Popular WhatsApp Messaging Service Kills $1 Subscription Fee, Will Remain Ad-Free
"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," WhatsApp explained in a blog post. "That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight."
It was just shy of two years ago that Facebook acquired the cross-platform messaging service for $19 billion. Nearly a billion people around the globe use WhatsApp to communicate with each other, and while ads might seem like the obvious way to monetize the service, Facebook has proven there are other ways to generate revenue from services.
Over time, sponsored content has found its way into Facebook feeds, but the service is still free and nobody's getting hammered with ads. It's likely Facebook will take a similar approach with WhatsApp. That means the immediate focus will be on getting more businesses into the fold, and then down the road figuring out how to best monetize the effort without ruining the experience for users, and perhaps even enhancing it.
In the meantime, the WhatsApp experience will be as it always has been, sans the dollar you had to fork over after a free one-year trial.