Telegram to start monetising app as it nears 500mn users

(IANS) Sending an alert to WhatsApp, Telegram Founder Pavel Durov on Wednesday said that the instant messaging app will start generating revenue starting next year as the platform is close to hitting the 500 million user mark.

Making the announcement in his Telegram channel, Durov said that all the features that are currently free will stay free.

“We will add some new features for business teams or power users. Some of these features will require more resources and will be paid for by these premium users. Regular users will be able to keep enjoying Telegram — for free, forever,” he said.

Moreover, the platform plans to introduce an ad platform for public one-to-many channels, while all parts of Telegram devoted to messaging will remain ad-free.

“We think that displaying ads in private 1-to-1 chats or group chats is a bad idea,” Durov noted.

The Telegram Founder pointed out that in addition to its messaging component, Telegram has a social networking dimension.

The public one-to-many channels can have millions of subscribers each and are more like Twitter feeds, he said.

“In many markets the owners of such channels display ads to earn money, sometimes using third-party ad platforms. The ads they post look like regular messages, and are often intrusive,” Durov said.

“We will fix this by introducing our own Ad Platform for public one-to-many channels — one that is user-friendly, respects privacy and allows us to cover the costs of servers and traffic,” he added.

Durov said that he is “not going to sell the company like the founders of Whatsapp.”

Owned by Facebook, WhatsApp has over two billion monthly users globally.

“The world needs Telegram to stay independent as a place where users are respected and high-quality service is ensured,” said Durov who is one of the biggest critics of WhatsApp.

“If Telegram starts earning money, the community should also benefit. For example, If we monetize large public one-to-many channels via the Ad Platform, the owners of these channels will receive free traffic in proportion to their size,” the Telegram Founder said.

“Or, if Telegram introduces premium stickers with additional expressive features, the artists who make stickers of this new type will also get a part of the profit. We want millions of Telegram-based creators and small businesses to thrive, enriching the experience of all our users.”

Telegram’s move to monetise the platform comes after it decided to abandon a blockchain token project due to regulatory hurdles.

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