Andre and Sandro De Moraes must really like to see people compete.
The brothers previously created GoldMic, a now-defunct social network for hip hop battles. Now they’ve launched a new iOS app called SocialBattles, where users compete to post the most popular photos.
To start a battle, users either challenge each other to a 1-on-1 battle or post a photo with an open call for challengers. Then any other user can vote on the photo they like the most. There are also “world hashtag rankings” that show you the users with the most popular photos for, you guessed it, a given hashtag.
It all sounds pretty simple, but that’s kind of the point — when I met with Sandro De Moraes before he launched the app, he said “the classic mistake” that he and his brother made with GoldMic was “focusing on other areas instead of the core.” With SocialBattles, they’re trying to hook competitive users with a straightforward mechanic.
“We wanted to give some people an alternative to just Instagram — certain users that want to differentiate themselves and stand out from pack,” he said.
Obviously, there are ways you can measure your popularity and “success” on Instagram, namely follower count and likes. But SocialBattles is putting the competitive element front-and-center. And at least it’s hooking some of its early users. De Moraes reported that one user has participated in 900 battles in the first three months, while another voted more than 300 times in their very first session after opening the app.
For now, De Moraes said he’s more focused on seeing what users will do with the app than on monetization. But when the brothers decide to make money, they probably won’t go with ads — De Moraes told me, “I think ads just degrade the user experience.”