In a world already filled to the brim with social-networking apps, can Jelly actually carve out a space for itself?
Jelly allows people to post questions to a social network specifically designed to field queries. “Using Jelly is kinda like using a conventional search engine in that you ask it stuff and it returns answers,” reads the startup’s introductory blog posting. “But, that’s where the similarities end.” Having Twitter co-founder Biz Stone as its CEO and co-founder gave Jelly a lot of initial buzz—but at least one analyst believes that, as the buzz fades away, the app is having trouble retaining users.
According to a new blog post by Robert J. Moore, co-founder of analytics firm RJMetrics, Jelly users asked 100,000 questions in the app’s first week of release, although only 25 percent of those questions received an actual answer. “The daily active user count is trending downward as the post-launch buzz dies down,” he noted.
RJMetrics’ analysis suggests that the app’s daily usage peaked on January 10, with more than 20,000 engaged users, before declining to just under 14,000 users by January 13. “While the dropoff on the 11th and 12th could be explained away by the weekend (a typical lull for social activity), the continued downward trend on Monday the 13th is concerning,” Moore added. “It could indicate that users aren’t sticking around after their first few days.”
In addition, the number of people asking questions is apparently outpacing those answering them—which isn’t good news for an app that depends on a fairly even balance between the two sides: “Without a robust legion of answerers, it seems that most questions aren’t getting the attention they need.” That could pose a challenge going forward, as users who ask more questions (and receive answers) tend to stick around for the longer term.
In order for Jelly to succeed, it must convince users that it offers something they can’t get by simply posting a question to their friends on Twitter or Facebook, which millions of people already do every day. That “extra element” may involve photos: with Jelly, the user can circle a portion of an image with a finger and ask his or her network a question about that detail (“Who is that person second from the left?”), which isn’t quite as easy to do on other social networks.
But whether Jelly’s functionality is enough to keep users for the long-term is still very much an open question—one that the app’s investors, which include U2 frontman Bono, surely want answered in the affirmative. If all else fails, maybe Jelly can rack up some commercial partners who’ll answer consumer questions about the ideal way to install drywall, shoot a perfect picture, or repair a faucet.