high since its late-February launch. On Saturday, it was the 59th most popular social networking app in the App Store, according to App Annie, a feat that coincides with the buzz it’s received at South by Southwest this weekend.
But it is sad to know that Twitter may have killed it on Friday.
Reports say, the social media giant removed Meerkat’s ability to import social connections from its platform. This effectively means that Meerkat cannot bank on Twitter anymore and the years of social buildup it may have on Twitter may go waste.
“This won’t totally kill Meerkat – people will still be able to use it to announce on Twitter that they are streaming – but will seriously kneecap it,” said the company spokesperson. “It means that the new users won’t automatically be notified by the app when friends are broadcasting unless they manually build out their friends networks. This hurts the app’s ability to keep people on Meerkat itself,” he added.
So now, Meerkat has to make it on its own. Critics are skeptical about its surviving on its own.
Erin Griffith on Fortune.com wrote that the app is merely the latest viral confection at SXSW – it’s the rumble now, but what that mean in a market where apps are downloaded and discarded in seconds, where the big dogs like Snapchat receive $15 billion valuations and the minor blip into obscurity forever? He also comments that an app is short lived if an app goes viral. He quotes apps like Yo, Ello, Secret, Fronback, Draw Something, Chatroulette as examples.
Meerkat founder Ben Rubin told at an interview that “everyone has a story to tell.” As Meerkat is left to sink or swim without the aid of Twitter’s network, he’d better hope people will want to tell those stories on his platform.
Then again, Meerkat’s mastermind, Life On Air, has already raised $3.6 million in funding largely based on Rubin’s previous app Yevvo. According to the Wall Street Journal, Yevvo “allowed live-video broadcasts by users that were streaming to any other users wishing to tune in.”
However, the move of Twitter is not likely to disrupt Meerkat, as the features to start streaming and send out tweets about the stream not tied to ‘social graph’ access. If anything, doing so has generated more press for Meerkat – and positive press at that, while Twitter’s bearing the brunt of the negative side of the story. It remains to wait and watch whether or not Meerkat will make it long term or be something of a flash in the pan.