Sarah, an anonymous messenger app established in Saudi Arabia, has become an unexpected viral sensation with teens, which has registered over 300 million registered users before being banned by Apple and Google for bullying, returns to the App Store – but not as it can I think.
The launch started with a new, free iOS application called Enoff (rendered "enough") targeted at organizations, tapping into the wave of employee activists and talking about unjust practices to provide the people in the team with anonymous, feedback to the bosses and representatives of human resources.
Available on the Internet, the goal is to provide a way to provide feedback in cases of harassment, corruption and other inconvenient situations in the workplace where employees might be afraid of repercussions of speaking.
Enoff heads with a number of alternatives that are already on the market to provide "anonymous" workplace feedback, including other apps like the blind, as well as current solutions that a business can already have for receiving feedback. But it is also a return to the roots of startups: the original Sarah was originally built to allow employees anonymously to give feedback to the bosses, before they inadvertently hijacked and turned into a hit with consumers.
This does not signal the end of Sarah. In spite of its origin in Saudi Arabia and all possible controversies that can come along with it, the same application now has 320 million registered users with concentrations, especially in the United States, Britain, India, Egypt and Japan, according to the CEO and founder Zain al – Alabin Tafik. With forced interruptions from Google and Apple, the mobile application is recovering to provide better protection measures and blocks against bullying, harassment and other negative uses that have raised the anger of parents and many others.
More specifically, Sarah now joins the API of major technology companies, such as Google, to develop better filters that go beyond keywords to know content based on feelings and conclusions. (Tawfiq said the company is also building its own technology, although with only 10 employees currently working to start up, it's a slow thing to create something new in the house at the top of an application that already exists.)
The plan is to launch Enoff while sending Sarahah back to the App Store at Apple and the Google Play Android store in the coming months to hope to re-enumerate it. In the meantime, people use the application primarily online, where they can reach the user's profile, following links to other platforms, said Tawfiq. Sarah sees monthly "millions" active users.
"We are working to improve the platform and protection measures," Tawfiq said, of the mistreatment that ultimately brought the original app, he described as "a very limited case of use, but we're working to fix it."
To coincide with the launch of Enoff and Sarahah's rebuilding work, Tawfiq said the launch is working on raising A-series funding to hire more employees, and paying the infrastructure to provide a larger application and build more than a business around it. He did not want to comment on how much Sarah raised him, nor how much he collected from private supporters to this day.
Enoff works like this: a company or organization initially registers its domain, which includes an embedded route when a person must send an identification to verify to become a company representative on the site. Once an organization has been added, the communication code with the representative can be shared with employees, clients or partners. These persons are then registered and can begin giving feedback.
This feedback, in turn, is never shared with anyone, except for the one who is the administrator of that organization, essentially working as an open line for tips that goes to one mailbox.
Tawfiq confirmed that Enof would be free to use it without plans to add paid application levels, but Sara Sarah quietly builds other types of monetization in the wider platform.
He notes that now advertising is in Sarah, and over time, the plan will be to introduce wider data analysis services, tapping into broader anonymous information on the platform, an area he calls "corporate solutions", which will be relying on the fact that many organizations – Netflix is one – already use Sarah to manage return campaigns by providing more targeted analyzes and feelings analysis.
"The service we offer now is generic so that individuals and companies get the same experience, but we have a great opportunity to provide them with additional services for companies to give them more benefits from the feedback they receive," Tuffik said. "We believe that billions of messages available in Sarah can be extracted to find a lot of useful information to help companies improve their processes."
All in all, the prolonged popularity of Sarah points out not only that – despite its problems – it still seems to be a desire, as an Internet culture, more forums for discovering our thoughts; but that sometimes the simplest solutions, even if they are flawed, continue to have a sticky appeal.
"I think Sarah was born with a clear goal. It's different from other platforms because it was created to break barriers to giving honest feedback," Tuffik said. "Focusing on this goal will help us to develop our business even when other services like us have failed."