Whatsapp goes free and says it will not rely on adverts for revenue, but will introduce ways for users to chat to businesses
Users of WhatsApp will no longer have to worry about subscription fee after its founder ,Jan Koum, announced Monday that the company is dropping the service’s annual subscription fee in an effort to remove the barriers some users faced in using the service.
“It really doesn’t work that well,” Koum said Monday, speaking at the DLD conference in Munich. He noted that while a buck a year might not sound like much, access to credit cards is not ubiquitous. “We just don’t want people to think at some point their communication to the world will be cut off,” recode reported.
However, Koum promised that WhatsApp would not follow Facebook and Instagram in introducing adverts, saying that it would fund itself with business accounts.
In a blog post, WhatsApp said "Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today’s announcement means we’re introducing third-party ads. The answer is no."
"Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organisations that you want to hear from."
"That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today – through text messages and phone calls – so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam."
WhatsApp required users to pay subscription fee for using the app after their first year.
Many WhatsApp users don't have a debit or credit card number, according to the company, and "they worried they'd lose access to their friends and family after their first year."
WhatsApp has nearly 500 million users, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who's firm acquired the messaging app for $ 19 billion.