WhatsApp processes more than 18 billion messages per day and is bigger than Twitter, claims company co-founder and CEO Jan Koum. However, the mobile messaging app has no plans to market its platform through advertising.
“We have an anti-advertising policy and we’re proud of it. Who likes to see ads? We are so bombarded by ads in our daily life that we feel that smartphones are not the place for them,” said Koum.
“Our phones are so closely connected to us, to our lives. Putting advertising on this kind of device is a bad idea. No one wants to be interrupted with ads when they are talking or chatting with their loved ones.”
The executive shared his thoughts during an online conference on Tuesday that was followed in several cities. The conference was organized by All Things D, in New York, and streamed by D: Dive Into Mobile.
Koum admitted that the company does have a strategy to earn more revenue, but he insisted it bypasses the advertising market. As the number of people with access to an Internet-connected phone increases, it will become “extremely easy to monetize the application,” he said.
“We are looking at a world that will have billions of phones. And once that happens, it will become extremely easy to gain financial benefit. But a lot more people need to join the smartphone revolution and a larger number will need to buy more goods via their phones,” he added.
WhatsApp currently offers SMS service at a cost of $0.99 cents beginning with the second year of use, since the first year is free (with subscription depending on the OS). The app allows users to exchange unlimited messages without having to pay for SMS.
“We want a great product and a great experience for the user,” said Koum.
“WhatsApp is now bigger than Twitter, which claims to have 200 million monthly active users. We are processing eight billion incoming messages and 12 billion outgoing messages,” said Koum during the online conference, which was also attended by Google and Facebook executives.
The application, which was launched in 2009, seems to have no boundaries thanks to its immediacy, scope, and almost-free format. It’s no wonder that companies such as Google and Facebook have openly expressed their interest in buying the company, but WhatsApp has said it is not in any talks to sell.