Almost a billion people rely on WhatsApp and today the well-known cross-platform messaging app has made some big changes to the inevitable instant messaging pack, which was extremely popular prior to the staggering $16 billion acuqsition by Facebook in 2014. Now that the company has announced that it will be dropping the $1 subscription charge that over 900 million WhatsApp active users were required to pay after their first year of usage.
What’s up? The most popular alternative messaging app in the world, WhatsApp is getting rid of the already-tiny $0.99 per year subscription cost. Making it the current leader in the instant messaging segment and a big competitor amongst the likes of Viber, WeChat, and even Kik Messenger to rival in some extent, have although increased exponenrially in popularity over the years. With the popularity of a rapid ‘one billion’ milestone, forcing WhatsApp to look at its current menetization strategy as part of that success.
Messaging applications are some of the highly-anticipated and frequently installed apps that mobile users have installed on their devices. WhatsApp promises it’s not replacing the fee with ads, but it is experimenting with ways to partner with business to deliver messages to users in the app itself. For instance, if your bank already texts you notifications about the transaction, WhatsApp wants to handle this directly. What it means?
It is unclear at the far moment on this method of monetizing the app will work, but nevertheless given that the company is owned by Social network giant, Facebook, they likely have some room to test drive.
Here’s what the company sheds insights in a blog post titled “Making WhatsApp free and more useful”:
“As we’ve grown, we’ve found that this approach hasn’t worked well. Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card number and they are worried they’d lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.”
Like other providers of similar services, WhatsApp will now need to come up with a roadmap that introduces a new strategy related to monetization which moves away from charging users for access. Integration of third-party ads has already been dismissed by WhatsApp categorically as a non-starter. What we already seen is that Facebook introduces tweaks such as money transfer and hailing an Uber, into the Messenger app, so there’s a potential for WhatsApp to go down that path going forward.
More interesting is that WhatsApp will “test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from“. Tagline of making WhatsApp pretty useful is going to come to perfection. In the meantime, all users can now use WhatsApp without limitations for free of charge and everyday on any platform.
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