Crystal Grave was sitting in a cafe in Menlo Park, California, on Thursday night when she received an email letting her know that someone had mentioned the name of her company. She’d set up a Google Alert to notify her whenever a blogger or journalist posted anything online mentioning the name of her event-planning search engine: Snappening.
Sure enough, journalists began to mention Snappening en masse in the coming hours, as reports emerged that a third-party Snapchat app had been hacked, and almost 100,000 private photos and videos had leaked online. Many of the images were explicit images of children. Online commenters had dubbed the event “The Snappening,” a combination of “Snapchat” and “Happening,” and a pun on the nickname of the last mass photo leak, “the Fappening.”
Grave quickly realised that the leak of tens of thousands of private photos was an opportunity to promote her business. Speaking to Business Insider, Grave explained how her company watched press coverage of the hack:
Our team is enjoying seeing the discussion in social media locally, nationally and internationally…It’s been fun engaging with such a wide audience in real-time from across the globe.
As she noticed people talking about the hack online, Grave made sure that her company cashed in by creating an ad, or a “meme” as she is keen to call it. Here’s the tie-in ad Snappening produced to coincide with the photo hack that targeted thousands of children around the world.
We asked Grave whether she had seen any new business resulting from the Snapchat hack:
Our web traffic on www.snappening.com has increased dramatically. We estimate we’ll have served more than 100,000 new visitors by the time the #TheSnappening hack runs its course as an international news phenomenon. While the incident is really only about four days old, we’ve already seen new registered user accounts and have started receiving phone calls of interest from across the country … I think it has successfully increased the awareness of our brand without negative consequences.