In March 2014, an eye-popping $215-million investment from Chinese online search giant Alibaba thrust Tango.me into the headlines. At the time, Tango.me happily soaked up the attention with appearances on Fox Business and CNBC, and founders Uri Raz and Eric Setton even sat for a photo spread for the tech website re/code.
One year later, facing questions about user figures and whether they might be inflated, that openness is gone. The company refuses to comment.
It’s a monumental and remarkable shift from when Setton basked in bright studio lights and eagerly sat for network interviews; when he boasted about the new-found investment dollars– name-dropping investors like Yahoo!’s Jerry Yang—and bragged about the 200 million members on Tango.me mainly in North America, Western Europe and Middle East as Tango.me waltzed its way into news and tech headlines.
With rumors running rampant that Tango.me, which offers free voice and video calling along with fun stuff like games, is pulling a Brian Williams and inflating its user numbers, we went straight to the source to inquire about the following:
- Current user figures
- How the company calculates user figures
- How user figures play into the valuation of Tango.me
- If there are independent audits of user figure numbers
- If investors have raised questions about user numbers
In an email, Setton responded: “We don’t publicly share our internal processes.”
We also reached out to founder Uri Raz, COO Jean-Philippe Marcos, and investor/board member Alex Zubillaga. But we got even less from them: No responses at all.
If Tango.me is playing loosey-goosey with its user numbers, it would not be the first company to do so.
Just last month, investors sued the maker of ‘Candy Crush Saga,’ alleging its creator, London-based King Digital, of misleading investors in its federal documents in advance of the company’s initial public offering (IPO).
In 2013, AllThingD questioned how Google calculates its user numbers for Google+: “Since its inception, it has been tough to tell just how well Google’s social network, Google+, is doing. Every time Google+ releases a new set of user number statistics, their accuracy and methods are almost immediately called into question.”
Last year, the tech world focused attention on Tango.me and the handful of other messenger apps, following the record sale of WhatsApp to Facebook for $22-billion.