Could Facebook be Franchised?

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When you hear the word "franchise", most of us think immediately about Subway, McDonalds and many others. Traditional franchise opportunities have been brick and mortar locations that allow entrepreneurs to "live the American dream." Times are a changing.

Enter social networking. You may ask yourself, "What does this have to do with franchising?" Wait for it...

Prior to what we think of today as a social network was the Bulletin Board System (BBS) in the early 1990s. This was a community built around the dial-up modem that allowed people to connect, communicate, upload and download files among other things; the precursor to the Internet itself. As the Internet and the World Wide Web were born (thanks Al Gore), more and more services have strived to connect YOU to the rest of the world.

Then in 2004, a Harvard graduate named Mark Zuckerberg changed the world forever creating Facebook. When his company went public in 2012 everyone wanted a piece of the action. At 1.3 billion users and a $200 billion valuation later, Facebook is here to stay and social networking has become an integral part of our existence. Now when you hear the words "social network", most of us think immediately of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (oh wait, that would still be Facebook).

Fast-forward a year. By now you are likely familiar with another popular social networking service, Snapchat. Snapchat allows individuals to send a photo, video or text message that disappears after a few seconds.  You may also remember Snapchat turned down an offer from Facebook for three billion dollars in late 2013. Three BILLION dollars! At that time it was a huge head scratcher as to why they would turn down such an offer. In recent weeks, this has become much clearer.

Snapchat is now looking to grow the value and usage of its app.  They announced a joint venture with Square Cash to create Snapcash.  The Snapcash feature allows you to add a debit card to your account to send cash payments through the app for free (for now).

Additionally, they also have been looking to leverage live events with a feature they call "Our Story". 

Users attending an event submit photos and videos, which create a "Story".

Although the Snapchat team curates the "Story", the idea of leveraging events through social media is important and an untapped concept.

Now the question is, if Snapchat were a franchise and people were willing to pay you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars per event, would you buy that franchise? How about Facebook or Instagram? Is it possible to franchise a social network or a mobile app for that matter? If they did, how would it look? How could it be monetized?  How much would you want a Facebook franchise?

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ron Durbin published on November 23, 2014 7:37 PM.

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