Slingshot, Facebook's Answer To Snapchat, Disappeared Itself (Video)
Me thinks Mr. Zuckerberg might have got the premise of Snapchat wrong. The raison d'être for that app is to have outgoing messages disappear seconds after they are received. Instead Facebook's Slingshot itself has vanished from the digital landscape, shortly after its debut.
So enamored was the Facebook founder of an app he could not buy for $3 billion, he attempted to beat the Snapchat developers at their own game. With the catchy moniker of 'Slingshot,' his crack team of coders worked double-time to create that which looked very similar, complete with it's major bell-and-whistle functionality of making messaging ephemeral.
Not Ready for Prime-time?
However, shortly after the iOS app was launched on iTunes App Store, it disappeared almost as fast as a Snapchat update status. The only thing visible to visitors at that point was a redirect to "the Malaysian store." Yet when folks tried to purchase it there, again this illusive app was no where to be found.
This explainer video satirizes what transpired.
"Earlier today, we accidentally released a version of Slingshot, a new app we’re working on," a Facebook spokesperson told The Huffington Post in an email. "With Slingshot, you’ll be able to share everyday moments with lots of people at once. It’ll be ready soon and we’re excited for you to try it out.”
The New Art of Slinging
Similar to Snapchat, Slingshot lets users annotate the images with one's own captions, before sending them out. But unlike Snapchat, recipients of Slingshot messaging have to respond back to the sender in order to unlock and view what they just received - hence, the analogy to "slinging" a message back and forth.
Zuckeberg et al seem to have honed their skills at making things disappear. Back in 2012, Facebook's Poke was an earlier attempt to produce a Snapchat clone. Industry leaders however never took the reports too seriously. It also was merchandised in the App store - and dissimilar to Slingshot - lasted several months before it was pulled off Apple's digital shelves in May.
Finger on the Trigger. . .
So why the two failed attempts? Whatever Zuckerberg learned from the flaws inherent in Poke most likely were corrected when he refined the product with Slingshot. As far as the early release of the second app, some reports note that apps have been known to debut prematurely, particularly when developers accidentally set the wrong date or timezone for its launch.
The date on Slingshot's App store page noted a June 10th release date. It's possible that since certain countries have earlier timezones than the States (like Malaysia) that the app began launching at midnight in that part of the world. Others intimate that someone was 'trigger happy' and pushed the button by mistake?
"What about a now-you-see-it-now-you don't tactic?"
However it's also possible that the powers-to-be came up with the marketing tactic to give this particular product some good word-of-mouth push. If their app was built to produce messages that self-destruct, why not have their own app appear and disappear as well.
It's got the blogosphere fired up and cyberventillating, for sure. The end game might have been what Zuckerberg was after all along. If you can't be the first to market, make sure when you do arrive - you beat the pants off of the guys that entered the playing field before you. Hey, it happened before -- anybody remember MySpace?