It began shortly after lunch.
The texts appeared, first a trickle.
It wasn’t long before the deluge began in earnest.
“A friend* added you on ChitChat,” they said.
“Tap here … to get it,” they said.
What ChitChat is I’m not prepared to say, as I refuse to download it. I don’t want to be infected with the virus spreading like a plague through SMS-based growth hacking.
Presumably the app asks for permission to access users’ contacts and then broadcasts texts to anyone it hasn’t already infected. It’s what smart growth people have long agreed is an industry-worst tactic that should be avoided at all costs, but it’s brutally effective.
In case you wanted to know who is behind the ChitChat virus, I’m here to tell you. The app was made by an outfit called Swipe Labs, a mobile app studio that was last seen creating a mobile video app called Channel.
Before that, Swipe Labs was profiled in TechCrunch after it raised $6.5 million to “[throw] spaghetti at the App Store.” Previous projects included a furniture rental app called Fonzy and an ephemeral photo-sharing app called Swipe that has literally disappeared.
Investors include Sherpa Capital, which led the company’s Series A round, as well as Greylock Partners, Khosla Ventures, First Round, SV Angel, and Amasia.
The ‘friend’ who invited me is a person I’ve never actually spoken to before.
I have a feeling that isn’t going to change.