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Triller admits to inflating numbers for public users



In another statement Billboard, Triller CEO Mike Lu says there is no legal definition of monthly active users, and Triller will no longer share monthly active users (MAU) or daily active users (DAU), as they do not accurately represent the company’s value.

“There is no legal definition of MAU / DAU,” says Lu. “For example, if someone tries to compare TikTok’s MAU / DAU with ours – which means that they say we have the same definition of MAU / DAU – there is an inherent misunderstanding about Triller’s business and business model. It’s like trying to compare a fish and a bicycle. ”

Triller, which was acquired by Proxima Media in October 201

9, stepped up on the heels of the December 2019 press release and announced that it had as many users as TikTok – which had 26.5 million monthly active users in 2019, according to a report from Reuters – position itself as the main competitor to the Chinese-owned short-form video service, which now has over 100 million monthly active users in the US as of August 2020, and 689 million monthly active users globally as of July 2020, according to the number included in TikTok’s lawsuit against the US government laid last year.

Triller’s claims have helped boost the pitch for potential investors, but the various figures it has reported to rights holders highlight the gap between it and the larger rival. (In September last year, a few weeks after TikTok’s user numbers became public, Triller said The Verge that it had 100 million active users each month and more than 27 million daily users.) Lu says that the company is focused on increasing content outside the network, which devalues ​​the use of metrics as monthly and daily active users.

“We are an open ecosystem, not a fenced-in garden app like TikTok or other social networks,” Lu continues. Triller’s value is to make money on users, not MAU or DAU. In the past, the press has had a hard time understanding this. Therefore, last year we chose to stop sharing MAU or DAU data and do not intend to do so in the future. It has no relevance to our value or our revenue generation. Unique to Triller, our model encourages users to interact with our content ‘outside the network’, which by definition says that we push away MAU and DAU, says Lu. “We value Triller for its ability to monetize our users, and we believe we are doing better than some of our competitors. We are proud that we are the only app that has ever reached number 1 in the app store in over 50 countries at the same time. ”

As Triller prepares to become a public company, Triller has hired heavyweights for the music industry, including former Warner Chappell CFO Paul Kahn in January to the same position, after renting Tuhin Roy – former Universal Music Group’s senior VP new digital business and innovation – as Triller’s president of business operations and Proxima Media operations manager in November last year.

If Triller becomes a public company, it must report its finances, including key performance calculations that traditionally include monthly active social network users, to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In 2018, the SEC charged online marketing company Endurance International Group Holdings Inc $ 8 million for inflating subscriber numbers, and two of the company’s former executives paid over $ 1.5 million in “disgust, interest and penalties” to settle similar charges without pleading guilty.

While TikTok has maintained its growth despite heavy scrutiny by the Trump administration, Triller has been repeatedly accused of increasing the number of users over the past year, denying all allegations.

Six former employees told Business Insider that the 13 million monthly active users Triller claimed to have in October 2019 when Proxima Media acquired the company were inaccurate and fluctuated between 1 million and 2.5 million monthly active users, which Lu called “inaccurate information.”

In August last year, Triller threatened to sue the intelligence company Apptopia for telling TechCrunch that Triller had been downloaded 52 million times, a few weeks after Triller released a press release stating that it had topped 250 million global downloads across Android and iOS. Apptopia withdrew from its allegations after the lawsuit threat, but rival intelligence firm Sensor Tower told the publication that Triller had been downloaded 45.6 million times by that time, thanks to Apptopia’s original report. “No app intelligence company has received our data,” Lu told TechCrunch at the time. “All numbers they provide have no relevance or accuracy to our numbers.”

The video service is currently in a battle with Universal Music Group, after the music company withdrew its catalog from the platform, saying that Triller withheld payments and refused to negotiate a new license agreement. In response, a spokesman for Triller claimed that it did not withhold payments, and that the company “does not need an agreement with UMG to continue operating as it has been since the artists in question are already shareholders or partners in Triller, and thus can authorize use direct. ”


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