By: Anthony DeAngelo & Zac Lyons
Over the years, many anonymous sharing apps and sites have been in the spotlight for being negative forums that enable cyber bulling. These anonymous sharing apps and sites are often referred to as the “dark web”. It is a cesspool of predators, creeps, and terrorists alike, most recently the “dark web” has been connected to ISIS as their top form of communication.What would make a company want to join in on such a frowned upon side of the internet? The answer is users. Whisper app alone generated 20 million monthly users. That is a huge population of potential buyers and critics that a company could use to get ahead of its competitors. Many companies have seen the potential in marketing on sites/apps such as whisper; Coca Cola, Paramount Pictures, MTV, VH1, HULU, 21st Century Fox to name a few.
There are many critics of the Whisper App and the other anonymous sharing social media apps and sites. Like we all know, there are billions of people who use the internet each day, a percentage of that usage is on sites that the common person is not exactly familiar with or wants to go on. Whisper along with Yik Yak (another anonymous posting site) are grouped under the category of “dark web”, users are able to post whatever they want whether it be about butterflies and rainbows or having the urge to kill your neighbor’s bunny and that scares the daylight out of people.
A little known fact about Whisper App is that the number 1 posted about topic is love. Yes, love. And as a fun side project, Whisper recorded data for the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. They recorded the most romantic states in the United States as well as the top 40 words associated with the holiday. To us, the findings were kind of funny; New Hampshire, Maine, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Arkansas took the top 5 spots whereas Nevada, Virginia, Montana, North Dakota, and South Carolina finished as the least romantic with Nevada finishing last (We wondered if that had anything to do with Las Vegas… but we can’t be so sure). The number 1 word associated with Valentine’s Day was “want”. To me that sounds pretty accurate simply due to the fact that right now their main users are young millennials who often have a “I want this, I want that” type of attitude. Not the word we were hoping for either, but it still gets the point across.
It just goes to show that not all users of Whisper are part of the frowned upon side of the internet. The CEO of Whisper, Mark Heyward truly believes that Whisper could be used as a tool to prevent cyber bullying. In fact, Whisper and Coca Cola teamed up for an advertising campaign that wanted to spread awareness for the 72% of teens who get cyber bullied with the hashtag #MakeItHappy. Within the first few hours the post received 1500 likes and 950 shares, which are pretty good numbers for a post that’s out for a short period of time. Now, to say that there aren’t internet trolls on Whisper is to say that Doritos aren’t delicious. It’s just ludicrous. There is always that one person who has to comment or post outrageous things, just to get under people’s skin. Do we have a problem with that? No. Personally we think it’s funny, but it’s 2016 and we have to respect others’ feelings.
Heyward doesn’t necessarily think of being in the “dark web” category as a bad thing. He likes to think that if there is someone who is depressed and needs help, or another who needs someone to talk to, Whisper is the best place to go to connect and find others like you to share with. Heyward says, “We created this place so you can connect with people. It’s like a Wikipedia of human emotion.” It really is a nice gesture and many companies are starting to see that people are always willing to post something when they know no one knows who it is. From a marketing standpoint this type of app could be considered as one of the best ways to perform market research. Every post is an unbiased and unfiltered thought that a company and they could use them to learn about both the product and the consumer. For production companies like Paramount and 20th Century Fox, Whisper is a great platform to advertise and promote their movies.
It is pretty evident that Whisper, an app that 2 million people paid $5.99 a month or $0.99 a post, in its opening year of 2012, is going to stick around for a while. Whisper didn’t start advertising with companies until late 2014, so they are still pretty new to the game as well. It is now 2016 and they generate 20 million monthly users, and I feel that the number will only rise with the growing popularity for applications like Whisper. The Whisper App gives people a voice, an outlet, that allows them to post whatever they truly feel, to a shockingly responsive and interactive audience.
One of the articles we read talked about a post in which the author of the article put something up on Whisper. He said that in the first hour of his, “I love ice cream so much, I could eat it for breakfast” post received nine likes. Now that may not seem like much, but that is nine complete strangers interacting with each other. Probably a pretty neat feeling since you know it’s not your friends giving you a pity like for a completely bogus post that contributes nothing to society. Now, say you were an up and coming ice cream store and you wanted to advertise on Whisper. Whisper has the technology to see that someone is talking about ice cream in the area of the post. (most applications have location services now in which they can track your every movement, which is very creepy, yet very helpful for marketers and businesses alike.) They could filter the potential backgrounds of the post to have the logo of the ice cream store. Taking a completely useless post and turning it into a type of guerilla marketing campaign.
It is a new day in age in which technology is rapidly improving. The way companies market their product today is very much different then what it was ten years ago. Most millennials have their nose stuck in their phone whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, Whisper, or Instagram. Companies have seen the benefits of marketing on various social media sites and apps. Not only can your product reach millions of people it couldn’t reach before, but the amount of information you can learn from the consumer is amazing. There are companies out there that will specifically track your social media presence (i.e. who are your tweets reaching, who is commenting on your post, what type of people are commenting on your post, is it negative or positive). If a company were to partner with Whisper, we truly believe that the benefits of the anonymity far outweigh the disadvantages and negative stigma of the “dark web”.
- WhisperText LLC (11 February 2016). “Whisper”. Google Play. Google. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
- WhisperText LLC (5 February 2016). “Whisper”. App Store. Apple. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
- Lawler, Ryan (May 16, 2013). “Now With More Than 1.5B Page Views A Month, Secret Sharing App Whisper Launches On Android”. TechCrunch (San Francisco, California). RetrievedDecember 17, 2013.
- Geron, Tomio (June 24, 2013). “The Return Of The Anonymous Social Web”. Forbes (New York, New York). Retrieved December 17, 2013.
- Gannes, Liz (September 5, 2013). “Why Should You Care About Whisper, the Secret-Sharing App That VCs Are Pouring Money Into?”. All Things D (San Francisco, California). RetrievedDecember 28, 2013.
- Madrigal, Alexis C. (August 16, 2013). “The Genius of Whisper, the Massively Popular App You Haven’t Heard Of”. The Atlantic (Washington, D.C.). Retrieved December 29, 2013.