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商业 - 科技

Secret能火多久?

Erin Griffith 2014年02月18日

手机应用一夜爆红的现象越来越常见,从愤怒的小鸟到到最近大热的Flappy Bird,例证层出不穷。不过,很快就会有新的热门应用冒出头来取代它们。眼下红极一时的是匿名分享应用Secret,但鉴于如今的潮流“降温”格外迅速,它需要放聪明点,才能避免昙花一现的命运。

    最近几天,一款名为Secret(秘密)的社交应用正经过口耳相传变得炙手可热起来。这款iOS应用的发布时间只有一周多,用户可以通过它匿名分享信息和照片。

    根据App Annie网站的数据,Secret在App Store的排名正在稳步攀升,目前已挺进社交网络分类的前20名,在整体排行榜中也已跃居前150名。更为重要的一点是,这款应用已经抓住了科技与传媒界早期使用者的芳心。不过,眼下的热闹可能也意味着Secret面临的隐患:一款应用流行得越快,也就死得越早。回顾过去几年,聊天网站Chatroulette、社交音乐网站Turntable.fm、以及曾经大红大紫的你画我猜(Draw Something)就是前车之鉴。因此,Secret眼下正面临挑战。

    互联网用户尝试、然后抛弃一款应用的速度正越来越快。证据比比皆是:匿名聊天网站Chatroulette的低俗内容一度吸引了大量用户,但它只坚持了大约9个月,后来就无人问津了。Turntable.fm在2011年夏天突然爆发,3个月后达到顶峰,然后就开始走下坡路。去年年底,Turntable.fm正式关闭,不过在这之前,这家网站趁热打铁也拉到了750万美元风投。至于你画我猜,这款游戏2012年初突然窜红,在App Store排行榜上一路攀升六周后,社交游戏公司Zynga耗资2亿美元将它的制作公司OMGPop收入囊中。可几乎就在交易完成之后,你画我猜的用户马上开始流失。还有一些近来突然大红大紫的应用正在接受考验,其中包括阅后即焚应用Snapchat,短片分享应用Vine,以及照片分享应用Frontback。这款应用在去年夏天曾获得不少关注,不过随后一直沉寂。结论是:大部分经口耳相传而名噪一时的应用或公司最终都以失败告终。

    游戏昙花一现的情况更加突出,如彗星般横空出世,又有如流星般销声匿迹。谷歌(Google)的一张趋势图列出了四款游戏在过去5年的搜索趋势:虚拟农场(Farmville)、愤怒的小鸟(Angry Birds)、糖果粉碎传奇(Candy Crush)和最近大热的Flappy Bird,无一不是一夜爆红,然后迅速陨落的例子。

    比起从事实体经济的企业,面向个人用户的科技企业在面对瞬息万变的变化时更容易成为一颗流星。随着消费者(更准确地说是用户)的兴趣不断转变,我们越来越认识到,一种新事物从兴起到衰退的速度正在前所未有的加快。

    兰•博格斯特是一位游戏设计师,也是乔治亚理工大学(Georgia Institute of Technology)负责人机学、文学、多媒体和通信学的教授。他说:“这种消费趋势的变化以往需要数十年时间,但如今只需要几个月、几周、甚至几天时间,而我们对这种习惯已经习以为常。”

    博格斯特称:“大家收购Snapchat、Instagram、你画我猜、Flappy Bird或者Secret时,肯定觉得这款应用的流行时间不会太长……以后肯定会有新的应用取代它们。”他还指出,始终紧跟潮流的难度太大。他补充说:“即便是我们这样的内行也觉得非常头痛。”

    

    In a scant few days, social media app Secret went from a viral hit to a bona fide phenomenon. Launched just over a week ago, the iOS app allows users to anonymously share notes and photos.

    It's been steadily climbing the App Store rankings, cracking the top 20 in social networking and top 150 overall, according to App Annie. Perhaps more importantly, it has captured the minds of early adopters in the tech and media worlds. But that could be the problem with this kind of buzz -- the faster an app explodes in popularity, the faster it burns out. If past viral hits like Chatroulette, Turntable.fm, and Draw Something are any indication, Secret is in for a challenge.

    The rate at which web users consume and discard new apps is accelerating. Proof of that is clear: Chatroulette was popular for around nine months before users lost interest in its often-lewd content. Turntable.fm, which exploded in the summer of 2011, peaked that fall before people tired of its novelty interface. It was popular for long enough to raise $7 million in venture funding before finally shutting down late last year. Draw Something, a game which took off in early 2012, climbed the App Store rankings for just six weeks before Zynga (ZNGA) acquired its parent company, OMGPop, for $200 million. Almost immediately after the deal, the app began losing users. Recent viral hits which the jury is still out on include Snapchat, Vine, and Frontback, a photo-sharing app which gained traction over the summer but has been quiet since. The moral is: The majority of viral apps and companies have ended up as losers.

    Games are particularly hit-driven, and the spikes in popularity and drop-offs afterwards are becoming steeper and steeper. See this Google Trends chart for searches of Farmville, Angry Birds,Candy Crush, and recent viral hit Flappy Bird over the last five years for proof of the quick spikes and subsequent drop-offs in interest.

    Consumer tech companies are looking more like blips in the news cycle than actual companies. As consumers (or rather, "users") surf from trend to trend, we're becoming increasingly aware of how fast the hot new thing falls out of favor.

    "Those sorts of consumer shifts used to take years or decades, but now they can happen in months or weeks or days, and we're becoming accustomed to that idea," says Ian Bogost, game designer and professor of interactive computing and literature, media, and communication at Georgia Institute of Technology.

    "When you pick up something like Snapchat or Instagram or Draw Something or Flappy Bird or Secret, you're kind of aware that this is a thing that will be here for a minute ... and there will be something to replace it," he said, noting that the pace of keeping up can be grueling. "Even for those of us who are in the know, it's exhausting," he added.

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