Kik Messenger isn’t going away after all.
A month after Kik Messenger’s creator announced it would be closing down the app to focus on other business interests, L.A.-based MediaLab has stepped in to keep it up and running.
“Whether it be a passion for an obscure manga or your favorite football team, Kik has shown an incredible ability to provide a platform for new friendships to be forged through your mobile phone,” MediaLab, which also owns anonymous-messaging app Whisper, wrote in a post explaining why it had bought Kik Messenger. “As a group of non conformists ourselves, we resonate with the Kik ethos and felt this was a community we wanted to help continue.”
Going forward, MediaLab said it plans to work on improving the usability of the messaging app. Initial efforts will include making Kik Messenger “faster, more reliable, and less buggy,” while also ensuring that it’s free of spam bots and unwanted messages.
MediaLab said that the new round of development work has led to it pulling several features that it felt weren’t optimized, including the video chat toggle and third-party bots platform, though RageBot will remain.
The new owner also insisted it’s in listening mode and urged its community of users to submit ideas directly to the company.
A big change coming in the coming weeks will be the introduction of ads to pay for Kik Messenger’s upkeep and development, though MediaLab promised they’ll be “non-intrusive.”
Back from the dead
Kik CEO and founder Ted Livingston announced last month that the messaging app would be closing down so that his team could focus its resources on defending its Kin cryptocurrency in a court battle with regulators. Notably, MediaLab said it believes in Kin’s long-term potential and intends to expand its integration with Kik Messenger.
Kik Messenger reportedly had a user base of around 15 million monthly active users, but it’s not clear how many of these switched to other messaging apps after learning that it was apparently about to close.
It’s also unclear how many, if any, of Kik Messenger’s 100 team members will keep their jobs now that the app has a new owner.
We’ve reached out to MediaLab for more information and will update this article if we hear back.