Snapchat pretty much popped out of nowhere, but its unique approach to social interaction and communication helped it to propel itself to fame, and today the app is extremely successful, even after the owners turned down a huge $3 billion deal by Mark Zuckerberg, owner of one of the most influential internet-based companies in the world. But how did Snapchat get to the state it is today, and what’s next for the application?
In this article, we take a look at the the Snapchat story so far.
In the beginning
Like most apps within the app store, Snapchat started off fairly unknown. Amongst the thousands of other applications within the market. The app started as a project by a trio of Stanford university students. Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown took development into their own hands and created their first prototype for the app, named Picaboo.
At the time, there was not a huge following behind the idea – classmates seemed unamused for the whole concept of the app, but the three that worked on the app believed it could be successful.
Before Picaboo took off, the team changed up the name to Snapchat, and Brown left the group.
Rise to Fame
After what may have been a mixture of luck and dedication, the world started to notice Snapchat. Thanks to Spiegels and Murphy’s original marketing efforts, Snapchat was seen by enough people to get the internet talking.
The idea behind Snapchat was quite controversial at the time, with many suggesting the main user base using the app for “sexting” and others questioning the true limits of the app’s privacy.
This talk helped the apprise to fame, and soon enough, millions of users had realized the potential of Snapchat. The idea of Snapchat itself was very unique, and it certainly deserved its spot in-app store history, but it could have easily turned out differently if it weren’t for the huge viral attention the application received.
After Snapchat began gaining traction, Brown, who had completely fallen out with Spiegel and Murphy, attempted to take a grab at Snapchat’s value by filing a lawsuit. Complaining that part of the company was also owned by himself, Brown took the matter to court.
Fortunately, the three prior Stanford students settled the case without any fines being put in place.
At this point in time, the Snapchat story so far began to look a little like what happened to Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg also had to deal with a lawsuit from a former co-worker, and after Facebook began to gain traction, Mark saw a lot of hot acquisition deals land in. Surprisingly, Zuckerberg turned down the deals, and what happened next in the Snapchat story was awfully similar.
Zuckerberg asked to meet with Spiegel and Murphy, of which both wholeheartedly agreed. In the meeting, Zuckerberg showed that their new app, “Poke” was gaining popularity, and Snapchat was in potential danger.
Poke was a through-and-through Snapchat clone, created by Facebook in what was clearly an attempt to keep their ground in the social/communications war. Whilst Poke did gain popularity at launch, Snapchat owners Murphy and Spiegel did not want to give up, and they proceeded to stay within the top charts.
Later on, Zuckerberg returned with a deal that he thought neither of the two Snapchat co-founders could have turned down. $3 billion was up for grabs, so long as Facebook could acquire Snapchat. Surprisingly, both Murphy and Spiegel turned down the offer, seeing it as a moment of weakness from Facebook.
This drove Snapchat into further popularity, and to this day it is still going strong. It was clearly a brave move to turn down the offer – Snapchat at the time was not relying on any revenue, and instead had $50 million worth of funding to rely on.
Still to this day, Snapchat is owned by Murphy and Spiegel, but it is still not making any revenue. The developers have stated that they want to be creative with their revenue ideas, and if advertisements are added, they should be in a way that is less perverse or “creepy” than the current swarm of personalized ads.
Snapchat is still being used by millions of individuals each day, so we’ll most likely see some form of monetization methods being added to the app shortly.