I found this great statement made by the WhatsApp founders on their blog about why they don’t rely on ads and instead charge customers for the service. This is getting recirculated now that WhatsApp is looking at being acquired by Facebook at a valuation of around $19B. It interesting to see that while tons of apps rely on advertising as a key part of their business model there are companies who strive to go against it. Whats surprising is that their experience of working at an advertising behemoth, Yahoo, strengthened their resolve even more.
Advertising isn’t just the disruption of aesthetics, the insults to your intelligence and the interruption of your train of thought. At every company that sells ads, a significant portion of their engineering team spends their day tuning data mining, writing better code to collect all your personal data, upgrading the servers that hold all the data and making sure it’s all being logged and collated and sliced and packaged and shipped out … And at the end of the day the result of it all is a slightly different advertising banner in your browser or on your mobile screen.
Remember, when advertising is involved you the user are the product.
At WhatsApp, our engineers spend all their time fixing bugs, adding new features and ironing out all the little intricacies in our task of bringing rich, affordable, reliable messaging to every phone in the world. That’s our product and that’s our passion. Your data isn’t even in the picture. We are simply not interested in any of it.