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Buzzy social app Fizz sues rival Sidechat over unfair competition practices

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Fizz, the buzzy nameless social app that’s now getting used throughout greater than 80 school campuses, has filed swimsuit in opposition to rival Sidechat, alleging unfair competitors and a spread of abuses, together with makes an attempt at disrupting Fizz’s launches, spreading rumors about Fizz having hackers, trademark infringements, sending false spam reviews to Instagram and utilizing false pretenses to amass data on Fizz’s launch methods, amongst different issues, together with paying college students to delete Fizz’s app.

The case was filed within the Southern District of Court docket in opposition to Sidechat proprietor, Flower Ave. on October 6, 2023. The criticism calls for a jury trial, damages and an injunction in opposition to Flower Ave.’s interference and its use of Fizz’s trademark.

Sidechat has been relatively press-shy to date; nonetheless, TechCrunch beforehand confirmed involvement from ex-Snap engineer Sebastian Gil and ex-Snap product designer Chamal Samaranayake — each of whom are listed in an SEC filing for Flower Ave. This March, the corporate acquired one other nameless social app, Yik Yak, which had been working underneath new possession as of 2021 as the unique app had shut down by the use of an acqui-hire by Sq. (now Block) in 2017.

However with Fizz’s rising traction throughout Sidechat’s similar school campus market, it appears the latter has upped its aggressive techniques, if the allegations in Fizz’s submitting maintain true.

As an illustration, Fizz says that when it launched at Colgate College in January 2023, Flower Ave. launched the identical day by organising a competing station close to the eating corridor. There, a Flower Ave. ambassador chanted, “Fizz has hackers” and unfold rumors that Fizz would hack scholar accounts and compromise their information — claims Fizz denies. (Fizz did have a safety vulnerability final 12 months that it mounted inside 24 hours, TechCrunch beforehand reported.)

Fizz additionally stated that Flower Ave. has used false pretenses to amass details about Fizz’s launch methods, that are non-public. In a single instance, Flower Ave. co-founder Sheldon Chang impersonated a scholar at Northwestern College in an effort to be taught the place Fizz was launching. He did so by infiltrating the GroupMe chat for that group, the place he then despatched messages to Fizz COO and co-founder Teddy Solomon utilizing a pretend identify (“Mark Lee”), soliciting details about the place Fizz deliberate to launch subsequent.

The courtroom submitting consists of screenshots of those communications which reveal that when Solomon replied, the header of their dialog was up to date to “Sheldon (SideChat),” because it appeared Chang had unintentionally reverted to his actual identify.

Fizz additionally alleges that Flower Ave.’s advertising and marketing campaigns infringe on its trademark — a stylized bee — and embody spreading misinformation. As well as, it says that Sidechat’s proprietor has engaged in campaigns to get Fizz delisted from Instagram by utilizing its personal ambassadors to report Fizz’s account as spam. This labored on a minimum of one event, as Fizz was blocked on Instagram on its launch day at UC Berkley.

Fizz says it realized of Flower Ave.’s plans to derail its launches when a member of Sidechat’s ambassador group chats forwarded the messages to Fizz.

Plus, Fizz says Flower Ave. paid college students $5 every to delete Fizz’s app from their telephones, referencing a Yale News story.

Earlier than submitting swimsuit, Fizz tried to boost its concern with Flower Ave., together with by sending a number of cease-and-desist letters to its exterior counsel, however as of the date of submitting, it had not acquired a “substantive response,” it says.

Fizz‘s counsel has communicated with Sidechat’s counsel about this criticism. Fizz‘s counsel additionally despatched Sidechat’s counsel a number of stop and desist orders over the previous 12 months,” an organization spokesperson confirmed with TechCrunch.

Based by Stanford dropouts Teddy Solomon and Ashton Cofer, and led by CEO Rakesh Mathur, Fizz just lately closed on an extra $25 million in Sequence B funding from early traders Owl Ventures and NEA, and stated it plans to succeed in 250 colleges by year-end.

In the meantime, Sidechat’s makes an attempt to take over YikYak haven’t gone properly, with many customers protesting the modifications to the social community, after its acquisition.

Flower Ave. has not responded to requests for remark.

The total criticism could be learn right here:

Fizz v. Flower – Complaint by TechCrunch on Scribd

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