Secret founder returns to anonymous publishing with launch of IO

Secret co-founder David Byttow said his shuttered startup would make a return of sorts, tweeting as much in November. Byttow launched the revived anonymous publishing app as IO on Thursday morning, with a different approach that has more in common with Medium than mobile social apps like Twitter (and with Bold, the startup he launched as a long-form content publishing platform for enterprise in June, and which actually provides the trunk URL for IO).

IO is a pseudo-resurrection of Secret that Byttow told us in November came into being partly because “the downsides of current social media products MUST be addressed,” an imperative he felt was especially urgent following the results of the last U.S. election. IO’s stated mission is to achieve “authentic publishing,” by which Byttow means that he’s hoping users having an option to publishing either anonymously, using a pseudonym or as their actual selves will allow for easier sharing of true thoughts and feelings.

Thursday’s launch is very much an early one – it’s “rough around the edges,” according to Byttow on Product Hunt. But the lightweight client already feels like it provides as little friction between yourself and web publishing as possible. As you can see from the screenshot. You type what you want, optionally add a Twitter account, name or leave that blank, and hit publish and you get a shareable link like this one.

The writer in me loves this bold, single-step publishing with clean lines and dynamic formatting, but it remains to be seen how widely that appeal will hold sway. Plus, Secret’s original launch was fraught with issues about the use of its platform for bullying; this one seems less inclined to that particular use if only because it lacks the location ingredient, but anonymity always comes with its own fair share of problems.

IO assigns a random cookie for temp edit access when you’re creating one voluntarily, and the editor supports markdown, export and images, as well as writing “Assistants” that include help with your prose even getting you in the right headspace via ambient sounds. A full breakdown of what’s available on IO right now is available here.