WhatsApp has been around for around six years now, and most people haven’t ever paid a subscription fee or even knew that one existed as most were given a free lifetime service. Well, the company has now decided to cancel this fee and as such it is now totally free. The company also announced that the app will be remaining ad-free.
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WhatsApp started making people pay for its WhatsApp subscriptions a few years ago – to monetise its efforts. It cost 0,99$ for an annual subscription after the free first year was up, something that the company now regrets because it didn’t really work out as planned. In a blog post, the company admits that,
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.
Within the next few weeks, the company will be removing the fees from the app and thus they “will no longer charge you” for service. There is a catch though. WhatsApp isn’t prepared to give a refund to users who have paid so far. Unfortunately. But, on the upside, it’s only 99 cents, right?
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The app is extremely popular, with nearly 1 billion users using it at the moment. But, it’s obvious that the company wants many more people to use it, and seems to be planning to turn it into something a little more interactive, without changing its original focus though. As the company announced in its blog post
We will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from. That means you might be able to send WhatsApp messages to your bank or airlines in the future.
It also explains that it is not planning on enabling third-party ads and is staying very much in line with what it set out to be – a one-to-one app opposed to ads. WhatsApp’s founders have always been totally against ads.