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WhatsApp Drops Subscription Fee

     
5:29 pm on Jan 18, 2016 (gmt 0)

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It probably costs more to administer the $1 per person than is worthwhile. Now it's got a following it can make moves to arrange deals with other services. Without being specific, it mentions banks, but I can also imagine it being used to hail a cab, book a restaurant, etc., all within the WhatsApp Facebook ecosystem.

Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today's announcement means we're introducing third-party ads. The answer is no. Starting this year, 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. 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. WhatsApp Drops Subscription Fee [blog.whatsapp.com]
12:56 am on Jan 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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That subscription was what kept me off WhatsApp to begin with. I wasn't going to pay .99 every year for a messaging app nobody I know used. IMHO there are better, more secure messaging apps out there for free.

On the security side, WhatsApp does incorporate Whisper Systems' end-to-end encryption technology, which you can get for free in the Signal app. If your friends are on WhatsApp make sure you have the secure messaging enabled.
12:07 pm on Jan 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I have used WhatsApp, but not so much recently. I guess they aren't going to get my $1.

According the reports, it has over 900 million users. I'm one of them, but not a user today. Do the maths, that's potentially turning off income of $900 million dollars.
6:28 pm on Jan 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I never knew they had a subscription fee...

My wife uses it all the time but in her business she deals with people from India and Nepal a lot, so she is always having to switch between Line (popular in Thailand), whatsapp (popular in India), and viber (popular in Nepal), and of course, facebook.
10:34 pm on Jan 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Reading comments elsewhere a lot of people were unaware of the .99 fee. Most people never paid. Sounds like the iOS version initially had the fee, but then WhatsApp made the first year free and told users subsequent years would cost .99. However, that fee was rarely charged, so they're not really giving up all that much by dropping the fee. My guess would be that it was difficult to pull off the free/paid switch across the Android/Apple app stores.