February 1, 2019

How POPSUGAR Scaled Up to Support the #Twinning Image Recognition App

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If you spent any time on social media recently, you likely saw a certain celebrity lookalike app all over your feeds. The POPSUGAR Twinning app enables people to take a selfie, and the tool finds which celebrity they most resemble. While the tool got a lot of positive and sustained buzz from word of mouth, it really hit viral proportions when Ellen DeGeneres used it during the opening segment of her talk show and then shared to her own social platforms.

To build Twinning, the POPSUGAR team turned to Clarifai’s celebrity model. Pre-built models are a vital resource for companies and developers who want to launch an app quickly and effectively without massive overhead.

“It’s an easy process and everything is essentially done for you on our end,” Jared Lerner, Support Engineering Lead here at Clarifai, said. “You don’t have to train anything and all you need to do is make an API call to us. It’s a stable model that’s been around for awhile that we’re updating and maintaining.”

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Of course, when you build an app, you probably dream of it going viral and being so widely loved and used. Realistically though, virality isn’t predictable or dependable. While having the ability to scale is vital when planning and building, spending on infrastructure for such an unknown can be a hard sell.

“Obviously, not a lot of people are expecting to be tweeted by Ellen,” Lerner said. “But if you know a spike like this is coming, you can spend more on infrastructure and ensure that you’re scaling up for a good reason.”

Still, it’s always good to have someone who can ramp up with little notice and fix it right away because users will become frustrated and will post about it not working. That’s why many developers turn to third-party providers who can scale for them as needed.

“It’s definitely easier to use a third-party vendor because the responsibility is lifted from your shoulders to theirs to keep things running smoothly,” Jared said. “For example, we use AWS because we know we’re getting almost 100% uptime. It’s a weight lifted off to know it’ll be working 24/7. POPSUGAR knows they can depend on us to scale for them. In their case, they were able to email us, and we ramped things up on our end within minutes. They didn’t have to worry about fixing any server-related issues on their end.”

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