The Facebook owned messaging service WhatsApp is dropping the $0.99 annual subscription fee.
WhatsApp announced today to become completely free. So far WhatsApp users had to pay $0.99 per year after the first year. While this is not a lot of money, it is hassle.
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In a statement the company wrote: "Many WhatsApp users don't have a debit or credit card number and they worried they'd lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we'll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service."
WhatsApp also said it will not run ads to compensate for the lost income through subscription fees. The future money maker for WhatsApp are new tools that allow users to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that they want to hear from.
WhatsApp example uses include communicating with a bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight.
The massive messaging service has over 900 million users. To monetize this massive amount of users, the company has to be very careful to not trigger a revolt. Todays' announcement sounds though very promising. It will make WhatsApp easier to use for most users.
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The users that want to adopt it for communicating with companies enable WhatsApp to make money either from the user and/or from the businesses.