Snapchat’s Latest Trademarks Hint at This Future

Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

Snapchat’s two newest trademarks aren’t for the cat photo nor for the selfie – they’re for online payment software, prompting some people to speculate the chatting app may be looking into adding money to the mix.

While Snapchat is infamous for being used for sending sexts, the majority of site activity is far more innocent. It is one of the most popular chatting platforms among teens and young adults, making it valuable to investors. Adding in ways for the company to make money could only add to Snapchat’s value.

If Snapchat does get into payment transfers, as its now-trademarked technology suggests, it would not be the first messaging app to do so. Chinese chatting app WeChat has payment transfer software built into the app. It’s possible that Snapchat may do the same. The company has already been used to sell music via iTunes, and it could be heading in a direction where “Snap Sales” become a reality.

The company’s recent hires suggest that the company may be headed in a more revenue-friendly direction. Chief Operating Officer Emily White was hired from Instagram last year, where she had been head of business. PayPal President David Marcus was recently hired to head up the Messenger division. These and other hires suggest that Snapchat may be going in a more money-friendly direction.

For Snapchat to become more monetized would not be surprising, considering the eventual path of all social media involves money. It happened to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. All of these social media platforms monetized through advertising, a common route, considering all of these companies gather personal data that they can pool and sell to companies. Snapchat could also take this route, since its teen and young adult users comprise a valuable demographic to advertisers.

The patents suggest that the company could take a more PayPal-style route and add in a payment transfer system. This would make it more similar to WeChat, which already has a money transfer feature. It could be used to send money between two users or potentially between an advertiser and a user to sell products on the platform. Either way, Snapchat could take a small cut of the money, similar to how Amazon or eBay take commissions from product sales.

Snapchat has no official announcement yet in regards to its plans for the trademarks, but the speculation is that Snapchat will somehow monetize its app using the trademarked software. Whether it will be by sending money to friends, online shopping in a snap, or possibly both, Snapchat will follow in the footsteps of its social media predecessors by adding more ways to make money to the messaging app. The other question that remains is when these changes will take place.

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