There's a curious little line in The New York Times' SnapChat story that has us scratching our heads: the app may incorporate coupons to try and make money. The big, headline grabbing news in Jenna Wortham's story is that SnapChat raised $13.5 million in new funding, earning a $60 to $70 million valuation along the way. That's great! You fended off a Facebook intimidator. Your company has no actual revenue stream and you're earning valuations that high.
But the part that really caught our eye was a throwaway line about what the future might hold for SnapChat once those investors start looking for returns on those hefty investments. "Some backers see the possibility of Snapchat making money by allowing advertisers to send coupons or fashion ideas," Wortham reports. Wait, like Groupon? Daily deal sites have all but fallen off the start-up map. Groupon very famously flamed out, thanks to a influx of intimidators and high expenses. Their stock price plummeted (but is on a quiet comeback right now). And obviously this preliminary speculation from investors who want this thing to get monetized sooner than later. We suspect this would look different from a traditional daily deal, though. Messages from advertisers with potential coupons, probably through a special link, would show up in users' inboxes similar to how promoted tweets show up inconspicuously in your Twitter feed.
It's not the worst idea, actually.Brands will need to fight for attention next to the sexier messages in users' inbox. (Because it's not like sex has ever been used to sell anything before...)