While other online video platforms cater to Gen Z and other young generations, a three-year-old app is adopting an adults-only mentality. Clapper, established in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, is a short-form video hub that appeals to middle-aged users.
Clapper is led by Edison Chen, who has raised $4 million of venture capital to support his fledgling app. Clapper’s App Store listing indicates that it’s only available for users above the age of 17, and Chen’s target audience is much older than that. He told the Dallas Morning News that the average Clapper user is between the ages of 35 and 55.
“I feel like a majority of the social media in the United States are targeting younger generations, and this group, Gen X and Gen Y, are still using Facebook,” Chen said. “So I’m thinking there’s a potential out there I can build out a short video content platform for those groups of people.”
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On the whole, Clapper’s design is similar to TikTok. Vertical videos are displayed on an endless feed that shifts depending on each user’s interests.
There are, however, a few key differences between Clapper and the leading short-form video app. There are no ads, so creators are encouraged to make money by selling subscriptions and soliciting tips. Clapper recommends videos through a “fair-use algorithm” that is designed to favor the quality of videos over the frequency of a creator’s uploads. And while Chen’s app may be appropriate for adults, “adult content” is prohibited on it.
“We want to create a space for the older generations to feel more comfortable,” Chen told D Magazine. “The parents of TikTok users can express themselves.”
There’s one other way in which Clapper sets itself apart from TikTok: It is headquartered in the U.S. and is not under regulatory scrutiny in Washington, D.C. As Congress weighs the possibility of a TikTok ban, Clapper is welcoming thousands of new users. Chen told D Magazine that Clapper reached 100,000 daily active users in 2022. A year later, that sum is up to 300,000 DAUs, Chen said.
Chen’s 20-person workforce is expected to move into a new office later this year. Expansion is in the cards, but Chen won’t be concerned if his employees are ignorant about the latest TikTok trends. He put it succinctly in his chat with the Dallas Morning News: “I am not hiring the cool kids.”