Our portfolio company Wattpad, which allows people to write and read stories on their phones, recently launched an entirely new mobile reading (and writing) experience called Tap. In Tap, the stories unfold like you are watching someone text with you. It’s an entirely new way of writing and reading stories and I haven’t seen anything take off like this in a while.

In just a couple weeks since launching, Tap has achieved all of this:

  • Over 100 million taps in the first week

  • 25,000 user-generated Tap stories created in the first weekend

  • 40 Tap by Wattpad stories already have more than 1 million taps each

  • #2 – Top Free Apps (Books Category) in the U.S. App Store (and as high as #1 in the books category and Top 40 overall)

  • #7 – Top Free Apps (Books & Reference Category)  in the U.S. Google Play Store

While Wattpad replicated the feeling of writing and reading traditional stories (like books) on a phone with its Wattpad app, the Tap storytelling is an entirely new experience and replicates how people communicate on phones. It will be interesting to see how the two separate experiences (Wattpad and Tap) perform over time and whether there is any movement by writers and readers back and forth between the two.


Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    I heard it had incredible traction, as you indicated. Curious, what will be the business/revenue model possibilities around it?

    1. fredwilson

      In app uogrades

      1. JamesHRH

        In media today, it seems as if the best principle to follow is: build the largest audience and take the least amount of revenue you can.

        1. Richard

          the outlier being books!

      2. Jess Bachman

        “It looks like you are approach the climax of the story. Buy a 10 pack of taps for .99. 100 pack for $3.99. 10,000 taps for $134.99.”

  2. awaldstein

    Signing up.Episodic storytelling at a text level has behavior and cultural changing possibilities

  3. meredithcollinz

    Definitely addictive!

  4. Vendita Auto

    Liking this, needs a better brand “taptaptap.co” & the .com

    1. falicon

      Agree – I own tapcrazy.com and would be happy to entertain reasonable offers for it 😉

      1. JimHirshfield


        1. Jess Bachman

          2 bits!

          1. JimHirshfield

            3 French hens…and a partridge in a pear tree.

        2. LE

          People can’t accept that price.You’d actually be surprised at how often emails are sent for valuable domains where people think someone will just give them the name at no cost or in many cases, nothing.Below not the best example but …First screen grab the inquiry where they used google translate:Then the reply, after they heard the asking price…. https://uploads.disquscdn.c…… https://uploads.disquscdn.c

          1. JimHirshfield

            Hahaha. Funny. I forgot, this is your area of expertise.

      2. LE

        Hah. [1] I just read the page on the site about how you were trying to live vicariously through your son and get him to do this. And now you sell it out from under him??? How old is he now by the way?[1] Added because I hate the use of those smiley things to indicate jest.

        1. falicon

          The domain he is using for the app is colortapapp.com – I just point tapcrazy.com there as well because why not? If we had found it first, we would have used it for the official name but I didn’t grab it until after he had released the app…He’s 13 now – his brother is 10 and is now *slowly* working on a new game with me…the older one is helping guide some of the design and game play decisions…

      3. Vasudev Ram

        I’ll swap it with you for this nice little seafront property in Arizona.

    2. JimHirshfield

      Really. It needs a name like BallsPod

      1. Vendita Auto

        Hmmm GonadPod would be re productive

  5. LIAD

    So bloody clever!Feels like events unfolding in real-time. Like watching 24.A live entertainment vibe.Feels active yet in reality passive.Smart hybrid.

  6. JamesHRH

    This kind of innovation is brilliant.Morphing the product experience to fit the distribution channel is dynamite.Congrats to the team – more TO.Can they take existing material and reformat to the Tap experience?

    1. Richard

      But, is this a product or a feature? feels like a tweetstorm.

    2. cavepainting

      existing material is unlikely to fit the Tap experience. Tap and HOOKED are based on suspenseful, sensational stories where every turn and twist is a new text bringing something new.

  7. JimHirshfield

    Like drip marketing without the marketing.

  8. Joe Lazarus

    This is a popular and surprisingly lucrative category. Hooked has been a top 100 app for a while, both in terms of downloads and grossing charts.

  9. Jess Bachman

    It will be interesting to see how writers change what or how they write to fit the tap format.

  10. Dan Ramsden

    Very interesting… not so much the text message format, but that the stories are all dialogue. William Gaddis wrote a book in the ’70s called JR, which was about 700 pages long and almost entirely dialogue… and even worse, very rarely was the speaker even identified. It was sort of a montage of voices, but it could be figured out. Won the National Book Award and was about a 12-year old financial market wiz, a VC in some ways, who amassed an enormous fortune. I guess one might think of him as a millennial. Way ahead of its time, in so many ways.

  11. Girish Mehta

    I don’t know. I suspect this will become very popular. But I fear the quality of writing adapts to fit this format. This is different from episodic storytelling (e.g. Charles Dickens) which did not constrain the quality of writing.I guess I feel our time on earth is too limited to not read the good stuff 🙂 -“..He smiled understandingly – much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistable prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

    1. Richard

      Perfect for Dr Suess

    2. jason wright

      Long form it isn’t. Chomsky has written about brevity and time constraint as the killers of understanding.I’m thankful Shakespeare was around when it was just quill and paper. What we would have missed.Very few people write well.

    3. Dave Branson Smith

      If you read (or listen to) Dataclysm the book by the founder of OkCupid, Christian Rudder, he cited an interesting paper that found that word quality (measured by reading level of vocabulary I believe) does not fall with constraints on length — Twitter-length fiction is at the same level as long form books.

    4. cavepainting

      I have used both Tap and its competitor Hooked.While the habit is addictive, the stories are mostly crap.It is the equivalent of buying gossip magazines vs. good novels.I hope the content on these platforms improves substantially but I hold out no hope. Sensation and suspense sell better than good stories and great writing.Come on guys, this is what we have come down to? There need to be better ways to get our kids to read good stuff.Tap is the opposite of WattPad in every possible way in terms of brand and positioning. (That may be a good thing for them, for they cover very different types of readers and writers)

  12. LE

    In Tap, the stories unfold like you are watching someone text with you.Would be a future idea to have stories that unfold with video, with different people collaborating and adding to the story line with short clips.

  13. Leon Grin

    Were these metrics driven by product quality or marketing? I always suspect when I see metrics like these, especially after launch. Metrics need to have merit.

    1. Vasudev Ram

      > Metrics need to have merit.Right, otherwise they are MEtrics – Marketing Employee tricks :)Not saying anything about the current company, just in general.

  14. Innovative?

    This is a shameless clone of an app called HOOKED, which has been topping the charts for months. I’m happy for you they are doing well, but this is as close to a copy as things get. Let’s not call something innovation just because it’s working.

    1. cavepainting

      Exactly. It is a replica of HOOKED which has been around for a while. I dislike both but let us not confuse this with original innovation.

    2. jason wright

      Wattbad.Boycott creative theft.

  15. Dave Branson Smith

    Can this really be called an entirely new mobile reading experience when it looks to be almost identical to that provided by Hooked.co, released over a year ago?