Social media companies have traditionally made money selling advertisements after they have reached critical mass.
Snapchat, however, may try to monetise through mobile payments according to two trademarks filed by the company’s lawyers in July.
The trademarks, which were discovered by Josh Constine at TechCrunch, suggest Snapchat wants to start accepting, processing and transferring payments between users.
Snapchat has filed three trademarks. The first, which was filed in 2012 and granted in July 2013, sounds like the Snapchat we’ve all come to know. It defined Snapchat as a “computer application software for mobile phones, portable media players, and handheld computers, namely, software for sending digital photos, videos, images, and text to others via the global computer network.”
These two filed in July paint a different picture:
- “Computer application software for processing electronic payments to and from others that may be downloaded from a global computer network”
- “Electronic transfer of money for others; providing electronic processing of electronic funds transfer, ACH, credit card, debit card, electronic check and electronic, mobile and online payments”
There don’t appear to be any patents filed along with the trademarks. There are lots of ways Snapchat could use payments to monetise, whether it’s encouraging users to buy products through flash sales with advertisers, a Venmo-like service that lets users send quick payments to each other, or through in-app purchases of virtual goods, like other messaging applications WeChat and Line use. The play could also be defensive; Facebook looks like it could be exploring the payment messaging space; it recently hired PayPal CEO David Marcus.
Snapchat isn’t commenting on the trademarks, but traditionally a company needs to provide a statement of use within six months once a trademark’s intent to use has been granted. So we could be seeing what Snapchat has planned relatively soon.