They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that old axiom is true, then the number of Snapchat clones and lookalikes popping up on the Internet suggest that website developers hold the original disappearing photo-sharing service in very high regard.
Under the direction of founder Evan Spiegel and Jonathan May, Snapchat took the World Wide Web by storm shortly after its initial release in September of 2011. Facebook attempted to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion late last year, but the company’s founders rebuffed Zuckerberg’s offer, instead opting to continue its internal development. According to the latest Snapchat valuations, their bold decision to turn down billions may well pay off.
Bloomberg recently reported that Snapchat is in negotiations with the Alibaba Group, a China-based electronic commerce enterprise with backing from Yahoo! The Bloomberg report suggests that the Alibaba negotiations have Snapchat’s value pegged at $10 billion — more than three times Facebook’s 2013 offer. The $10 billion valuation places Snapchat in elite company alongside immensely popular websites and online services like Airbnb and Dropbox.
Part of the increase in Snapchat’s value is due to the implementation of new features, including location-based features which were rolled out in Los Angeles and New York in July. Either way, it appears as though Spiegel and May made a wise move to turn down the Facebook takeover bid, though analysts stress that the valuation could change by the time negotiations conclude.
So what does this mean for iPhone app development? First, it signals a significant user demand for more control over social media — a trend that’s been around a while but continues to gain momentum. Second, it offers clues to what next-generation social media is going to look like — smaller networks, more limitations on outsider access to shared media, and enhanced privacy.
If you’re a Chicago app developer in search of the “next big thing” in social media apps, keep an eye on Snapchat and its followers. The popularity of these platforms are important indicators of the future of social media.Tags: alibaba, app, bloomberg, evan spiegel, facebook, internet bubble, jonathan may, los angeles start-up, mark zuckerberg, mobile app, snapchat, snapchat valuation, social media, social network, venture capital, Yahoo