TechCrunch, the influential tech publication, wrote recently about having a competitor buy the Snapchat “Airspace” above its Disrupt conference. Sort of like a Microsoft billboard in front of the Apple campus, Reflik bought rights to the Snapchat geofilter over Disrupt to ride on TechCrunch’s coattails without having to go the normal route of being a conference sponsor. Is this sort of thing inevitable in modern Guerilla online marketing? Or is it a step backwards to a prior era of overreaching with tech? Something in between?
Seems a bit little like URL cybersquatting of the old days – or a competitor bidding on Google AdWords for searches with with your trademark in them. Snapchat did not comment for the story, but TechCrunch described the practice like this:
“Snapchat’s current policy is “first come, first served,” and you can’t reserve a geofilter more than 30 days in advance. The first person to book at 12:01 AM 30 days ahead of an event will always get the geofilter. There’s also a cap on the number of geofilters that can exist within a designated space.  This means that anyone can hijack your digital space and promote a brand, cause or idea… as long as they “get” there first.”
Even TechCrunch wondered in the article if there might be a better way for businesses to compete more fairly in the dogfight going on in Snapchat’s skies. Hopefully this post was not TL;DR and Snapchat will offer a more nuanced solution sooner than later.