What People Said About Snapchat When It Was Just a Startup

How the hell does a video sexting app think it can succeed?

November 6, 2015

With over 100 million daily users across the globe, Snapchat’s a social media juggernaut… but once they were dismissed as a sexting app with limited market potential — created by a horny 20-something-year-old.

Today, Snapchat is considered one of the most transformative apps in media history. They proved that people really do appreciate getting video news snippets served on mobile.

They’re currently valued at around $16 billion and have raised over $1 billion since 2012. Snapchat’s considered the third most popular social network IN THE WORLD, and 41% of all teens aged 13-17 use Facebook. The app has media outlets — including the New York Times, BuzzFeed and Vox — clamoring to “partner,” and include their content.

And they’re only four-years-old.

Snapchat’s naysayers are eating dirt now, as their success is indisputable. But let’s take a walk down memory lane.

What did people say back when Snapchat was some odd sexting startup with a Casper logo?

Most people didn’t “get it”

Wrong demographic, man.
Maybe I’m old (28), but I don’t understand the appeal at all. Why would I want to send a temporary photo to anyone unless it’s something illegal/embarrassing/private — and how often does that happen? How is this better than Instagram, why is it so important for a photo to disappear? What if I just take a photo of my phone with the photo on it… I just don’t understand how this app really matters.

When we first heard about Snapchat, the photo-sharing app that lets you set how long the recipient can view a picture for, we immediately thought that it must be used for sexting. The founders have repeatedly said that it’s not meant for sexting. We’re not buying it.

Children are not our future. Teach them well, but when it comes to determining the next big thing in tech, let’s not fall victim to the ridiculous idea that they lead the way.

Is this a sex-ting app?

Snapchat was launched in September of 2011 and was inspired by the humiliation of New York politician Anthony Weiner last spring, who was caught sending explicit pictures of himself to a woman online.

But actual “young people” loved it

Finally, adults can’t spy on you!
My best friend sent me a photo of her butthole pooping for 1 second. Didn’t screenshot it in time.

Research published today by the Pew Research Center claims that 9% of all US mobile phone owners are using Snapchat, but that this percentage rises to 26% for 18- to 29-year-olds, reflecting its young demographic.

Snapchat’s growth has been meteoric. The app launched for Apple’s iPhone in July 2011 as a way for people to send photos to friends that self-deleted after being viewed for a set period of time, alerting the sender if the recipient tried to capture a screenshot.

A skinny young man approaches the bar in a T-shirt, jeans and white sneakers. He is Evan Spiegel, the chief executive of Snapchat, the insanely popular smartphone app that lets you send disappearing pictures to your friends. With just 20 employees, and no revenue, the company is valued at a staggering $800 million.

Sex and porn was (and is) a big deal

There’s a reason this got popular… even if Evan denied this to begin with.
“I’m not convinced that the whole sexting thing is as big as the media makes it out to be. I just don’t know people who do that. It doesn’t seem that fun when you can have real sex.” – Evan Spiegel

Strippers and porn stars have started to use Snapchat to send videos and photos of themselves naked for a small fee. Some transactions are as inexpensive as $1 to $5 for a few personalized photos. The prices can reach double digits for personalized sex shows.

On Friday morning, the denizens of the anonymous forum 4chan were digging through what they described as a massive collection of photos and videos from the website Snapsaved.com, mostly searching for nude images sent by unsuspecting girls.

Law enforcement can summon unopened Snapchat messages.There used to be something reassuring about Snapchat: Sensitive messages—say, sexts—disappear seconds after being opened and can be viewed only by their intended recipients. But users are learning of exceptions to the rules.

Ten boys, ages 13 to 15, were detained by police in Laval, Quebec, on Thursday, CTV Montreal reports. Police say they coerced or tricked seven girls into posing for photographs that were then distributed at the school. Users of SnapChat can send photos that automatically disappear after a few seconds, but the boys captured the images with screenshots.

They said Snapchat was destined to fail

After Snapchat turned down $3 billion from Facebook
“Insane!” “Crazy!” “Moronic!”

“Turned down 3 bil??? Are they insane?”

Snapchat, it behooves me to point out, makes no money. I don’t mean that it is spending more money than it takes in, like Twitter. It literally does not have any revenue.

But man, it sure seems like the chances are far greater that he’ll [Evan] someday sit down for an interview with Esquire or Businessweek and reflect ruefully on just how and why, in his exuberant youth, he passed up the sweetest deal any 23-year-old startup founder is likely ever to see.

When Snapchat turned down a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook, critics thought it was foolhardy hubris. How could a messaging platform that makes photos and videos disintegrate after a few seconds possibly be worth anything to advertisers?

But the “people” didn’t agree
This guy is keeping his eye on the prize, he’s not going to lose out like instagram did.

