As Donald Trump eyes another run for the White House, the twice-impeached former president has been keen to pursue new business opportunities to increase his wealth and maintain his personal brand. But unfortunately for Trump, one of his most promoted ventures — Truth Social — currently looks less like a success than an embarrassing misfire.
Even for a soft launch, Truth Social’s launch was particularly soft. And after a botched rollout where most would-be users were simply added to a waiting list, Trump complained about the app behind the scenes, according to two sources familiar with the matter, even as he tried to make look good publicly.
In recent weeks, sources have heard the former president on the phone swearing for free and asking things like “What the fuck is going on” with Truth Social.
He has repeatedly complained about the negative press and the less-than-stellar optics of the rollout, those sources said. And he demanded to know why more people aren’t using it, why the app isn’t quickly dominating the competition.
During his presidency and in the years before his political rise, Trump had a reputation for chastising his underlings for failures that were mostly his fault. During all these years, his short attention span was a constant; he tends to quickly lose interest in new business ideas, partnerships, and lucrative gimmicks that often lead nowhere or worse.
But if the preliminary traffic numbers are telling, the former president and current budding social media mogul is right.
The Daily Beast reviewed analytics of Truth Social visits by SimilarWeb, which tracks website traffic from both public and private sources. The company’s numbers for social network MAGA, while only an estimate based on incomplete data, are nonetheless anemic. Trump’s own social media platform does either worse or the same as other MAGA social sites like Gab – another competing pro-Trump website that is particularly popular with, well, Nazis – and Gettr , a platform run by one of Trump’s former top political aides, Jason Miller.
SimilarWeb’s estimates show a surge of around 2 million daily visits to the site in its early days, before traffic dropped to an average of around 300,000 visits per day, putting the site on par with Gettr. Meanwhile, far-right Gab averaged around 650,000 average daily visits over the same period.
Truth Social was the 72nd most popular free app in Apple’s AppStore on Friday, a far cry from Facebook (5th) and his former beloved Twitter (22nd), both of which fired the ex-president after the January 6 Capitol riot.
The relatively light traffic could be partly explained by Truth Social’s waiting list – MAGA fans who want to join the platform have now accumulated a backlog of one million users looking to join at launch in gentle application. The app is also only available on Apple devices, denying access to Android phone owners.
Far-right Gab, however, has managed to rack up twice as much web traffic as Truth Social, despite having its mobile apps banned from Apple and Google’s app stores.
The strangely slow waitlist could also explain why, at this early stage of Trump’s website, MAGA fans who visited Truth Social also don’t tend to stay very long, according to the tools. analysis of SimilarWeb. The company estimates that the average visitor to Trump’s site only stays for 90 seconds, a far cry from the seven minutes users tend to spend on Gettr and nine minutes on Gab.
During an appearance at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando last week, Trump said the launch of the app was still underway. “It’s been slowly opened up, people are getting along and they’re loving the product and we’re getting a voice,” he told a reporter from the pro-MAGA Right Side broadcast network.
“It was an incredible success,” he said. “We have hundreds of thousands of people trying to keep going and we are doing it very slowly.”
While Team Trump might be keen to turn this into a standard growing pain rather than obvious shortcomings, Truth Social’s lackluster performance is remarkable given the deep pockets behind the company.
Trump Media & Technology Group — the parent company of Truth Social — raised $1 billion from investors when it went public in late 2021. The company had also partnered, as The Daily Beast reported for the first time in December, with another well-funded right-wing social media outlet. competitor, Rumble, which markets itself as an alternative to Big Tech staples like YouTube and Amazon Web Services.
Still, that probably doesn’t help the fortunes of the 45th US President’s new company, considering he doesn’t even seem very interested in using it right now. As Axios pointed out this week, “Trump hasn’t posted a single post since launch, despite an international crisis that gripped the country. Instead, he gave his comments to radio and TV hosts. .
Twitter being an obvious exception, Trump has long been skeptical, or downright hostile, to the concept of personal use of new apps and technologies.
He is rarely seen using a computer himself and he doesn’t even send email. Instead, he relies on an assistant to send him messages. He even gets angry at websites and online forums that don’t make sense to him.
When Trump (ostensibly) hosted a Reddit AMA during his 2016 presidential campaign and was asked by his staff to pose for a picture of him “participating” via laptop, the future leader of the free world got upset and barked at his aides. He said the whole exercise was a waste of time and stormed out of the room, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
At the time, while on his private plane, Trump added that one of the reasons he stormed off was that he felt some of his campaign aides were making fun of him because he looked like he didn’t know how to use a computer.
Still, Truth Social could be critical at some point for Trump’s expected presidential campaign.
Twitter and Facebook were crucial to his successful 2016 and barely unsuccessful 2020 campaigns. And during his presidency, Trump regularly marveled at how he was able to instantly change the bottom halves of cable news and to regularly drive entire news cycles with a single tweet. Trump even told his former Attorney General Bill Barr that the way to write a truly “good tweet” was to inject “just the right amount of craziness,” according to Barr’s account.
It’s just that right now it seems to be sticking for a long time, typically inconsistent statements that his assistants capture and post on… Twitter.