This Privacy App’s Painfully Funny Site Shows the Dangers of Sharing Your Screen at Work

Muzzle illustrates exactly why it mutes incoming messages

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Most app landing pages are pretty utilitarian fare, tersely telling you what the app does and making the download button relatively prominent. Maybe it throws in a glowing review snippet or two.

The guys behind Muzzle, though, decided to do things a bit differently.

The MacOS app lets you mute notifications while sharing your screen, such as when giving a presentation to a client or colleagues. So they decided to promote it by creating a site that generates fake—and, of course, cringe-inducing—notifications alongside the side of your screen.

As you can see on the (mildly but appropriately NSFW) Muzzle site, you get a different set of notifications each time, and topics truly cover an impressive range of debauchery, from rejected dildo refunds and cocaine binge regrets to sordid office gossip and hookup requests.

One might be able to guess from the dude-centric notifications that they were written by two guys: Muzzle app developer Bryan Jones and site designer Brian Burkett. They tell AdFreak that the app and the site format were inspired by a real experience of having the message “fuck this client” pop up via iMessage mid-presentation.

From idea to completion, the app only took about five hours to create, Jones said. The site went live July 5, but the initial launch PR plan fizzled when sites like Macrumors didn’t respond to the duo’s outreach.

Luckily for Jones, a tweet on his personal account made the rounds far enough to get noticed by the popular tool aggregator ProductHunt, which called it the “best landing page ever.”

The free app has exploded in popularity since the ProductHunt mention, Jones said, with an astronomical 23 percent conversion rate on installs.

“Humor is what did it for us,” he tells AdFreak. “The app is good, sure, but without the, ‘Oh my god you have to see this website!’ element, we would never have spread beyond a small circle of friends and maybe a few of my followers.”

Burkett, the designer and developer behind the landing page, says the app’s success highlights the classic rule of “show, don’t tell.”

“The old proverb here continues to reign supreme: Don’t tell people you’re funny, make them laugh,” he said. “Within 2 seconds of hitting the Muzzle site, you know exactly what problem we’re trying to solve for you.”

Jones admits that not everyone has been a fan of the site’s style of humor. After a few complaints around a notification about an unsolicited dick pic, he changed the phrasing to drop the unsolicited aspect, instead going with, “Got your dick pic … is that it?”

But some have said the fake notifications should be less R-rated comedy and more PG awkwardness.

“That’s simply not my style or Brian’s,” Jones said. “Life is messy and graphic. It has profanity and dirty text messages and, yes, even dick pics. If you can’t laugh at yourself and the absurdities around us, that’s totally fine. Just don’t visit our websites.”


@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."