TikTok has a new competitor: Zynn, an almost button-by-button clone of TikTok that differentiates itself with a key twist – it pays users to register, watch videos and convince others to follow. The app was launched in early May, and like Mashable Notably, it’s now the number one free app in the Apple App Store and among the top 10 in the Google Play Store.
Zynn is completely a TikTok clone. The core interface is identical, and both are oriented around watching short portrait-oriented videos. The big difference is a countdown timer with a dollar sign in the middle that hovers over every video on Zynn. When you watch videos, the timer fills in and gives you points to redeem later as cash or gift cards. I haven̵
The app didn’t exactly come from nowhere, despite what it seems. As information reported yesterday, Zynn is an extension of a rivalry around video apps in China. Zynn’s creator, Kuaishou, is a well-funded startup that runs one of the largest video apps in the country. The app is just the second for Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. Kuaishou used the same technology to pay viewers to grow in China, according to the report. The company ultimately makes money by selling ads, as long as it gets more money than it pays out. (At present, Zynn does not appear to show ads.)
Kuaishou recently received a $ 2 billion investment from Tencent, the Chinese technology giant behind WeChat. information reported in December that the investment was intended to help Tencent “contain the threat of ByteDance”, as did TikTok and Douyin. Kuaishou’s expansion to the US seems to be an extension of that goal, where the company uses the same strategy to take on Bytedance and find a space in the market.
Zynn seems to have grown so fast for some reason. There are the paying users to watch videos, obviously (I could get $ 0.12 by watching videos for what felt like minutes). But the app also has a referral scheme that pays users to get others to register and use the service themselves, which probably went a long way to helping it spread. A big banner in the app promises $ 110 if you can get five people to sign up (with the fine print that most of the money will only come if the people you refer continue to use the app regularly). The service also came pre-loaded with videos as the app can pull content from Kuaishou. information reports that Zynn’s videos are “mostly” from Kuaishou right now.
Like TikTok, the app launches you directly to watch a video the first time you open it. But if you want to earn rewards, you must register. And in order to register, you have to submit some personal information to Zynn. There is no option to create an account directly with Zynn – it must be linked to some other service: Google, Facebook, Twitter or your phone number. I tried to link my Google account, but Zynn would not let me continue when I refused to share my contact information. I ended up signing up with a Google Voice recorder number. This did not result in the app asking for access to my contacts, but Zynn now knows my (fake) phone number. The app also requested location access during registration, but it still lets you continue if you decline. To get your rewards, you must also link a PayPal account.