WhatsApp will ditch its $1 per year subscription fee

Is $1 per year too much? Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

Is $1 per year too much? Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

WhatsApp will ditch the service’s annual subscription fees, after founder Jan Koum admitted that the $1 per year payment concept “doesn’t work that well.”

As a result of ditching the payment model, Koum explained that WhatsApp will be looking at new ways that businesses can use the service to connect with individual users, although it’s important that this is done without spamming people with ads. He noted that, “We haven’t written a single line of code yet” for the new service.

As WhatsApp explains in a related blog post:

“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.

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.”

Given that WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, it makes sense to bring its business model in line with the strategy used by the company’s other standalone messaging service Facebook Messenger. With that said, it’s going to be fascinating to watch how WhatsApp plans to make up the money that it’s losing, without making fundamental changes which could potentially scare off existing users.

How do you think WhatsApp should structure its new business model? Leave your comments below.

Source: Re/code