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Snapchat gives up on selling 'lenses'

Snapchat Inc. recently embarked on its first two attempts to charge for extra features on its popular chat and video app. It’s giving up on one of them.

The decision announced Wednesday to close what was known as the Lens Store didn’t come with a specific reason, but it suggests that not enough Snapchat users were interested in handing the company $1 here and there to maintain the technology needed to have a virtual shop.

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Lenses on Snapchat allow users to alter their facial expressions, to make them look fearsome or frustrated, for example. Each Lens is available for a short time, but Snapchat started offering perpetual access to them in November for about $1 each. On Friday, those sales will cease. Users who purchased a Lens animation will continue to have to access it, and Snapchat will boost the number of Lenses available each day to 10 from seven.

Snapchat characterized the Lens Store as popular, citing tens of thousands of daily purchases, which would add up to more than $500,000 in revenue since the store launched. But it’s possible Snapchat could have decided the revenue just wasn’t enough, given that it can charge advertisers similar sums to offer Lenses that promote a brand.

The Venice company’s other paid option allows users on the receiving end to purchase three extra views of self-destructing messages for 99 cents.

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