The Meerkat app for iOS went viral today, according to the Boston Herald, and it happened at the start of SXSW, where the app was slated to become the next breakout success.
This news of Meerkat’s popularity comes just a day after Twitter cut the app off from a vital functionality needed to make the app useful and appealing to new users – the ability to import followers from Twitter. This function allowed Meerkat users to receive secondary notifications of live stream sessions.
Launched in February, it saw a 30 percent increase to its user base overnight, just “15 days in,” according to Meerkat.
The Boston Herald reports that the sensational live streaming app now sports almost double the streams today than it had yesterday. The app’s instant popularity comes despite Twitter limiting the app’s access to the social media giant’s social graphs.
Meerkat: 15 Days In. https://t.co/Hs2cSiVqO1
— Meerkat (@AppMeerkat) March 14, 2015
According to Fortune, Meerkat made it to the “top 100 social network apps in the U.S.” in the two weeks since its launch. However, Fortune is of the opinion that apps that go viral are “probably doomed.”
Fortune attributes this to the rate at which consumers use and discard apps, and uses Ello, Draw Something, and Turntable as recent examples. Each of these apps took the spotlight and fizzled after a few weeks to a few months, according to Fortune.
According to the Boston Herald, Ben Rubin, Meerkat’s co-founder, was a bit surprised at the literal overnight success of the live streaming app, and he said via Twitter “Whoa this morning actually started with almost double the streams as yesterday.”
Later in the day, Rubin tweeted that Twitter’s move to cut the app off from the information just goes to show how powerful Meerkat is.
3/ twitter's move here shows how significant meerkat has become.
— Ben Rubin (@benrbn) March 14, 2015
According to Meerkat’s Rules, “Everything that happens on Meerkat happens on Twitter.”
According to BuzzFeed, Meerkat’s service “piggybacks on Twitter’s network,” and it does so in multiple ways.
Not only is having Twitter installed a prerequisite to installing and using the Meerkat app, but Meerkat users must sign in using Twitter as well.
Then, Meerkat would connect with Twitter to siphon off the social graph information so that Meerkat and Twitter users can connect, and so Meerkat users can get notified of when Twitter users post a live stream using Meerkat’s push notifications.
The Meerkat Rules state that while a user can “re-stream any stream to their followers in real time,” no saving, reruns, or cloud storage of someone else’s stream is allowed or possible. Meerkat users can store their own streams on their own cell phone, however.
The key to the way Meerkat works is the way it notifies users of someone on Twitter live streaming a video using the users’ follower lists from Twitter.
According to BuzzFeed, Twitter confirmed it decided to break this notification functionality.
According to a Twitter spokesperson, via BuzzFeed, “We are limiting their access to Twitter’s social graph, consistent with our internal policy. Their users will still be able to distribute videos on Twitter and log in with their Twitter credentials.”
Twitter added that Meerkat users could still use the app to announce they are live streaming, but that’s about it. This means that new Meerkat users have to add friends manually to get notifications of live streams, which could severely hamper the app’s success.
According to the Boston Herald, Twitter’s decision to cut Meerkat off “has many people crying foul” so close to SXSW. Twitter recently purchased its own live video streaming app Periscope, which some believe it did as a response to Meerkat, according to PC World.
Those same people are wondering whether Twitter made the decision out of jealousy or out the need to clear the road because of fear of competition.
[Screenshot Credit: Meerkat]