It’s been a pretty amazing two months. We’re growing rapidly and entered the Top 10 on the Android Play Store and Windows Market and Top 20 on the other App Stores within the last couple of weeks. What a great way to end the year.
Our core focus at hike has always been to craft a beautiful user experience. Thats one of the reasons we’ve managed to get back on the top of the charts. A great user experience to us isn’t only about the app but the end to end experience from when a user discovers the app to when they sign up and communicate with their friends. This is why we pour so much effort on the experience and are always trying to improve it, and make every feature really simple and easy for the average user.
Free SMS Invites
To remove all complexity from the app and make it simpler, easier and offer more value to the user, we often absorb the cost of providing certain features, just so that messaging is seamless for the end user.
To that extent we’ve also enabled free SMS invites, so you could invite all your friends on hike, without worrying about the cost of SMS.
Every single invite is sent manually by a hike user.
The way the Free SMS Invites work is that they come from a Virtual Mobile Number (VMN). This lets us make the Invite SMS Free. It’s exactly the same as if one was to send a normal SMS with the difference being that it comes from a different number. Multiple VMNs are used to manage the load on our side so that invites aren’t delayed. When someone sends an invite, both his name and number are added to the SMS to show who is sending the invite. This is extremely important from a privacy perspective so that the recipient knows who the SMS is from (See above).
Surge of Invite Volumes
Because of our rapid growth, in the last few weeks we’ve observed a 5x bump in the number of invites being sent by our users. We’ve also noticed some users have also started sending invites to people who they don’t know. This is surprising and clearly can be extremely annoying and at times overwhelming especially if they’re getting a horde of invites in a short period of time from people they don’t know.
We’re clearly not happy with what’s going on. The last thing we’d like anyone to feel is that folks are using hike as a channel for spam.
What we’re doing
Every single invite sent from a user on hike is user initiated and while we cannot control what users do in the app, starting today we’re going to take measures to curb such behaviour in hike. We’re also pro-actively keeping a track of those who are abusing our Free SMS Invites feature and blocking their usage.
If you still face this problem wherein someone is sending you a lot of invites, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll resolve it as soon as we can.