Lapse is a photo app that “turns your phone into a disposable camera” like Later Cam and Dispo. The photos remain a mystery until Lapse “develops” the user’s images at a random point. Then, users can share their photos to their “Friends Feed” on the app and curate images into albums.
The #1 App right now is “Lapse” – a photo sharing Dispo-meets-Snapchat.
You will get a text message from a friend to download the app. It’s bc they require you text 5 friends to use the app. I felt dirty.
It got to the top of the App Store on a pyramid scheme. pic.twitter.com/jK2Ahtumqc
— Sheel Mohnot (@pitdesi) September 23, 2023
In the last month, Lapse has climbed to the top of the U.S. App Store charts — reportedly rising from number 118 to the number one spot.
According to a report by TechCrunch on Tuesday, some critics are suggesting that Lapse’s surge in popularity has been achieved by requiring their users to invite others to use the disposable camera app.
A Disposable Camera App That Requires Users to Invite Friends
Growth-hacking techniques are common now — with some apps limiting access and invites to boost the sense of exclusivity around the platform.
But TechCrunch reports that Lapse is doing something different with its invites. Instead of just gating its app to only those with an invite, Lapse actually requires users to invite friends in order to start using its disposable camera platform.
The counterpoint to my example:
What about the #1 photo app right now Lapse, the shared disposable camera.
They have this annoying invite 5 friends in order to get access.
That isn't really adding value. Pretty annoying to spam my friends.
Well, true but it's about adding… pic.twitter.com/meGf87UZ6p
— GREG ISENBERG (@gregisenberg) September 24, 2023
According to the publication, Lapse verifies users with a phone number, asks for permission to their contacts as well as their camera, and then forces them to add at least five friends before they can even use Lapse.
A pop-up in the Lapse app explains that a user has to send out invites as Lapse only works with friends and that their invites will give their friends early access to the disposable camera platform.
Some social media users dubbed the disposable camera app’s strategy as a “pyramid scheme.” However, Lapse co-founder Dan Silverton claims that 100% of the app’s recent growth is organic.
“Our onboarding process is divisive, there are a few detractors but also many fans,” Lapse co-founder tells TechCrunch.
“We are top of the charts because Lapse is resonating with young people, who are sharing millions of photos per day in our app. They are exhausted by existing photo-sharing apps and Lapse is a way for them to live in the moment and share memories pressure-free.”
Image credits: Header photo via Lapse.