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TheStreet Open House

Why Marissa Mayer Just Bought the Next Snapchat

Updated from 9:16 a.m. to include data from Sandvine.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Yahoo! (YHOO) has yet to receive the utimate windfall from its 22.6% stake in Alibaba, but CEO Marissa Mayer is spending money again, this time on Blink, a clone of Snapchat.

In a post to its Web site, Blink noted that as of Tuesday it would be joining Yahoo!, and that over the next few weeks, Blink, which is available on both Apple's (AAPL) iOS and Google's (GOOG) Android, would be shutting down.

"We built Blink because we believe everyone should be free to show the same honesty and spontaneity in their online conversations as they can in person," Blink said in the post. "We look forward to the possibilities that will come from bringing the Blink vision to Yahoo."

Blink is a Snapchat-clone, in that it allows users to send "self-destructing text messages, audio, sketches, video, & photos." Privacy is the chief concern of the messaging app.

With this acquisition, Mayer, true to form, is seen making an acqui-hire (a purchase for people, not products), and won't be keeping the product up and running.

According to a Yahoo! spokesperson, "The entire team behind Blink and Kismet will be joining our mobile team in Sunnyvale where they will focus on smart communication products."

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

On Yahoo!'s first-quarter earnings call, Mayer laid out what some of the recent acqui-hires have given to Yahoo! products, as she makes hiring engineers, specifically mobile engineers, a top priority.

"The Alike and Summly teams for example build News Digest," Mayer said on the call. "The teams from Rockmelt, Snip.it and Tumblr came together to develop the digital magazines platform. The Xobni team utilized their technology and our user's data to bring smarter contacts to Yahoo! Mail. The teams from Distill and Bread played a key role in building our new comprehensive advertiser offering, Yahoo! Ad Manager Plus and OnTheAir developed the popular Loops feature on the Sports App. And finally PlayerScale worked to launch the Yahoo! Games network."

It's likely that Yahoo! Messenger, perhaps Yahoo!'s least-talked-about mobile app, will integrate some of the features from Blink, including self-destructing texts and videos, given how popular Snapchat has become. According to recent statistics, Snapchat has more than 60 million users, with half of them active, who are sending more than 200 million snaps a day.

Research firm Sandvine noted Snapchat "generated more traffic than any other third-party messaging app on North American mobile networks, and on one network accounted for an astonishing 12% of total traffic on New Year's Eve."

The company earlier this month added a new feature that allows users to hold conversations inside the app, conversing with friends like they do on instant messages, except the IMs disappear once the app is closed.

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