Good news for users, as WhatsApp will be subscription free and ad free starting in the coming weeks since the company decided to renounce their $1 per year fee. It seems that the world’s most used messaging app is taking a step in a different direction. According to the company, it will be one that would create new ties between users and other businesses.
Two years ago, Facebook surprised many in Silicon Valley when it purchased WhatsApp for a whopping $20 billion. The app was, at the time, unpopular around American markets, but has since soared. In fact, since its purchase, it has become the world’s most famous messaging app, topping 900 million monthly active users (MAU). It’s an incredible achievement that might soon be reached also by another Facebook-owned app, Facebook Messenger, now at 800 million MAU.
Overall, it seems Facebook is rather comfortable as far as messaging services are concerned.
Since its inception, WhatsApp has had one clear and unchanging business model: the first year was free, and then users would have to pay $1 for each year of service. However, according to WhatsApp founder, Jan Koum, that “really doesn’t work for some people”. They either do not possess a credit card, bank account, or other means to purchase their service. Even more, there are many options out there that are entirely free.
In the coming weeks, WhatsApp will become a completely free app and the yearly fee will be eliminated. Koum underlined the fact that they will not be putting in ads, to sooth its current user database. However, that does not mean that they will not start monetizing the service in the future. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg mentioned two years ago what his strategy would be.
According to Zuckerberg, “products don’t really get that interesting to turn into businesses until they have about 1 billion people using them”. In turn, that could mean that once WhatsApp hits the 1 billion mark, then the company will implement a strategy to start monetizing its services. If blog statements for the app are true, that’s not too far into the future. WhatsApp now boasts “almost a billion” monthly active users.
In the meantime, Koum expressed their wish to expand on the services of WhatsApp. Specifically, they want it to become a means of communication between the users and numerous businesses, such as restaurants, banks, or airlines. It could be used for notifications, such as delayed flights, or even making a dinner reservation.
Other services such as WeChat and Tencent are already offering such options for users in China. It’s possible that WhatsApp will make the same offer in the coming weeks across the other countries.
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