Emojli: how we accidentally made an application and why we no longer want to do this

Original author: Tom Scott
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Tom Scott and Matt Gray launched IM, in which all communication, including logins, is carried out only with the help of emoji . “Not a word. Not spam. Only emoji. ”What came of it, and why you should not make your own proposal in the video and retelling under the cut.




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Tom: So, we were in Westfield in Stratford, London, in this abyss of consumerism, sitting on a bench after a long day, and Matt came up with the idea of ​​an emoji messenger. But strangely, no one has done this yet, although everyone around is talking about emojis after Unicode announced support for a new set of icons. Now in Unicode there will be a "Spock gesture . " And more recently, Yo came out, and how these ideas are not connected in other minds is not clear.
We thought everything would be simple. This is just IM, we’ll do nothing special in the backend or front-end in a week. Yeah ... In general, we did not do this for a week, and I riveted a simple page with registration of logins - in emoji, of course, and sending an alert to email: "Thank you, we will contact you." And we thought that everything is fine, no one will pay attention, we will say that it was a joke and everyone will forget everything.
Matt: Tom and I, as we usually do, uploaded a video about this to YouTube. And several people saw him. In short, after a couple of days, 70,000 logins were reserved for us. Seventy thousand. And all because of a little stupid idea on Westfield’s bench.
Tom:And the most interesting is the logins. For example, on instagram my login is tomscotttt, and I still got off this easily. This will not work with emojis, because you can’t type your name ... although some still managed. In emoji there are blood group icons, these are A, B and O. There are symbols similar to D and M, which gives ADAM. And there is $. It turns out BOOB $. We accidentally launched an emoji spelling contest.
Matt: And we thought it would be nice to put an email on the page, in case people have questions. Never do that. Hundreds and thousands of letters “I tried to register as, it doesn’t work, why?”
Volume: BECAUSE SOMEONE ALREADY TAKEN IT! In emoji there are only five hundred characters, you have to use more than one!
Matt:We sent hundreds of letters saying “Use more than one emoji” and at least five “No, the login must consist of an emoji”. As a result, a small stupid idea on a bench turned into a work of technical support of a single registration form.
Tom: And we had to make an application. I am a professional web developer, I have years of development behind me, who can guess what I wrote the backend on? Php!
Matt: And I did the frontend. I’m a broadcast engineer, I don’t program, I made a couple of web pages. Guess what I did the front end in? HTML + CSS + JavaScript!
Tom:The question arises as to why we did not release a web application, what it basically is - there are a lot of browsers, and none of them supports emojis. At all. And since we touched on this topic ... iOS supports emoji, even very good. Android ... so-so. Windows Phone ... not at all, because Windows Phone uses IE, which does not support emojis.
JavaScript does not handle emoji very well; it considers them two different characters. You tried..? If I now say "MySQL and Unicode" ..? * audience laughter * Who guesses how I made sure that the data, which, incidentally, is sent well from the front end, will not break when sent to the database and vice versa? Keep in mind that all this I did on a bunch of PHP + MySQL. Base64!
And yes, we had to register under the law on the protection of user data. Registration cost 35 pounds!
Matt: And all because of a little idea on a bench near the mall. In general, we used what we owned to finish it all as soon as possible. Honestly, we did not strive for quality.
Tom: It took a month.
Matt: Even more.
Tom: And today it is already launched, we launched it yesterday, that is, yesterday Apple allowed Emojli in the App Store. I do not want to say that Apple moderates applications poorly, but the whole process took them eleven minutes, and they did not check so much.
Matt:At ten minutes to midnight, we received the email “Processing”. Panic, nerves, adrenaline! Midnight. "Prepared in the App Store." And we sent it in a week.
Tom: And most interestingly, the first email came ten minutes before the announced launch date. I’m not saying that it lay in the heap of applications all week until someone found it, “Oh, they will start tomorrow, people, ..”, although it probably was so.
Matt: And some at this time decided that we were a startup, including newspapers.
Tom: If you said “About us wrote in Time” ten years ago, it would be really impressive. Today, Time is just BuzzFeed, which refuses to admit it. To get an interview on Time, just send them the text, because “OMG, content, this can be used!”.
Matt: I don’t understand how today two white middle-class men can have an idea and not be a startup. We just did a funny thing.
Tom: We look like guys who are waiting for gigantic investments, like two techno-bro idiots in T-shirts that launch applications, because they bring a lot of money, but ... no, we just had a stupid idea. The press does not agree with this, as well as one investor who recently contacted us by email, and, apparently, we will have to phone them one day.
Matt: To summarize. A stupid idea that we thought would end quickly, for which we do not have free time, for which no one pays us and for which we spent our own money ... It is easy to understand how much we want to continue.
Tom:Not really. But it works, and it works pretty well. A decent number of people are already using it. We sent 70,000 letters to people who reserved their usernames. Straight from here. The problem is ... If you send 70,000 letters to people who have twitter, they will write something like “My login * eggplant * * from eighteen and older *” - and this is the real login ... And we thought that on this application is impossible to hang 18+, with emoji just can not ..! According to the law on the protection of user data, it is necessary to compile a list of things that can be stored on the server and show that the list does not contain sensitive information. And as an example of this, they give sexual orientation. The same cannot be in emojis, I thought ... In general, there are emojis with two men holding hands.
Matt:But the problem is that people still do not know how to communicate using emoji.
Tom: Well, how can I say, my friend received a message like “* cup of tea *?” And answered “”, it’s considered.
Matt: The foundation is laid, but it is worth writing to someone outside the circle of acquaintances that no one understands what you meant by these small pictures that really mean nothing, and the conversation crumbles somewhat. Some tried to interview us in this way. They sent us a bunch of emojis, we didn’t understand anything, tried to guess, sent them a bunch of emojis in response, they also didn’t understand anything, but published all this.
Tom:Yes, we have not mentioned this yet: a month has passed between the announcement and the launch. During this month, two clones appeared, one of which was called Emojli. We wrote to them: “Guys, you use the same name as us, registered a domain three weeks later than us and started an emojli twitter with rubbish at the end. Didn’t you notice us? ”They answered:“ No, we’ve thought about this for a long time. ” They had 21 five-star reviews in one sentence each, and all of them suddenly disappeared, but they are still ahead of us on the AppStore and it just pisses me off! And we still receive letters about their application! "Where to unlock the login?" - "This is not the right application." “I can’t send a message to a friend,” - “Another application.”
Matt: Do not make applications.
Tom:In general, this is our main message. There is no economy, no money can be made from this. No support either.
Matt: And they also send us letters "the application does not work in iOS 6". I launched the application in iOS 6. And you know what? Does not work. So I had to tick “not for iOS 6”. I spent a month on this crap. Enough.
Tom: I do not want to seem ungrateful ... A lot of people registered, we made the application, great, ... and now it hangs with a stone on our neck.

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