Snapchat introduces paid-for ad updates, says it’s ‘no biggie’

20 Oct 2014

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Snapchat users will start to receive paid-for content in their ‘recent updates’ feeds as the company seeks to add an additional revenue stream to its popular photo-messaging app.

Rolled out in the US over the weekend, Snapchatters can now expect to see advertisements appear from time to time. Choosing to view the ad makes it disappear, though the content is removed after 24 hours if ignored. In a delicately worded blog post written on Friday, the company described the moves as "going to fee a little weird at first" but that the changes to the service were "no biggie".

"This weekend we’re placing an advertisement in “recent updates” for Snapchatters in the United States," the company wrote. "It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this because it’s the first time we’ve been paid to put content in that space. It’s going to feel a little weird at first, but we’re taking the plunge."

Snapchat won’t put advertisements in users personal communication (describing such an invasion as "totally rude") and won't use user information to tailor ads for them in the same way Facebook and Twitter do.

"We want to see if we can deliver an experience that’s fun and informative, the way ads used to be, before they got creepy and targeted," it said. "It’s nice when all of the brilliant creative minds out there get our attention with terrific content."

More money, more products

Snapchat also addressed its reasons behind the move, asserting that the extra money will be used to improve its services.

"Understandably, a lot of folks want to know why we’re introducing advertisements to our service. The answer is probably unsurprising – we need to make money. Advertising allows us to support our service while delivering neat content to Snapchatters. We promise that we’ll use the money we make to continue to surprise the Snapchat community with more terrific products – that’s what we love to do!"

The announcement comes as Snapchat reels from the high profile hacking of thousands of user images in a leak dubbed 'The Snappening'. While the company's servers were never compromised, the website snapsaved.com – a service that allows the app to be used on a desktop computer – was breached. In response, Snapchat condemned the use of such third-party applications.

“We can confirm that Snapchat’s servers were never breached and were not the source of these leaks,” wrote the company in a statement. “Snapchatters were victimised by their use of third-party apps to send and receive Snaps, a practice that we expressly prohibit in our Terms of Use precisely because they compromise our users’ security. We vigilantly monitor the App Store and Google Play for illegal third-party apps and have succeeded in getting many of these removed.”

Snapchat image via Shutterstock

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Dean is a freelance journalist and editor covering media.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com