Kik has been treading water over the last couple of weeks since its developer announced that it would close the messaging app and focus on its cryptocurrency Kin. Understandably, there’s been an uproar among Kik’s loyal users, and as it turns out, their cries have been heard. Holding company MediaLab has purchased the app and published a note to its users, saying “Kik is here to stay!” Even so, there are some changes looming, including the rollback of some features and the introduction of ads.
The original development team has already disbanded, so MediaLab is bringing in its own people to continue working on the app. It wants to focus on the basics over the next couple of months by making it faster, more reliable, and less buggy, while increasing group sizes and introducing the ability to remove inactive group administrators. It’s also open for further ideas and feedback from the community.
MediaLab deems the video chat toggle and the 3rd-party bots platform as unoptimized and plans to remove these features “for the time being.” Group management tool Ragebot is not affected by this and the company says it’s “hoping to announce some exciting news with the team behind RageBot in the very near future.”
Just like any company, MediaLab also needs to pay its bills and doesn’t have a cryptocurrency to fuel its expenses, so it wants to introduce ads to the service “over the coming weeks.” It promises any ad will be displayed “in a way that it is non-intrusive, and in no way takes away from what makes Kik great” while specifying there won’t be full-screen videos “or anything like that” — it sounds like sponsored posts similar to the ones in Facebook Messenger might be planned.
While there are plenty of examples of badly executed app takeovers, MediaLab is reputable enough. It also owns anonymous social network Whisper and hip hop distribution platform DatPiff, both of which seem to be successful products.