Over 21,000 cat videos and pictures have been shared on Catmoji so far, the social network for catlovers announced today as it completes its first month.
Catmoji only launched on Christmas Eve last year, but we already had it on our radar since it first announced its mission during Start-Up Chile’s first Demo Day: “create happiness with the Internet and cats.”
In practical terms, Catmoji lets users share and browse pictures and videos of cats, to which they can react via emoji. They can also follow each other, and automatically share their activity on Facebook – a feature that can be turned off.
Catmoji is also gamified, and users earn badges and ‘catokens’ over time – the startup doesn’t say what they can be used for yet, but promises that they will be handy in the future.
Each user has its own ‘catvatar,’ which they can choose among several pre-set options. In addition, Catmoji team says they can create custom avatars “if you or your cat are a superstar cat.”
According to its co-founder, Matthew Phiong, more than 7,000 users have already joined the platform, which is still invite-only. While there is already a waiting list, 100 TNW readers will get a chance to jump the line by using this special registration link.
While Catmoji participated in Start-Up Chile’s acceleration program in Santiago last year, they are now back in their home country, Malaysia, where boostrapping is much more affordable, Phiong says. A UI and backend programmer, he teamed up with illustrator and designer Koekoe Loo to create the platform.
As a result, Catmoji’s design is definitely one of its most attractive aspects. It’s not only about cute Asian-style drawings and emoji: we are talking about a coherent style, which is also fully consistent with its light-hearted voice.
Sharing pictures and videos is easy, thanks to Catmoji’s use of Embedly. It also encourages users to give credit to the original source of each image and picture. If you’re wondering how Catmoji makes sure that users only share cat stuff, the site warns that non-related content will be removed without notice while the user might be banned.
According to Phiong, one of the reasons why Catmoji paid so much attention to its UI is that it has competitors, such I Can Has Cheezburger and Reddit’s Cats subreddit. More generally, the team is fully aware that the Internet is made of cats – but Phiong believes that emoji will add a new twist to this global addiction:
“When you share a cat video or picture, you need to tag them with one of our emoji to explain how you feel about the content you are sharing. That’s because we want users to express their feelings, which is not usually something they do when they share content.”
Commenters can then like the pictures as they would do on other networks, but also choose their own emoji-based reaction. This approach could be particularly popular in Japan, where Catmoji plans to launch a translated version later on, in addition to its current site, which is entirely in English to target global audiences.
Another important milestone for the company will be the upcoming launch of its mobile apps to further fuel its growth, although Phiong points out that Catmoji’s design is already responsive. The startup then plans to start monetization through advertising and affiliate links to cat-related products once it gains sufficient traction – a goal it seems right on track to achieve.
Image credit: Pond5