Private social network Path is turning its stickers into more public commodities, and better money-makers by association, with an update to its iOS and Android applications.
On Tuesday, Path released version 3.1, which includes a new option that lets the app's 12 million registered users exchange stickers in comment threads, as opposed to sharing them privately in messages.
"Now, any sticker, whether you buy a new pack or use an old one, can be used to quickly respond to your friends' moments, to add color and depth to your commentary. Now, stickers can be part of the full story," the company said in a blog post announcing the update.
Stickers are essentially larger, more expressive emoticons, and they're becoming a top priority for app-makers hoping to stick audiences to their messaging products. Popular messaging app Line first made stickers a messaging hit with audiences in Asia. Path was one of the first American apps to emulate the hyper-expressive emoji for its member-to-member messaging product, and Facebook was quick to follow suit with its own stickers for person-to-person messages on Web or mobile.
Unlike Facebook, Path charges $1.99 a piece for nearly all 24 of its sticker packs, which include a variety of characters and creatures designed by professional artists. The startup has also worked with the Peanuts brand to make a Snoopy-inspired sticker pack available for purchase.
The addition of stickers to the primary stream should more broadly expose the for-purchase expressive extras to a wider audience, and, in theory, help Path generate more revenue. Yet, Path has remained completely mum on how well its sticker business is doing. A company spokesperson declined to share sticker revenue or pack download figures.
But something must be sticking. Investors are apparently open to awarding the small, 3-year-old startup with a $1 billion valuation in its rumored next round of financing.
Path 3.1 also comes with a reworked interface on iPad, which scraps the old landscape mode, and several other minor design tweaks.