Secret’s new game plan is to just copy its competitor Yik Yak

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Secret’s “dramatic” app update has arrived. The Verge has published an in-depth look at the confessional app’s attempt to relaunch itself after user downloads and app engagement plummeted. Secret now looks and operates a whole lot more like its rising competitor Yik Yak. Images no longer dominate the feed. Instead, it’s primarily text-based, with the pictures appearing as thumbnails. It has turned away from the media emphasis of its nemesis Whisper and has abolished the website that curated the popular Secrets.

When Secret launched in February, it quickly became the most talked-about new social network in Silicon Valley. Like other ‘”anonymish” social networks, it offers a compelling mix of sex, drugs, and intrigue. But Secret goes a step further by connecting to your phone’s address book, then showing you your friends’ posts without revealing which friend said them. Several news stories broke first on Secret, fueling buzz that led the app to be downloaded more than 15 million times in 10 months. It hit No. 1 in the App Store in seven different countries. But in recent months, Secret has lost some of its initial power. The number of posts from friends in my feed slowed to a trickle, and Secret is no longer among the top 1,500 apps, according to App Annie. But as activity in the app slowed, Secret co-founders David Byttow and Chrys Bader were working on the second version of the service — and it might be the thing that brings Secret back to life.

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