What do people really think about yodelling?

“Yodelling is really free muzzle”: the app lets users post anonymously within a radius of 10 kilometers

Anyone who has ever wanted to scream from the roof of the house to give their Grätzel a very important message, now has the opportunity to do so. Well, at least digitally: The smartphone app Jodel (free for iPhone and Android) allows its users to anonymously send status reports and photos to all other Jodel users within a radius of ten kilometers.

During a visit to Berlin, TrendingTopics.at was able to try out the app in the home town of the start-up that CEO Alessio Avellán Borgmeyer founded two years ago. The idea is not unique, by the way: With Yik Yak there is an app in the USA that works in a similar way to yodel.

Student jokes and local recommendations

Today, Jodel has more than 600,000 downloads and more than 300,000 monthly active users, more than 100,000 of which are active daily. And they are actually noticeable: At Jodel in Berlin you get feedback relatively quickly if you ask in the digital round where you can best eat or which club is worth a visit in the evening. In comparison, there is still very little going on in Vienna.

Since the app is used anonymously (you don't even have a nickname), the tone is pretty rough - crude jokes and sayings can also be found in the feed, which is reminiscent of Twitter and Instagram. So nothing for the faint-hearted.

"It works very simply: You can send a message or a picture anonymously to your surroundings, and you can see in your feed what other users are yodelling within a ten-kilometer radius," says founder and CEO Alessio Avellán Borgmeyer in an interview with TrendingTopics.at. "That gives you an insight into your surroundings, what people are doing and what they're thinking."

The "live ticker on campus"

To encourage users to post original and good content (you can also upload photos), Jodel has built in a few tricks. On the one hand, like reddit, there is a voting system that also allows negative votes - if a post is often rated negatively, it disappears from the feed or is ranked lower. Good users can collect karma points by getting positive reviews or by posting a lot of posts.

“At the moment, users are mainly coming from the universities, so yodel has become the live ticker for the campus,” says Borgmeyer, who first developed the tellM app at the university in Aachen and then turned it into yodel. Today he works with a team of ten on the software; he interrupted his studies in favor of the start-up. “Addressing students first was a conscious decision. When I started the app two years ago, I was a student myself, and the team also built the product for themselves. Addressing the demographics that are best understood makes the most sense. And students are the strongest demographics for new social apps anyway. "

Smartphones can be locked

By focusing on the anonymity of users, Jodel intentionally breaks with the Facebook principle. "Nowadays you are almost always using real names on social media, with Zuckerberg revolutionizing the Internet," says Borgmeyer. “But you sell yourself on Facebook or Twitter, you want to look cool. It also leads to people stop saying what they really think. But because of the anonymity, people are free to say what they think. Yodelling is really free. "

The downside of anonymity: Users can use it to simply publish hate postings or to bully others. The yodel makers have taken precautions for this: each user is assigned a unique ID number when they log in for the first time, which corresponds directly to the device. Jodel has the technical ability to block smartphones (and not just accounts) from being used.

Grow first, then make money

To date, Jodel has received seed funding from Global Founders Capital (VC arm of the Samwer brothers) and Christophe Maire from Atlantic Labs (also invested in Soundcloud, EyeEm, Monoqi) and is currently looking for new investors. Because the start-up is not yet earning any money, the focus currently is clearly on growth. Instead of adding new features to the product (e.g. video), investments are first made in the backend in order to be able to handle the rapidly increasing traffic. A new feature is to be added soon: via a hotspot function, so that you can look up what is being published in other cities - you are not allowed to post or vote there yourself.

According to Alexander Linewitsch, PR man at Jodel, there are a few ideas for the business model. "We have a lot of ideas, including local ads, but when and how we will start monetization is still open." Internationalization from the German-speaking area could in any case work: “to yodel” is also available in English.