As Instagram’s new Twitter rival Threads soars into the double-digit millions after launching on Wednesday, another Twitter alternative, Bluesky, has hit a milestone of its own. According to a new analysis from app store intelligence provider data.ai, Bluesky has now topped a million downloads across iOS and Android, despite remaining an invite-only app.
Of course, this metric pales compared with the numbers Threads is putting out as an app that’s tied into Instagram’s social graph. And it’s far from catching up to Twitter itself, which added another 72 million first-time installs while Bluesky was working toward its first million. That’s an average of 518,000 new downloads per day for Twitter, data.ai notes. By comparison, Bluesky only sees 8,300 first-time installs per day, on average.
That said, it’s still solid growth for an app where invites remain scarce and sometimes, unusable — the company even temporarily paused sign-ups during the first weekend in July after Twitter’s decision to limit the number of readable tweets drove new demand for Twitter alternatives. The Bluesky team was worried the record-high traffic would result in performance issues as it wasn’t yet ready for such a large influx of new users, they explained at the time.
In fact, data.ai reports that the move by Twitter allowed Bluesky to hit its new milestone, as an estimated 300,000 new Bluesky installs were registered since June 30.
The U.S. accounts for the largest number of Bluesky installs, or 40%. That’s followed by Brazil (9.5% of installs), Japan (8.5%), Thailand (7.5%), and the United Kingdom (4.6%).
In total, it’s taken Bluesky roughly four months to hit the “1 million+” downloads milestone. But it’s likely the app would have seen a faster rate of adoption had it fully opened up to the public. The team’s decision to keep its app private may ultimately hurt its potential success now that Threads is out and promising to integrate with ActivityPub — the protocol powering the open source, decentralized social network Mastodon, another popular Twitter alternative. Bluesky, meanwhile, is developing its own decentralized social networking protocol, the AT Protocol.
Though it’s already faced moderation challenges, Bluesky can’t be counted out yet. The company this week announced $8 million in seed funding and its first paid service, custom domains, as it looks outside the traditional ad-supported market to find a means of monetization.