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By Anna Ostraya
February 11, 2023
ZENLY Shuts down. What's Next?
Zenly, an app loved by millions has recently shut down, and to many, the reasoning behind this is pretty controversial. Why did such a successful and promising app come to its end and will there be anything as unique in times to come?
The history behind it
The app was originally founded in 2011 by a team in Paris. It wasn't like anything the average user had ever seen before. It managed to incorporate in itself both a utility app and a social media platform in the best possible ways. While Zenly was on a path of growth, a pivotal moment for the company happened in 2017 when Snap acquired it.
Zenly was a location-sharing app that allowed users to interact with each other as well as with places on the map. What made the app really stand out was its dedication to making the map a fun, creative, and most importantly interactive way of sharing your location with friends. It had fun animation that highlighted its uniqueness.
Features like vibrant in-app messaging and real-time location sharing made it grow fast in popularity. Additionally, the map was highly personalizable and became a hit among many friend groups. People shared their favorite bars and restaurants and could see where and when their friends were hanging out.
2022 has been a crucial year for the app. Zenly had launched a complete re-design. At that time the app was reaching numbers of around 35 million monthly users. According to a Tech Crunch article, Zenly was the tenth most downloaded app globally, reaching the peak of its popularity in Asia and Eastern Europe. Marking this moment, the co-founder and CEO, Antoine Martin, leaves the company referring to the fact that he wants to move on.
A couple of months later people were surprised when Snap announced that it was shutting down Zenly as part of a round of layoffs. A big reason behind the shutdown was that Zenly did not find a way to monetize off of its large user base. This move by the company sparked a lot of discussion and criticism.
Many have speculated on the reasoning behind Snap not selling Zenly or creating a spin-off company. Some have been led to the conclusion that Snap didn’t want a successful competitor to become a better Snap Map alternative in the US. Now fans of Zenly are recommended to switch to Snap Map. But is it really an adequate replacement?
Is Snap Map an alternative?
The overall consensus is - no. It is not. Besides the fact that Snapchat only allows users to see the location of people who are actually in Snapchat using the app, there are no features such as real-time location or “Paths” that allowed people to view the route and speed of a friend
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