Tiktok has a new competitor, Zynn, which pays users to sign up, watch videos, and convince others to follow suit. This new app, which launched at the beginning of May, has hit the number one spot on the Apple App Store. It is also in the top 10 on Google Play Store.
Zynn is entirely a Tiktok clone, as its core interface is identical. Both are oriented around watching short portrait-orientation videos. The countdown timer with a dollar sign in the middle hovering over every video on Zynn is a big distinction.
The timer fills up and gives you points as you watch videos. You are supposed to be able to redeem the points later as cash or gift cards.
A few individuals have posted YouTube videos that showed payment receipts.
Where the App Came From
The app is the extension of a rivalry over video apps in China. Its creator, Kuaishou, is a well-funded startup that runs one of the biggest video apps in the country.
Zynn is second only to Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. Kuaishou used the same technique as Douyin’s, paying viewers to use their platform in order to grow in China. It ultimately makes money by selling ads. So long as it brings in more money than it pays out, it makes a profit.
In the US, however, Zynn doesn’t currently appear to be running ads.
Tencent, the Chinese tech giant behind WeChat, has given a $2 billion investment to Kuaishou.
The investment was meant to help Tencent contain the threat of ByteDance in December. Kuaishou’s expansion into the United States seems to be an extension of that goal.
The App Strategy
The company has been using the same strategy to take on Bytedance and find a space for themselves in the market. With that, Zynn seems to have grown so quickly for a couple of reasons.
They are paying users to watch videos. They also have a referral scheme, by which it pays users to get others to sign up and use the service themselves.
It seems as though it went a long way toward helping it spread. A big banner in the app promises $110 if you can get five people to sign up.
Creating an Account on the App and Cashing Out Rewards
However, the detail in the fine print is that most of that money only arrives if the referrals continue to regularly use it. The app also comes pre-filled with videos because it can pull content from Kuaishou. Reports say that Zynn’s videos are “mostly” directly from Kuaishou right now.
Like TikTok, the new Zynn launches you straight into watching a video from the first time you open it. If you want to earn rewards, you’d have to sign up and hand over some personal info to Zynn.
There’s no option to create an account directly with the app. It has to be tied to some other service like Google, Facebook, Twitter, or through your phone number.
One user tried to link his Google account, but it didn’t proceed when he declined to share his contact information. He ended up signing up with a burner Google Voice number. This didn’t result in the app asking for access to his contacts, but Zynn now knows his (fake) phone number.
The app also requests for location access during the sign-up process. If you decline, however, it will still allow you to proceed.
Unfortunately, you do have to link a PayPal account to cash out your rewards.