The Rise and Fall of 2GO

The Rise and Fall of 2GO

By Iselowo Kolawole Kehinde

2go is a free mobile social networking application developed by 2go Interactive Ltd in Cape Town, South Africa. 2go supports over 1,500 different devices, including feature phones, in addition to Android, BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10 smartphones. The solution has the following features:

  1. 2go also had a gateway that enables users chat with friends on GTalk, Mxit, and Facebook, two unique features that was one of their main selling features.
  2. Flexibility in Chat Rooms: 2go has the ability to send friend request and also kick users out chat rooms (Which I took pride in engaging at).

There used to be a time when 2go was very popular, even ahead of Facebook in Nigeria. But that is now history. How then did 2go crash? The crash of 2go could be affiliated to that of BBM. BBM- short form for BlackBerry Messenger – which could be attributed to one thing: “Lack of Innovation and Inability to Adapt to Changes”.

  • Lack of Innovation and Inability to Adapt to Changes: According to a great biologist “Survival is neither of the fittest nor strongest, but for those who are able to adapt to changes in their ecosystem”. When 2go launched, it was the talk of town in no time as no one was used to a mobile chat platform except the Yahoo Messenger for Desktop. People enjoyed it back then; you wouldn’t be wrong to say it was the perfect replica and replacement in mobile form to Yahoo Messenger. One unique selling point feature 2go had similar to that of the Yahoo messenger was the ‘joint room feature’. However they took this on a whole different scale with the explicit features allowed in the chat rooms. The star rating was however one more unique feature, as I remember people actually going overnight without logging off just to increase their star ratings.
  • 2go failed to uniquely adapt these two features – Data Usage And Push Notification – as it took them 3 years after the launch of Whatsapp to employ the Push Notification feature which utilized very little amount of data after Whatsapp had already taken a bolt lead in the race of innovation. Push Notification was one of the main selling points of Whatsapp.
  • Data Usage: if we all could recall back then, 2go consumed a lot of data with telcos operators even creating special data plans for it with you having access to as low as 5mb. Not solving this problem became a major spoiler for them. Then the advent of Push Notification by Whatsapp and the ability to work with it using Very Little Amount of Data which 2go never put into consideration or felt wasn’t important.
  • Monetizing Policies: major feature that could have killed Whatsapp was the monetary yearly subscription of just $1 which they quickly took off because they had very smart minds working with them. This was a feature 2go never considered working on by not removing the buying of credit (Go Credits) to enter certain rooms and chat, knowing fully-well that we Africans love freebies. The amounts dropped active participation in chat rooms.
  • Recovery and Retention Policies: This one feature was what made me to lose my love for 2go due to the inability to update the phone number used in registering, so you had limited access to some features, and had people creating new accounts instead of just logging into their new accounts. They should have considered lost of line or damage to line.
  • Compatibility: Another main hurdle 2go failed to cross was the problem of cross multiple platforms functionality, as their application was supported mainly by Symbian Phones and a select few Java Phones. This was a feature WhatsApp put into consideration early enough.

It is simple; to survive you must put two things in mind:

  • Ability to adapt to behavioral changes and patterns brought about by your competitors in your ecosystem.
  • Average artist creates, great artist steals and improves on the stolen work.

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