WhatsApp in Search of a Business Model

So today we apparently heard that WhatsApp is going to discontinue all consumer-centric monetisation, such as charging for the app or charging any subscription fees. Instead content owners and business that want to interact with me have to pay for connecting with the 900m user base.

Not obvious what that means for the WhatsApp user experience and how attractive this channel will be for advertisers. Seems like early days.

But what is obvious is that this is another indicator for how difficult it is to monetize consumer products, where advertising (especially on mobile and also in the context of communication services) really doesn’t work very well and where it’s incredibly hard to get people to pay beyond an initial app download fee.

And even that is hard enough.

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