This ad will close in

WhatsApp's Epic Fail Was a Rival App's Exponential Gain

Did you get the telegram that Facebook’s $19 billion-dollar baby bit the dust for four hours over the weekend? The developers of WhatsApp competitor Telegram Messenger sure did -- and they're reaping the spoils.  

Some 5 million chat-happy people swarmed Telegram, a free, heavily encrypted instant text messaging app, only a day after a network router snafu temporarily downed WhatsApp and just three days after Facebook announced it would be purchasing WhatsApp.

Related: WhatsApp Co-Founder's Reaction to Snapchat: 'I Don't Give a Sh-T About This'

Berlin-based Telegram Messenger, founded by Nikolai and Pavel Durov, the billionaire brothers behind Vkontakte, Russia’s most popular social network, ambivalently tooted its horn yesterday on Twitter about the massive user influx, which it obviously wasn’t entirely prepared for:   

You’d think the team at Telegram would be ecstatic about the exponential explosion in users, but it sounds more like they’re still in shock, and understandably so. The Berlin-based app, which became available for iPhone in August 2013 and for Android in October 2013, catered to approximately only 100,000 active users per day as recently as October of last year, according to The Guardian.

On its website, Telegram, which bears the slogan “taking back our right to privacy,” takes a dig at WhatsApp’s allegedly lacking SSL encryption methods, which the security firm Praetorian recently dubbed “the kind of stuff the NSA would love”:

Unlike WhatsApp, Telegram is cloud-based and heavily encrypted. As a result, you can access your messages from several devices (including desktops!) and share an unlimited number of photos, videos and documents (doc, zip, mp3, etc). Thanks to our multi-data center infrastructure and encryption, Telegram is also faster and way more secure.

Related: Congrats WhatsApp! Here Is How the Other 99% of Startups Get It Done

The startup vented on Twitter yesterday about being literally overwhelmed by the defecting user flood, even as their own servers choked under the weight. Telegram representatives reported that some even went down for two hours in Europe yesterday “due to the insane growth rate." They added servers as fast as they could to keep up with the crushing demand. 

The Durovs won’t be cashing in on Telegram’s viral 15 minutes of fame any time soon. According to Mashable, they aren’t looking to pony up investors, make money off of the app or charge users.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp’s founder and CEO Jan Koum, who, like the Durov duo, also grew up in Russia, has just announced that his company will soon add a free voice-calling feature to its existing app.

Kim Lachance Shandrow is a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com.

Loading the player ...

The One Excuse You Should Never Give Your Employees

Ads by Google