When two really good sport teams battle it out for that game of sport and it ends up being a cracker of a game, irrespective of whoever is the winner, the actual winner is the sport itself, isn’t it?
When a popular social media app and a section of its user base fight out over a rumoured comment by the former – the winner really is business as a whole. Business in terms of business for the app, the news websites covering it and Twitter for being the venting ground.
This post is about the recent alleged comments by SnapChat’s CEO on India as a market for its product.
This post is an opinion on the whole issue.
I will provide what I would like to call a hawk’s eye view of the issue.
Without having any prejudice, let us dissect the issue at hand.
In Chronological Order, The Order Of Events Are As Below:
- SnapChat fires an employee in 2015
- The same disgruntled (supposedly as said by SnapChat) employee files a lawsuit against the CEO
- The lawsuit claims the CEO having said at a discussion with the employee, that he said “The app is only for rich people. I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain”
- This causes uproar in India. People start tweeting in disapproval, firing back at SnapChat
- Indians start down-rating SnapChat on the App Store so much so that it reaches 1 star in rating
- SnapChat denies claims of having said anything like that at all and cited the allegations as ridiculous
- SnapChat shares fell by 1.5% recently after this issue
Now, skim through the above points once more.
You will arrive at the conclusion that, there are four parties involved/impacted in the descending order of impact:
- SnapChat & SnapChat Business
- India & Social Media Business in India
- News websites
What I am trying to say is, leave aside how the people reacted. It may or it may not have been appropriate. In the end, business is the winner after all this settles down. I will get to that in a bit. But, before that, let us have a brief look at issue itself.
Did SnapChat Really Say All That?
Although SnapChat vehemently denies having said anything of that sort at all and the ex-employee thinks otherwise, we cannot assume either way. Until we get a clearer picture, there can be no conclusion drawn.
-> In the public space, no company can make such loose statements without the backlash of millions of users.
-> It can however, say that within the confines of a closed boardroom where future prospects for the company are being discussed vis-a-vis the market research. They can make any statements they wish, since it is not recorded and broadcast-ed live. If they deem any particular region not suitable for them, they can make loose statements from within the confines of the boardroom – who’s there to hear/spy? Then again, these could be just casual statements. Probably it was possibly blown out of proportion in the wrong context – anything’s possible.
-> It must be noted, yes, that the accusations (can be false) come from an ex-employee who might as well be disgruntled. But how can he let out two random countries as part of the statements said? There must have been something solid that happened in the boardroom that reminded him of the statements. That said, we can also look at it in the sense that he accused that falsely just to bring SnapChat down. What better way than to include the fastest growing tech user base in the world? The impact would hit SnapChat heavily in terms of growth in one of the fastest growing nations in the world.
-> Having said all that, we really cannot assume whether those comments were made or not by SnapChat. They, need to come out further and elaborate on what had happened. As of now, they have released just one statement. Going forward, we can expect them to release a more detailed one. Only then, would we gain clarity.
Business Really Is The Winner
As mentioned above, there are four parties involved. And all four are the winners, some short-term, some long-term.
- SnapChat & SnapChat Business (will gain in the long-term)
- India & Social Media Business in India (definite gainer)
- Twitter (definite gainer)
- News websites (oh, hands down a gainer)
SnapChat & SnapChat Business (short-term loser, long-term gainer)
As of now, SnapChat is facing immense backlash from Indian users. App Store rating going down to 1 star is really, really something to sit erect and take note of.
1.5% drop in shares worldwide due to some alleged accusation by an ex-employee just shows how much publicity is important for any company.
There is nothing called as bad publicity. It is just not-so-good publicity which has to be exploited to make all parties satisfied and hence, would become good publicity.
So, in order to get back and expand further, SnapChat has to:
a) Rebuild its image partly
b) Please Indian users if at all it plans to expand
c) Extending from b), India cannot be ignored as a market, considering that it is the fastest growing smartphone market and that it is one of the fastest growing nations economically and also, its 1.2 billion population – all of this is immense business potential
So a), b) and c) put together will make SnapChat work harder than before and try to woo new users and cajole its existing/disgruntled ones. They would certainly try to bring back the users who quit.
Inference: SnapChat is a loser in the short-term, but would be a long-term gainer if it prioritizes.
India & Social Media Business in India (definite gainer)
This is a no-brainer. This issue has made one thing clear – you may call them hypersensitive and what not, but the fact is clear – you cannot henceforth say anything that hurts the sentiments of Indian users. The effect is immense backlash.
Therefore, social media companies would be extra careful and would try to provide the users with the best of services and cajole/woo them further.
Inference: Winners are both the Indian user diaspora and the social media. This is a win-win situation for both parties going forward.
Twitter (definite gainer)
The number of hashtags and retweets and the number of new users signed up due to this – enormous. Need we know more?
News websites (definite gainer)
The number of clicks their articles shared on Facebook and Twitter about this whole issue would certainly see a spike in advertisements hitting their page and thereby a huge spike in their graph or earnings from them for this month.
This was not an opinion about whether SnapChat really said all that or if some Indian users were right/wrong to jump to acceptance of the claims.
This is an opinion that, seeing this from the hawk’s eye view, we can see that business really is the winner.
Business and its consumers were, are and always will continue to be the winners – some in the short-term, some in the long-term.