Mammoth, a new app for Mastodon, launched in the iOS App Store this past week and something about it hasn’t been sitting right with me.
Until recently, the team working on the project was noted within the app itself as a single person: Shihab Mehboob, creator of Aviary for Twitter and Mast, another Mastodon app. While working on Mammoth, Shihab asked people to consider donating to him to support development which, given that he appeared to be the only one working on it, made sense.
Close to the end of 2022, Shihab launched an instance for new Mammoth users, moth.social, and new members of the team began to announce their involvement, including developers, community managers, and more, without any mention of investors.
Then, on February 23rd, the day before Mammoth’s public launch, they shared the following information in a blog post:
Mammoth and moth.social are built by a small team. We’re all-in on open source and the fediverse, and we’re also a startup, with support from Mozilla, Marc Benioff, Long Journey Ventures and others.
To be clear, I’m not concerned about apps that are backed by VC funding as long as they’re transparent about it. What concerns me is that the creator (maybe?) and lead developer of Mammoth did not disclose his relationship with investors, potential or secured, while requesting donations from users.
It’s dishonest and beyond disappointing.