Business wars and technical defects mushroomed as the budding social media tool became immensely popular by introducing the Metaverse
Metaverse social app Jelly (Chinese: 啫喱) has pulled itself from the app store since it experienced constant latencies and crashes after going online for three weeks.
As the program upgrades itself, it will stop receiving user requests for setting up new accounts. Instead, its focus now is on optimizing user experience, Jelly said in a letter to its users.
"Jelly suffered a steady stream of organized attacks, where malicious rumors and comments were spread on multiple platforms. Determined to defend our reputation, we have taken legal action," it also said.
The new service enables users to socialize with customized avatars and add 50 close friends. Unlike WeChat, it doesn't group or block users. Users can post photos and express their emotions by changing the dressing styles of virtual characters in the app. Location-based service also allow the app to share users' real-time locations.
On February 11, half a month after it went live on January 19, Jelly topped the download list on App Store China, the first social app ever to surpass WeChat since 2019. It continued to rank first as of February 13.
Qimai.cn, an online data provider, estimated that Jelly's downloads on the iOS platform were 1.85 million as of February 12. Its total downloads from the previous three days reached 1.22 million, while the figure for WeChat was 1.0133 million.
Subsequently, word came out that Jelly posed a risk to user privacy as it might leak their WeChat and QQ accounts. QQ is also an instant messaging software.
Beijing Yidian Shuyu Technology, the app's operator, refuted these claims, saying the online vitriol was an organized act of defamation from competitors. The company didn't name them but had reported the incident to the police.
Although Metaverse-related applications are far from reaching maturity, business wars have loomed.
Jelly upgraded its app five times in the month after entering the app store. A source from the company said with almost a million daily active users, the company's server was overloaded.
But the app failed to solve technical problems and admitted in a letter that the overloading was such that even codes could be seen in user interface. Users faced delays, crashes, inability to open the app, among other glitches.
Besides the substandard user experience, many netizens pointed to security loopholes and possible rights infringement in Jelly's avatar fashion items.
The domination of WeChat in acquaintance social tools had all but barred the entry of newcomers, until Jelly appeared.
"Compared with other social networking products, Jelly has a clear target audience in mind, offering lighter social connections with virtual images, which is different from WeChat," said Zhang Yi, CEO at iiMedia Research, a business intelligence firm.
Zhang added Jelly had achieved "amazing" results on the iOS platform, but the performance on Android was not so convincing.
Before Jelly, other virtual social apps including dating tool Soul and chatting service Zepeto had tested the waters with the Metaverse, although most of them were primarily anonymous social apps. Acquaintance socializing plus 3D virtual avatars aren't common in China yet.