WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum has announced that the popular chat service will be scrapping fees and bringing deeper business integration.
WhatsApp has consistently charged a yearly fee of 99 cents/69p in order to keep the service free of advertisements, so it’s not clear exactly how the company plans to make money once the payment is scrapped. The move to an ad-based service would likely disappoint a lot of people, though it could be that Facebook plans to capitalize on the sheer amount of user data and make money in a different way altogether.
Thankfully, WhatsApp has stated that an ad-based service will not be coming to the platform in the near future. In a blog post released by the company, they stated a shift towards capturing business users with their focus on integrating company accounts directly into your chats.
WhatsApp said that the improvements could mean “communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight”.
The fee is still currently in place and the company has not confirmed when it will be completely filtered out, with Koum simply saying that it will happen “over the next few weeks.”
When the fees are scrapped, it will be interesting to see how WhatsApp aims to monetize the loses.
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