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Line sends sweet music and stickers to help you forget WhatsApp

Caitlin McGarry | Aug. 14, 2014
Ariana Grande and Paul McCartney don't seem to have much in common. They both make pop music, but that's where the similarities end. Except Grande and McCartney are both using Line, the 3-year-old free messaging app, to keep their fans in the know.

Line thinks of stickers as a form of communication that can replace words altogether. An update for Android last week introduced a suggest feature that lets users search for stickers by keyword. If you want to say "bye" to a friend, typing "bye" in the text box will turn up stickers and emoji that might convey that for you.

The sticker strategy may seem silly or childish — I confess to being a sticker skeptic — but Kim said Line has bigger plans for stickers. The app may become an e-commerce portal where you send stickers to brands to make a purchase. For instance, you could send the official account for Domino's Pizza a pizza sticker and wait for the pepperoni pie to show up at your door.

"It's not just the sticker, it's what the sticker enables," Kim said.

Line also makes money off its games, which could soon see celebrity tie-ins. Kim said there are two elements to in-app gaming. The first is gamification through the official accounts, things like contests. Line is also in talks with musicians to create games together, which could be huge money-makers. Kim Kardashian isn't even a singer and her mobile game is raking in heaps of cash by using a tried-and-true tactic Line knows well: the in-app purchase.


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