Sarahah App has 95 Million Users, 2 Employees, But Can it Sustain


Anonymous messaging app and website, Sarahah, which went viral early this year in July garnering millions of downloads within days, has now over 95 million registered users with two full-time and three part-time employees, according to a Wall Street Journal report. But how long can it sustain?

Sarahah, which means ‘candor’ in Arabic, went viral weeks after its launch in June, becoming the most-downloaded free app on Apple App Store in the USA, followed by several other countries.

The app was targeted towards employees in Saudi Arabia who usually shy away from speaking up to their seniors given their social construct.

Sarahah’s website states,”Sarahah helps you in discovering your strengths and areas for improvement by receiving honest feedback from your employees and your friends in a private manner.”

Criticism Against Sarahah

The app even came under the criticism when the Intercept revealed that the application is updating the entire phone book data from the user’s smartphone.

For those users who want to use Sarahah without the app, they can make use of the web version and get away by sending and receiving messages without having to worry about app permissions.

Another reason it came under the scanner was that the anonymity of the sender made it into a playground for cyber bullies — an issue faced by another anonymous messaging service Yik Yak in the past.

Can Sarahah Survive?

While Sarahah developers have made a move to discourage cyberbullying by the introduction of new filters, option to block senders, and tell users to ‘leave a constructive message’ before they hit ‘send’, it isn’t a foolproof solution to one of the major issues menacing the service.

Like any other fad, the rage for Sarahah has gradually withered — a fact that can be confirmed by the dying enthusiasm of users of the app whose frequency of sharing messages from the app on various social media channels like Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and more has declined.

But to support such a huge user base, the app developers require infrastructure on the backend, which requires money.

Sarahah had received free cloud storage from Microsoft worth $120,000 earlier this year under their startup-sponsorship program. But since that credit is running out the app has rolled out online advertisements.

Anonymous messages are still free as the app developers are testing paid features for corporate clients — remaining true to its roots which led to the app’s creation in the first place.

Sarahah is trying advertising and paid corporate plans

Sarahah gained immense popularity over the past several months, but to turn that into profit is the real challenge faced by the app developers.

In the face of a dwindling userbase and uncertain prospects about its functionality in a corporate setting leave Sarahah in a tough spot.

Add to Sarahah’s woes is an upcoming app tbh (to be honest), which is picking up well in the USA, emerging as a new winner in the anonymous posting sphere as it recently propelled to the top of iOS App Store charts.

Also See
#messaging #sarahah

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Bike enthusiast, traveller, ManUtd follower, army brat, word-smith; Delhi University, Asian College of Journalism, Cardiff University alumnus; a journalist breathing tech these days.