Mark Cuban continues to expand his already impressive portfolio by entering the social media market with a new iOS messaging app, Cyber Dust. The billionaire has invested heavily in the development and promotion of Cyber Dust, describing the app as a combination of Snapchat and WhatsApp.
However, unlike Snapchat, Cyber Dust focuses on providing users a secure mobile messaging experience. Although Cyber Dust does have the option to send photos, the app is mainly viewed as a platform by which to send text messages. Cyber Dust is similar to Snapchat in that, after a short time period, the message content is completely erased. Furthermore, Cyber Dust claims that the messages are not stored, not even on intermediary servers. Thus the appeal: there is zero chance of retrieving the message once it has expired. The company has also mimicked Snapchat’s screenshot feature, alerting users if the receiver decides to photograph their message.
Cuban developed Cyber Dust after the SEC allegedly misinterpreted a text message he sent them. Cuban notes that the app’s purpose is to create distance between the user and the multiple entities that retain your messages, stating that “the phone companies and your text recipients own your texts and even the most innocent text can take on a whole new context. I wanted to have a means of communication that is analogous to face to face [conversations]”.
Although Cuban claimed that the app was the first self-destructing messaging app on the market, another company, Invisible Text LLC, filed a cease and desist order against Cuban, stating that Invisible Text was the first of its kind and that Cyber Dust was stealing its intellectual property.
With the inevitable inclusion of video in the near future, Cyber Dust will most likely compete against both Snapchat and Vine in this rapidly expanding market. The only differences are that Cuban has money, lots of it, Vine is owned by Twitter, and Snapchat has yet to generate a profit.