Snapchat shuts down Lens Store, will give away all filters for free as it concentrates on advertising

The site offered the option to buy special filters for $0.99 — but now it’s going to give them all away, and try and make money from sponsored lenses instead

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 07 January 2016 11:58 GMT
A video of the children fighting was allegedly shared on Snapchat
A video of the children fighting was allegedly shared on Snapchat (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)

Snapchat is to drop its paid-for Lens Store, focusing on encouraging companies to sponsor the filters instead.

Snapchat’s lenses allow people to apply special filters to the front of their pictures. The lenses analyse the users face and super-impose effects on top — which can include a stream of rainbow vomit coming out of their mouth or ski goggles on the face and virtual snow.

The company said in November that it would start charging for some of those lenses, as a way of moving towards making money from its users. Some had wondered whether the plan was also intended to make people use the sponsored lenses, which are offered for free.

But it’s now dropping that plan in favour of the sponsored lenses. The company was already offering those features — which allow companies to put their advertising onto people’s faces.

Users will still get to keep all of the Lenses that they’ve already bought. Some of the lenses that were previously paid-for will start becoming available for free, and Snapchat will be adding around 10 new ones per day.

It isn’t clear why Snapchat has dropped the Lens Store. But the company still only has a small staff and so it is likely that it could be moving towards focusing solely on the advertising arm.

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