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Lyrak will combine the best of Twitter with fediverse integration to challenge X

thread. Mastodon. blue sky. Substack comments. postal. Noster. Can be sprayed. In the months since Elon Musk acquired the text-based social network formerly known as Twitter, there has been no shortage of X competitors. Now you can add one more startup to the lineup: Lyrak, a new competitor to X that aims to differentiate by focusing on real-time news and monetization options for creators, just like X, but with Fediverse integration, similar to Instagram’s Threads.

fediverse refers to an open source social network of interconnected servers powered by the social networking protocol ActivityPub. Mastodon is the best known of the syndicated social apps, but even Meta has recognized the shift in the web’s direction and built its latest social network, Threads, with an eye on ActivityPub integration.

Lyrak’s plan is to take the best features Twitter has to offer and combine them with ActivityiyPub integration to allow users to interact with a wider audience on other syndicated social networks like Mastodon.

The integration isn’t live yet, but the team says they’ll start working on it within a few months. Once online, Lyrak users will be able to see posts from Mastodon users and vice versa.

Founded by London-based web designer and marketer Rishi Siva, Lyrak is named after the main character Lyra from the TV show His Dark Materials. Siva said that Lyra discovered new worlds, and since Lyrak was also trying to build something better, this seemed like a good source of inspiration.

The founders came up with the idea after spending time helping small businesses build websites so they could make money online and attract customers. Siva also created a pushpin-like app at one point, but the COVID-19 pandemic impacted its ability to grow as many local merchants were unable to work at the time.

Still, he expressed a desire to help users better monetize their online content and skills.

“This goal is further supported by our lower fees and sharing 50% of ad revenue with creators,” Siva noted.

In contrast, X does not share its percentage publicly, which can vary based on post type, demographics, geographic location, and other factors.Plus, revenue comes from advertising only Show to verified users (paid subscribers).

Siva is also unhappy with the direction X is taking and its impact on creators.

“After Musk took over Twitter, I saw a major change in the way the platform behaved and the types of accounts it promoted. It’s disappointing that all the tech leaders I admire are ignoring this and still using Twitter [X],” he noted, noting issues with far-right groups and anti-Semitic content on the X platform.

However, he admitted that Twitter/X is still the best place for real-time news, which is why it remains sticky for users despite the changes. Threads, meanwhile, doesn’t prioritize real-time news outside of sports, which Siva calls “basically a text version of Instagram.”

He believes Mastodon and Bluesky will ultimately be too complex for the average user, but Lyrak could benefit from their networks through federated diversity integration. (Technically, Bluesky is not united with Mastodon because it uses a different protocol, but it is working to build a bridge between the two.)

Lyrak said it will initially focus on getting journalists on board with the network to help it become a real-time social app. To engage them, Lyrak will allow verified journalists to share content to users’ homepages based on their interests, and provide tools to send notifications to people who frequently click on its links. (The latter is similar to Artifact – RIP – which alerts users to new articles from journalists and writers they follow).

The startup will also try to attract people who sell digital products and launch specific tools for this demographic by the end of May. Creators will be able to offer subscriptions to their followers and collect tips.

Another upcoming feature will involve AI tools such as the answer engine and user-generated AI characters, also planned for May.

The company plans to generate revenue through advertising like X, but also through a timely 10% commission on paid posts, subscriptions, tips, digital products and other AI features.

To avoid app store fees, Lyrak’s website will allow users to deposit funds into the app to be used to pay creators. (However, funds added through in-app purchases are subject to a 30% fee paid to Apple.)

Another idea is to borrow reputation scores from sites like Reddit, which would reflect the value users bring to the community through comments, retweets, likes and inviting others to join the platform. The team promises that this will be combined with AI review efforts and human reviewers to ensure the security of the application.

“After our initial launch and several weeks of bug fixes, we plan to release new features on a regular basis,” Siva said. “The advantage of being a startup developing social apps is that we have a fresh perspective on things. We are not stuck in old ways of thinking, which allows us to innovate and create features that really benefit our users,” he added .

Lyrak was built by a team of five, most of whom were based in London. (The Fifth Man will soon be moving to London as well.) The startup is currently launching and available for download on iOS.

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