Out of nowhere, mobile-only social network Path recently hit 10 million users and is growing by 1 million users a week.
People speculated that Path was leaching traffic from Facebook. At the same time, Path has seen a lot of growth from Spanish-speaking populations in Central and South America, Matt Lynley of The Wall Street Journal reported last week.
But it now seems that Path’s sign-up process may be driving its growth.
When you first sign up for the app, Path encourages you to invite all of your contacts and friends from Facebook. You don’t have to invite all of your friends, but if you’re quickly trying to get through the sign-up process, it’s very easy to accidentally spam all of your friends with invitations to Path.
Digital marketer Stephen Kenwright accused Path yesterday of spamming all of his friends with text messages and phone calls, inviting them to sign up for the app, even after Kenwright had deleted the app from his phone.
But Path maintains that it meant to send those messages while Kenwright was still a Path member. Regarding the robocalls, Kenwright says Path didn’t realise that landlines in the U.K. read out text messages that are sent to them.
“Users are giving us permission to send invitations to friends and family,” Path VP of Marketing Nate Johnson told CNET. “Path is best with friends. We want to help users connect with close friends and family as quickly as possible.”
But that doesn’t mean your friends want to receive those invitations.
Several other mobile applications have similar on-boarding techniques.
Path apologized for it, but that wasn’t enough. In February 2012, Path agreed to pay $800,000 to the Federal Trade Commission in a settlement over its sketchy privacy practices.
Path was founded by former Apple and Facebook employee Dave Morin. Last year, Path raised a round of financing valuing the company at $250 million.
Today, Path is number five in the Apple App Store in the free category.