Before deleting it because of my annoying relatives, WhatsApp was the best messenger for me to communicate with extended family overseas without willingly having to pay anything. Then the company implemented a $.99 subscription fee that wasn’t a big deal to a Rockefeller like me, but was to the millions of WhatsApp users who don’t own a debit or credit card.
So, in a downright crazy and unheard of move, the company is putting customer satisfaction ahead of dollar signs and doing away with its subscription fee. The company made the announcement on its blog and said the pay model was a grave concern for users who were afraid they would lose touch with family after their free period was over.
“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 mobile messaging company wrote. “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.”
No more fees doesn’t necessarily mean to prepare ourselves for spam because WhatsApp also promised it won’t be bombarding users with third-party ads now that it’s going free again. Instead, the company hopes “to work with businesses and organizations you want to hear from.” Meaning we may soon be able to receive, “Hey, did you just make an online purchase for something called Star Whores?” WhatsApp messages from our banks.
WhatsApp said that because we get these messages via other platforms anyway, we may as well get them through their service. “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.”
Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014 for a staggering $19 billion, a sum Mark Zuckerberg said was nothing for a company worth way more than that because “very few services reach one billion in the world.” Shortly after, Forbes predicted the company could be worth as much as $100 billion.
(Via The Verge)