The last days of 2015 saw Instagram flooded with photo collages of users’ nine most popular posts. #2015best nine spread across the internet and became an overnight sensation. It turns out that that there was an ulterior motive behind the app: users had secretly signed up for a new matchmaking service.
The trojan horse style deployment was the brainchild of Yusuke Matsumura and Mai Sekiguchi, the co-founders of Lip, a Japanese app company. Matsumura came up with the idea for a matchmaking service while attending a startup programme in San Francisco, although he didn’t quite have the idea for the stealth launch yet.
Nine, as the new service is called, wants to do more than other dating apps that only offer a single picture for people look at. The idea is that the collage provides a better idea of who the person is; and Instagram as a shortcut to building that personality profile. Of course, the collage that people unwittingly created last year is also the standard profile for all who signed up for the service (whether they realised it or not).
To be fair, Nine didn’t entirely mislead people. The original signup email included a reference to a future matchmaking service. Naturally, it looks like nobody read the details while rushing to share their best Instagram pictures from 2015.
Not everyone was taken off guard by the Trojan horse. While several million #2015bestnine pictures were shared, only 130,000 people actually ended up signing up with Nine. Of course, 76-percent of these people happen to be women; which is likely to be used as a good reason for guys to sign up with the service. On the other hand, we’re just impressed at how the founders managed to pull this off.