Author: Sarah Perez / Source: TechCrunch Developers call it “growth hacking.” Recipients call it spam. The latest app to engage in the le
Developers call it “growth hacking.” Recipients call it spam. The latest app to engage in the less-than-wholesome practice of asking users to text invite links to your entire contact list is Everalbum. The fast-growing photo-sharing and backup service climbed to the top of the iOS charts earlier this year ahead of launching on Android, but later decided that organic growth and traditional advertising weren’t enough – it needed to grow bigger, and more quickly.
The company, which is backed by $8 million in funding from Khosla Ventures, Felicis Ventures and Cherubic Ventures, is an alternative to iCloud, Dropbox, Google Photos or Facebook Moments, as it allows you to free up space on your device by archiving your mobile photos in its cloud storage service.
The rapidly improving Google Photos just rolled out clever features like its new automatic movie maker, while Facebook added support for free storage of full resolution photos – something Everalbum had put a premium on via its paid service tier.
This increased pressure may have prompted Everalbum to get a bit more pushy.
The app now heavily encourages users to invite their contacts to try the app in return to more free storage for their own photos. To what extent users understand what they’re agreeing to is unclear, given their complaints. Those on the receiving end of the texts aren’t always all that thrilled, either, it seems.
All of the app’s negative reviews on the app stores, as well as elsewhere on social media, Reddit, and the wider web, seem to imply that the users felt tricked or that their contact list was stolen from them, and texts were sent out without their consent.
We took a look at the app to see if it was doing anything unusual, however. As it stands today, the current version of the app makes it pretty clear what Everalbum intends to do.
It promises “1 GB of storage per invite sent.”
If you click the big “Get Free Storage” button, then you’re asked to agree to let Everalbum access your contacts. And sure, all your contacts are checked by default and the “Deselect All” button is grayed out to make it less obvious how to opt out, but it’s still possible to do so.
Of course, if you continue too quickly and press the button the app’s design encourages you to push – a big, blue “Get Free Storage” button at the bottom of the screen – you’ll have mass spammed your entire contacts list.
Some users don’t seem to realize what they’ve done after clicking through.
It’s also possible that Everalbum has iterated on this screen and the version we see now is more transparent than one used previously, but there’s no proof of that.
One lawyer who’s looking investigating Everalbum for TCPA violations, Marc…