Turns out the Snapchat lens store was more of a pop-up shop.
Snapchat is shutting down the lens store less than two months after it opened. In November, the platform put some of its popular lenses — essentially glorified photo filters — behind a paywall, charging users a 99 cents apiece to splash rainbow puke and other stickers across their photos. Almost immediately, the Internet lashed Snapchat telling it that “no one is going to buy those filters, losers.” Apparently not!
Snapchat says in a blog post that the store will close on Friday and that purchased lenses can still be used after it shutters. Some of the most popular paid lenses won’t be made free again for awhile. Moving forward, Snapchat will distribute 10 free lenses, up from the seven it offers now.
Selling lenses was the second Snapchat foray into in-app purchases, the first being selling replays of videos snaps from three replays for .99 cents to $4.99 for 20 repeats.
It’s unclear why Snapchat is closing the store, even though it sold tens of thousands every day, according to sources close to the platform. The company can make a lot more money from selling sponsored selfies, like this one produced for the Peanuts movie, which can cost brands between $475,000 to $700,000.
Also, axing the lens store shows that Snapchat is focusing its money making efforts to more lucrative places. As Digiday first reported yesterday, it’s building an API that would let third-party technology partners plug in and start buying ad spots.
Instead of puking rainbows, the company would rather print money. Go figure.