Over the years, Telegram has proven to be a popular alternative to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It is now about to reach 500 million active users, and as co-founder Pavel Durov approaches plans to start generating revenue in 2021 through premium features and an ad platform.
Such an operation requires some moolah to continue, and the app is updated regularly with new features – just today, always-on voice chats, SD card support and new animations have been introduced. Durov’s savings were the main source of finance so far, but that is not sustainable in the long run. To keep the boat afloat, Telegram has a dual strategy.
First, it plans to introduce paid features in 2021, which will be targeted at businesses and advanced users. Don’t worry, all the features that are currently free will stay that way, forever.
Second, and probably more importantly, you plan to introduce an ad platform that is friendly, respects privacy and allows you to offset the costs of servers and traffic. It is important to note that no ads will be shown in personal or group chats. What can be monetized are public one-to-many channels, some of which have millions of subscribers.
The company says that if it starts generating revenue, it will share the benefits with the community. For example, channel owners “will receive free traffic in proportion to their size”, although it is not exactly clear what that means, and there will be other opportunities, such as profit-paid stickers going to artists.
Fortunately, Durov rejected the idea of selling Telegram to a large corporation, sarcastically pointing to Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp in the process. According to him, the path that the company chose will allow it to continue innovating and growing without losing focus on its values.