Mostly…
Am I the one rooting for all users to abandon that platform making it worthless. Imagine walking away from $4 billion.

Oh good god people. You sell your nonsense digital gimmick start-ups after 16 months. This has happened a thousand times before.

And there was (and is) drama

The kind that happens when you’re 23
FUCK BITCHES AND GET LEID. Emails obtained by Valleywag show a slightly younger Spiegel shifting seamlessly from entrepreneur to a guy trying very hard to get girls so drunk, they might have sex with his friends. Who needs Y Combinator when you’ve got a stripper pole, your dad’s swanky house in L.A., and some cocaine?

It is possibly the biggest startup lawsuit since the Winklevoss twins sued Mark Zuckerberg over their part in the success of Facebook, but a new legal fight is brewing in Silicon Valley over the ownership of Snapchat, an app for sending self-destructing photo messages.

During a deposition of Frank “Reggie” Brown IV, the Stanford University frat boy who claims he invented the concept of a self-deleting photo-messaging service, a naked man interrupted testimony by gesticulating at Brown through a window.

[Evan’s] occasionally modest (“everyone here is stupidly way smarter than me”), while also prone to bouts of inadvertent smugness (“I literally just invented this in my head,” he says, drawing a chart on a paper demonstrating the basic elements of the service).

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel

People are realizing the power of the snap

Like, actual politicians
Presidential candidates took to Snapchat, the popular photo and video-sharing app, as they celebrated the nation’s birthday. Out of the 14 GOP candidates, seven are already actively using Snapchat to boost their campaigns.

But where some struggle to adapt, others charge forward into the brave new world, keen to show that they’re down with the kids. The bravest of these is U.S. Senator Rand Paul, who has just signed up for Snapchat, the limited-time photo-sharing app that was once derided as a sexting tool for teenagers, but is now going mainstream.

Then other people wanted to copy them

Cloning is the highest compliment, right?
Mark Zuckerberg boasted of copying the Snapchat app in 12 days, but what has Facebook really achieved with its sexting app?

Clay Allsopp, a San Francisco-based software developer, has launched Blinklink – an experimental website that lets visitors create disappearing links on social network Twitter. Blinklink is inspired by Snapchat – a mobile platform favoured by teens that lets users send temporary images that self-destruct within 10 seconds.

If Tinder And Snapchat Shacked Up And Had A Baby, It Would Be Called Swipe

If Snapchat and Secret had a baby, it’d be anonymous messaging app Sneeky

Instagram Direct hands-on: Facebook’s pursuit of Snapchat

Babl messages disappear after a week, unless you choose to publish them to your profile, so it’s a bit longer-lasting than Snapchat.

And this is why…

Battle of the teen social titans
We recently learned that Snapchat supposedly rejected a jaw-dropping $3 billion offer from Facebook earlier this year, and now a new rumor has surfaced claiming the startup also rejected a $4 billion dollar bid from Google.

Facebook, which declined to provide more current numbers, says more than 75 percent of its video views come from mobile devices. Snapchat is available only as a mobile app, so all of its 4 billion views come from smartphones and tablets. Snapchat currently outpaces Facebook by about 1 billion daily views on mobile, according to the latest figures.

Snapchat legal and lobby up

Business is such a battle
A 24-year-old forensics examiner from Utah has made a discovery that may make some Snapchat users think twice before sending a photo that they think is going to quickly disappear. Richard Hickman of Decipher Forensics found that it’s possible to pull Snapchat photos from Android phones simply by downloading data from the phone using forensics software.

Snapchat, the developer of a popular mobile messaging app, has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers with promises about the disappearing nature of messages sent through the service.

Snapchat is hiring lobbyists in the wake of a data breach that exposed millions of users’ information and prompted calls for a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation.

But they’re conquering the world

One naked selfie at a time
Spiegel said onstage today at the Code Conference that Snapchat has close to 100 million daily active users “in developed countries.” Spiegel also said that Vodafone has attributed 75 percent of its customers’ upload bandwidth usage in the U.K. to Snapchat.

Snapchat recruiting: Colleges take up ‘snapping’ to reach prospective students. New York University’s Stern School of Business also has its own Snapchat account that anyone can follow regardless of their proximity to campus. Potter said this account helps prospective students see that, although New York University is a large school in an urban area, individual voices are still heard.

Which means…

This is the future, folks. And it’s yellow.
“Snapchat producer is now a legit job.”

Mobile messaging company Snapchat is launching a new service that lets users send money to each other, in a partnership with online payments company Square.
The service, dubbed Snapcash, allows Snapchat users to link their debit cards to their account.

Parents Are Using The New Snapchat Features On Babies And It’s Terrifying

A video posted by Jess Gomez (@jess_jazzy94) on


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