Facebook’s WhatsApp is now entirely free and this means this annual subscription fees are no longer apply starting from yesterday. The CEO Jan Koum said the $1 per year fee was going to be abolished. In a blog post, they made it clear that they won’t be replacing the new initiative with ads. WhatsApp which is now approaching a billion users is now towing the Facebook Messenger line in the sense of focusing more on a strong user base before business. This has been part of Facebook’s business model all along.
WhatsApp’s growth over the years(Source: Business Insider)
So does WhatsApp plan to make money from its nearly 1 billion users?
The answer may be found in a statement made by the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who said “What we decided was that over the long term, the ads and monetization would perform better if there was an organic interaction between people using the product and businesses. “So instead of focusing on ads first, what we did was we built pages, and we made that free, that way as many businesses as possible could get into the network.”
This means that businesses may soon have direct interactions with you within the app for a fee in future. Interactions that could range from services like taxi to ecommerce and according to WhatsApp such services are going to be tested this year; “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 organizations that you wantto 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“
Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19b/3.7tr Naira/1.9tr KES in 2014 at which time they had over 400 million users.