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That opens up the sort of monetization opportunities currently being exploited by We Chat, Line, and Kakao Talk – in-app purchases, payments, games, virtual items, brand relationships, ecommerce – but it places them in the context of the open Web, mostly free from the restrictions imposed by devices, app stores, or operating systems.Kik launched as a cross-platform messenger in 2010 and saw insane growth for the time, blowing by 1 million registered users in two weeks.On my i Phone’s homescreen, I have a folder that contains six messaging apps, and the messages come to me by push notification.
(The suit was finally settled just a few weeks ago.) Kik was forced to rethink its entire business. It has spent more than two years now building out its HTML5 platform, which is predicated on “cards,” which are actually apps.(Okay, so in that orgy of mixed metaphors we’ve got horses building moats while running from side to side. ) This app, while it faces very real challenges, has locked down key advantages in its technology and it is starting to deliver the kinds of numbers that, if they were emanating from Silicon Valley, would be the chatter of the venture capital community, if they could only shut up about Snapchat for five minutes. If you believe in good design and a young userbase, then Kik should be near the top of your list of chat apps to pay attention to.Having said that messaging is the killer app on mobile, it may sound like contradiction to say that messaging is also a commodity, but that, too, is true.These apps are growing at a rate not seen since the early days of social networking in the mid-2000s, when Cyworld, Mixi, Friendster, Bebo, Orkut, My Space, and Facebook jostled to create the world’s biggest social graph, a web of connections that personalized the Internet.We Chat, not yet three years old, has more than 270 million active users. Line and Kakao Talk count their users by registered accounts.