Scruff, one of the most popular gay hookup apps, announced today that it will buy competing app, Jack’d, for an undisclosed amount. Combined, the two apps will have approximately 20 million users.
Scruff’s parent company, Perry Street Software, is promising major updates to Jack’d and says both apps will continue to operate separately. Approximately 50 percent of Jack’d users are in Asia, giving the company a foothold in that market.
The company is also promising some major updates for Jack’d, which has been plagued with security flaws, poor design, and a lack of features.
“For years, we have admired the diverse and global community on Jack’d. Since its launch in 2010, Jack’d has grown to more than 5 million members worldwide,” said Eric Silverberg, CEO of Perry Street Software. “This acquisition will provide Jack’d members with the same combination of technology and active moderation we have developed at SCRUFF, so that the Jack’d community members will be protected against harassment, spam bots, scammers, and risks while traveling.”
Jack’d has faced mounting bad publicity after a security flaw was let people download private and public pictures from Jack’d without downloading the app. Researcher Oliver Hough says he told the company about it several months ago, but never got a response.
The bug has still not been fixed, according to British tech website The Register, which confirmed that private pictures could still be downloaded without permission. While the pictures are not associated with any specific account, someone could use details associated with the pictures – like user location – to figure out who they belong to.
“We recognize that the growth Jack’d experienced in building its app created some technical and logistical growing pains, and we are eager through this acquisition to provide Jack’d members with a much improved software experience,” Silverberg said. “Perry Street will invest significant resources to upgrade the technology and reliability of the Jack’d app.”
The company says Jack’d members can expect to see the removal of all programmatic advertising, enhanced controls over privacy and security, and new features such as improved messaging, and the ability to include video as part of member private albums or in chat.
The acquisition makes Perry Street Software the largest fully LGBTQ owned-and-operated software company. Their main competitor in the market, Grindr, is owned by a Chinese company currently, but the purchase was blocked by the US government as a security concern. Grindr’s owner is being forced to sell the app to a different owner.
“We are a part of the community that we serve, and thus it is critical to us that we are always able to stand behind our decisions and business practices. It’s why we removed programmatic advertising from SCRUFF in 2018, why we don’t sell member data to shady data brokers, and why we support GDPR and current privacy-focused legislative efforts being considered now in Congress” Silverberg said.