With WhatsApp founder Jan Koum’s announcement of the annual subscription of 99 cents being called off, there is speculation that WhatsApp might start putting up advertisements in the company’s efforts to get more businesses on its platform for the long run.
While Koum citing unavailability of credit cards around the world said that the move was to break free the barriers of communication, he also admitted that the company was seeing a lot of businesses trying to get customers on WhatsApp. He said that the company could really make it easy for these businesses to reach them.
So what does this mean? Are we all set to get messages from all kinds of businesses like a pizza joint, telecom companies, real estate, banks and airlines?
Another worry is also due to the fact what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during the earnings call last year. Zuckerberg had said that the approach on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger was same as to what Facebook did in 2006 and 2007 while people were calling to move banner advertisements.
“What we decided was that over the long term, the ads and monetisation would perform better if there was an organic interaction between people using the product and businesses,” he had said. “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.”
Facebook then built analytics and added the business opportunity on top of it. “The long term bet is that by enabling people to have good organic interactions with businesses, that will end up being a massive multiplier on the value of the monetisation down the road when we work on that and really focus on that in a bigger way,” he said.
“So we’d ask for some patience on this to do this correctly, and the game plan will be more similar to what we did in Facebook with News Feed.”
So, the question is are we going to see advertisements on WhatsApp too in the near future as it tries to change its revenue model?