With over 150 users signed up in the first ten days of its enactment, INK could be Auburn’s newest sensation this Spring.
Creator of the app, Porter Kennedy, junior in finance, launched his new app, INK – Connect Friends, Sunday, Jan. 7.
The app gives users a way to see what others actually think of them, whether anonymously or not.
“Our tagline is, ‘See what people think of you,’” Kennedy said. “It’s a natural human desire, everyone wants to know what people actually think of them. Now you can.”
INK users sign in via Facebook and begin “buzzing” at each other. Users leave “buzzes” or comments on others’ profiles along with up to three descriptive tags including funny, pretty, extra, sassy or smart.
Other users can see the “buzz” on others and proceed to like, dislike and comment on it.
Kennedy said he plans on launching a new feature for the app within the next month, which he believes will be key in getting students to download and bring the app to the next level.
“It’s essentially Yik Yak,” Kennedy said. “It’s all anonymous and whatever you type will be uploaded to the chat room, which can be seen and replied to by everyone in your area.”
Kennedy said due to the success of Yik Yak was great at its hype, he believes his new feature will make Auburn students excited.
With the possibility of anonymity turning violent or mean, Kennedy said he created contingencies.
“All anonymous buzzes have to be approved by the profile’s user, you can’t post something rude and get away with it,” Kennedy said. “The tags we have are for the most part positive. I think the app can definitely build self-esteem for individuals and bring about some connectedness on campus, which makes it different from other apps already out there.”
The idea for INK came to Kennedy last February while he sat in his theater class.
“I saw someone I was acquainted with, I knew who they were, they knew who I was, but I didn’t actually know them,” Kennedy said. “I wondered what they thought of me because I had no clue, that’s how I got the idea.”
Within the first week of its launch, Kennedy said he couldn’t feel better about its success and future, especially after a failed attempt at inventing an app his freshman year.
“I had this old idea for an investment app,” Kennedy said. “I took my idea to this venture capitalist in town and pitched it to him. He said on a scale of 1-10, my pitch was a zero.”
Kennedy said that reality was a big blow and decided there were things in need of fixing with his original idea.
“I don’t know about zero, but I tried to come up with this new idea,” Kennedy said. “Now here we are.”
The process of getting the app approved and running took longer than expected, according to Kennedy, who said he meant to launch the app back in August.
Kennedy said he had to send the app to Apple seven times to get approval. Through persistence, Kennedy got the approval he needed to launch his app now.
“It’s the perfect timing honestly,” Kennedy said. “Right as the semester is starting, it’s all about new. My goal is to get it at Auburn first, then once everything is perfect and we roll out the Yik Yak feature, we’ll bring it to a more national level and try to get everyone on it.”
As of now, students can download the app for free. In the future, Kennedy hopes to monetize the app, either with unobtrusive ads or ultimately selling the app to Facebook.
“But it’ll be awhile,” Kennedy said. “We still have to get a ton of people on it and fix some bugs.”
Regarding bugs, Kennedy said he and his team work hard to implement needed changes he’s noticed as well as issues brought to him by users.
Kennedy said he wants to utilize feedback from users as much as possible.
“It’s all about taking care of the user,” Kennedy said.
A steady workload and the upcoming SGA presidential election keeps Kennedy focused on accomplishing his goals regarding the implementation of INK on Auburn’s campus. Kennedy said despite how busy the app keeps him, he loves it.
“I love the entrepreneurship process; it’s something I think I want to continue in the future,” Kennedy said. “I’ve always wanted to invent an app too. From the investment attempt to an earlier music app, this is something I’ve always considered.”
With a growing user base and awareness on campus, Kennedy said he feels excited about the future of the app.
He hopes with word of mouth and social media platforms, students will begin using the app and see how fun it is.
“I can’t believe it honestly,” Kennedy said. “It was such a long shot, but I’m excited. I think it’ll work well here.”