Popular anonymous social app, misleading its users with fake messages was forced to change. Top rated app LNGwhich the became application number 1 in the US App Store in June, quietly rolled out an update yesterday that now informs users when they receive messages that aren’t from their friends – as users were previously led to believe. NGL used to send out these fake messages as a means of attracting attention and then charge for “hints” about the sender of the message.
The app has also slashed the subscription price, which promises to reveal details about who is behind the anonymous messages.
NGL is one of the few anonymous social apps that have recently been turned their attention to Instagram after Snapchat cracked down on apps of this nature using its developer tools as part of Wider Snap efforts to reduce harm to minors.
To use NGL, users had to press a button in the app to copy a unique URL that they could share with friends and followers online.
While Snap may prevent direct integration with its own developer tools, NGL users can still copy and paste the custom link into their Snapchat stories or anywhere — like Twitter or any other app. However, the share button in the app made it easy to post directly to Instagram Stories. Then, when others see the link in their friend’s story or post, they can click on it to anonymously ask that person a question. These questions will be displayed as messages in the inbox of the NGL application for users to read and answer.
However, the NGL had a trick up its sleeve. If users didn’t receive any interaction through their shared link, the app itself automatically generated messages. There was no real way for users to know that these messages were in fact fake questions sent to them by the app. But many suspected that this was the case, since the questions sounded as if their friends wouldn’t ask them. (We confirmed the messages were fake by generating an NGL link but not sharing it. We then received the messages).
NGL app reviews have been filled with complaints that questions seem to come from bots. To make matters worse, the app’s developer charged users for “hints” to find out more about who asked the question. This means that in some cases users were paying for bot tips! This may be considered a scam. (We encourage affected users to request return from Apple.)
The NGL app got its ideas from competitor Sendit, a similar social app that also offers many Snapchat games. Actually, Sendit maker sues NGL for stealing his ideas – the NGL developer had previously worked on Sendit before realizing the potential by simply cloning the idea and raking in the money himself. As it turns out, there are some things to do here. By July, NGL had surpassed 15 million downloads. and generated $2.4 million in revenue. by selling their subscriptions.
TechCrunch blamed NGL for its misleading tactics, and apparently someone was listening. (In fact, we understand that there was a discussion between the developer and Apple about this). NGL did not comment.
NGL released an update yesterday that now shows fake messages being tagged “sent via ❤️ from the NGL team”. This means that the message did not come from a friend, but from the application itself. (Perhaps the wording could be clearer. Some users—especially among the target audience of young people—may interpret this tag to mean that the message is simply being delivered by the application.)
These messages also do not prompt you to subscribe. In addition, the subscription price has been slightly reduced from $9.99/week to $6.99/week and now includes other features besides “tips”. For example, it is advertised that users will get “early access” to exclusive games in addition to anonymous questions and answers. One of the paid games is already included – the game of anonymous confessions.
The competitor’s Sendit app’s Q&A feature worked pretty much the same way, and it just upgraded its subscription too. Now, instead of just charging for hints, Sendit’s “Diamond Members” can reveal the sender’s name and bitmoji (in some cases), access exclusive games, unlock a custom badge, and remove ads from the experience, the app claims. However, its price is still $9.99 per week.
Although the viral hype around these apps has since died down a bit, they still remain highly regarded. NGL is ranked 9th in the US App Store Lifestyle Rankings, and Sendit is 12th in social media apps.
Credit: techcrunch.com /