Download Snapchat, riddle your brain with how the disappearing-messaging platform could ever meaningfully monetize messages that self-destruct in a few seconds, then up the brain teaser by pondering how founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy believe their platform will one day be worth more than an alleged $3 billion dollar acquisition offer from Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). Layer on the fact that the reason the app’s core users — teens and college students — want their messages to disappear is because they are sending images of their sexual organs. Does child and young adult porn sound like an attractive, contextually powerful environment for quality advertisers? Don’t worry, Evan and Bobby: Just let those silly questions disappear.
Let’s be real. This platform garners a multibillion dollar valuation courtesy of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (and soon, Janet Yellen). When too much liquidity is flowing through the hands of VCs, they have a tendency to show us what the highest end of the risk spectrum looks like … PLUS some! In this case, Snapchat investors and founders should sit down with a fountain pen and write Bernanke and Yellen an elegant thank-you note. Actually, they may consider spending some of their recent capital raise to lobby for Yellen just in case anyone with a slightly less loose monetary policy should come into consideration.
If you think I’m being harsh and Snapchat has a defensible business model, consider what I said about Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) long before IPO shareholders got scammed. The same holds true for Snapchat. Here are three ways Snapchat’s users will disappear as fast as its messages:
- Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iMessage creates a way for messages to disappear, the same as Snapchat. The iMessage platform is extremely popular with teens and college kids, so this would be a massive blow to Snapchat. I have a strong feeling an intern at Apple can figure out how to make this possible in, say, a couple of weeks or so.
- Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) enables disappearing messages for private tweets. Again, this is not rocket science for companies with some of the best programmers and engineers in the world.
- Snapchat continues to receive mainstream media press, which leads adults, parents, and grandparents to the underage party. Once that happens, the kids will flee to the next platform as fast as clubs in South Beach go from white-hot to last season’s unhip joint.
At the end of the day, for this moment, Snapchat has corralled young people into a pen. VCs are salivating and the founders feel invincible. But getting kids to associate their most private communications with a reason to spend money or allow advertisers to elbow into the experience seems like a fool’s errand. But what do I know? I’m long past college and my kids are in preschool.
Don’t Miss: Snapchat to Facebook: Not Interested.