Over the years, Telegram has proven to be a popular alternative to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It is now on the verge of reaching 500 million active users, and as it approaches this stage, co-founder Pavel Durov announced plans to start earning revenue in 2021 through premium features and an advertising platform.
An operation of such magnitude requires something serious moolah to continue, and the application is regularly updated with new features – even today, voice chats have always been introduced, SD card support and new animations. Durov’s savings have so far been the main source of funding, but this is not sustainable in the long run. To keep the boat afloat, Telegram has a two-way strategy.
First, it intends to introduce paid features in 2021, which will be intended for business and power users. Don’t worry, all the features that are currently free will stay that way, forever.
Second, and probably most important, it intends to introduce an easy-to-use advertising platform that respects privacy and allows them to cope with the costs of servers and traffic. It’s important to note that no ads will be shown in personal or group chats. What can be monetized are one-to-many public channels, some of which have millions of subscribers.
The company claims that if it starts earning income, it will share the benefits of the community. For example, channel owners will “receive free traffic in proportion to their size”, although it is not clear what this means and there will be other opportunities, such as stickers paid with profits for artists.
Fortunately, Durov rejected the idea of ever selling a Telegram to a large corporation, strictly emphasizing Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp in the process. According to him, the route chosen by the company will allow him to continue to innovate and grow, without losing focus on its values.