As we well know, big social media and social messaging companies have a tendency to rip each other off. We’ve seen Instagram rip off Snapchat, another big player in the space.
However, what happens when a big player copies a young upstart?
Facebook appears to be doing just that. The social media giant announced a standalone group video chat app called Bonfire in July of this year. After testing, that app is now available in the Denmark App Store.
“Bonfire bears a striking resemblance to Houseparty.”
Both apps enable multi-party video chatting, complete with video effect filters (much like Snapchat). Facebook has their app synced with the Messenger feature to let potential participants know when they’ve been added to a chat. Bonfire also lets you capture snapshots of the video chat.
So, why does Facebook want to copy this startup so badly? Because the concept is a hit.
Back in 2016, Houseparty was the 7th highest ranking free app in Apple’s App store. Additionally, the app has been shown averaging a million downloads in the last 6 months. Facebook is in the business of building community, per their mission statement, and this concept is a growing epicenter of social community and interaction.
That also makes Houseparty and Bonfire a great tool for reaching a younger consumer audience more directly.
While a live event on Facebook or Instagram makes for a great general broadcast, these apps could be a great way to offer exclusive experiences to certain customers.
Imagine, if you will, the thrill of 6 fans winning a content to have a private show streamed to them by their favorite artist, followed by a Q+A session? Or, imagine a pop culture brand like The AV Club hosting an interactive discussion with fans dissecting the latest episode of Game of Thrones?
If those examples feel a little too big for you, then imagine a group of restaurant employees hosting a live discussion in several different chat rooms soliciting feedback on all parts of the experience?
The bigger point is, that level of intimacy and exclusivity works well on this platform.