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Snapchat's bringing disappearing news to your vanishing selfie stream

Chris Velazco, @chrisvelazco
August 19, 2014
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Snapchat might be the go-to app for firing off self-destructing selfies, but there's still one little issue CEO Evan Spiegel doesn't seem to have locked up yet: how is it actually going to make money? In-app purchases? Location-centric stories? The Wall Street Journal just offered up an unsurprising possibility with a bit of a twist -- the startup is apparently gearing up to launch a service called Snapchat Discovery that'll bring ads and news to its users.

Yeah, really. Running ads seem like a no-brainer, but disappearing news is a curious twist on the original, dead-simple Snapchat formula. The Journal reports that the startup has been in talks with at least 12 content providers (including the Daily Mail's Mail Online, for all your trashy gossip needs) to deliver articles and video news to the service, which could launch as soon as this November. If all this seems awfully unlike the Snapchat we know, well, that's probably the point.

The app launched three years ago and was almost immediately derided -- accurately or not -- as a tool for scurrilous sexting. Along the way, though, Snapchat's userbase continued to swell beyond the ranks of the young and bored to the point where even parents of original users were jumping on it. How does a startup keep growing when its core audience starts changing this dramatically? By doing exactly what Snapchat is reportedly doing now: giving us all other reasons to use it. Whether or not this crazy plan actually works is a totally different story, but we may not have to wait long to see how it all pans out.

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