The Facebook-owned WhatsApp, the $19 billion dollar messaging service has announced it’s dropping the $1 annual subscription fee and will not introduce third-party ads to make up the loss.
Founder Jan Koum announced the change during this year’s Digital-Life-Design conference in Munich. Koum explained the $1 charge might not sound like it would break the bank, but it was preventing many people from joining the service.
“For many years, we’ve asked some people to pay a fee for using WhatsApp after their first year. As we’ve grown, we’ve found that this approach hasn’t worked well. 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,” the company said in a blog post.
WhatsApp says it won’t introduce third-part adverts to make up for the lost funds. Claiming instead “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.”
For the most recent update of Whatsapp the changes take affect starting today, it will take a week or two to filter through all the versions of the app.