Facebook-owned instant messaging platform WhatsApp leads the online chat platform with nearly 1 billion monthly active users, but still continues to lure more users.
The app charges a small annual subscription fee of $0.99 for some of its users after the first year of usage. You may not have experienced the subscription fee and may be wondering. Well, the app offered a free lifetime service to most of its original users. Recent users are asked to subscribe to the service after one year of free access.
However, the company might ditch the policy soon, the company’s founder Jan Koum confirmed. He said the policy has not worked well since a huge number of users lack debit or credit cards and the company does not intend to cut their connection with family and friends. Mr. Koum was speaking in Munich where he attended a Digital-Life-Design Conference. Koum said the company is considering a business based means of maintaining the app after eradicating the annual fee.
The company plans to connect firms directly with the users through the app, charging the companies for the services in the process. Mr. Koum, however, said they have not reached a final decision- temporarily WhatsApp will charge multi-national companies for customer chat and calls services. For instance, an airline communicates to its customers about some inconveniences like flight revocation or some delays, they will be able to do that over the app, he emphasized.
No advertising allowed
Even though doing away with the already small fee means the company must get an alternative source to meet its maintenance costs, WhatsApp is adamant it will not resort to third party ads. WhatsApp will remain ad free, maintaining its ultimate goal of avoiding spam and unnecessary advertisement, a statement on its official blog post confirmed.
The company instead will test tools that allow the users communicate with different business organizations over various issues. It is just like how you may receive a text message or a phone call from your bank or any other business informing you anything about your transactions or any other issue.
Mr. Koum and his co-founder Brian Acton are not relenting on their anti-advertisement policy, the duo confirmed on WhatsApp’s official blog post. The pair says advertisements disrupt aesthetics, interrupt train of thought and insult one’s intelligence, which is contrary to their aim of coming up with the platform. WhatsApp is not interested in the users’ data; rather the app focuses to bring a lovable, inexpensive, and dependable instant messaging experience.
WhatsApp parent company Facebook is already thinking on those lines. A similar feature is already under tests in Facebook Messenger app. The process is ongoing in the U.S.; selected business organizations have been given a go-ahead to pay for the service which will enable them message their clients directly via Messenger.
At a technology conference in Boston, David Wehner – Chief Financial Officer at Facebook – confirmed the possible B2C integration. He thinks that messaging apps can accumulate some huge revenue through B2C services.