WhatsApp has announced that it will be making a change to its business model and will be going subscription free from today onwards. However, there is a small catch which is being introduced in place of the minimal annual fee.
Jan Koum the CEO of Whatsapp, the popular Facebook-owned text-replacement service which currently tallies up at over 900-million users, revealed yesterday that those users will now be able to message and send pics to other users without the 69p/99c 12-monthly charge. But in its place those registered will be submitting their smartphone’s mobile number to third-party companies who can contact them via the app with deals and marketing “relevant” to them. It was confirmed however that Whatsapp will not be introducing third-party advertising.
Koum’s statement reads:
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 want to hear from.
But what exactly does it mean? The CEO continues..
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.
By dropping the paltry payment system Whatsapp can now widen its user base to those who may not have credit card or suitable payment method to use the service in its previous format. No third-party ads shown in the app is a real bonus but we’ll have to wait and see how the new system plays out. Hopefully the communications from businesses is not too intrusive to the much-loved service.
The changes have begun to roll out, but may not take effect until your Whatsapp software next updates.