WhatsApp says that it will never give in to the temptation of advertising
WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum has claimed that the company’s messaging platform is now bigger than Twitter and has promised its app will never carry advertising.
Speaking at D: Dive Into Mobile, Koum said that Whatsapp handles as many as 20 billion messages every day, more than are produced by Twitter’s 200 million active monthly users.
Since it was first launched in 2009, WhatsApp has become the most used independent smartphone application in nearly every country in the world. However it does not carry advertising, something that Koum says it will never do.
He told AllThingsD that it would continue with its policy of charging a 69p per year subscription fee on iOS and Android. WhatsApp also generates revenue from agreements with international telecos, contributing to a total income of around $100 million a year.
WhatsApp is believed to have had a real impact on the use of SMS messages. It is believed that the increased use of social messaging applications cost mobile operators $13.9 billion (£8.8bn) in lost SMS revenues in 2011.
Koum said that the key to monetisation was to create the platform and the revenue model would follow. He said that the increased adoption of smartphones across the world represented a huge opportunity for the company, but until then it would resist the temptation of adding advertisements.
He said that WhatsApp was proud of its anti-advertising philosophy and felt that because phones are so personal to people, it would be wrong to intrude on people’s conversations with the loved ones. He added that there were plenty of successful businesses that don’t use advertising and that WhatsApp wants to be one of them.
WhatsApp’s success has encouraged many suitors, with reports suggesting that either Facebook or Google could be readying a bid. The company denied reports last week that a $1 billion (£653m) takeover by Google was imminent.
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