Over the years, Telegram has proven to be a popular alternative to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It is now on track to reach 500 million active users, and as it approaches this milestone, co-founder Pavel Durov has announced plans to start earning revenue in 2021 through premium features and an advertising platform.
An operation of such a scale requires something serious moolah to continue, and the app is regularly updated with new features – just today, voice chats, SD card support and new animations were always introduced. Durov’s savings were the primary source of funding until now, but it is not sustainable in the long run. To keep the boat afloat, Telegram has a two-pronged strategy.
First, it plans to introduce paid features in 2021 that will target business and power users. Don’t worry, all the features that are currently free will stay there forever.
Second, and probably even more importantly, it plans to introduce an advertising platform that is user-friendly, respects privacy, and allows them to compensate for the cost of servers and traffic. It’s important to note that no ads appear in either personal or group chats. What can make money is the public one-to-many channels, some of which have millions of subscribers.
The company claims that if it starts earning revenue, it will share benefits with the community. For example, channel owners will “receive free traffic according to their size”, although it is not exactly clear what this means, and there will be other options such as paid stickers with profits for the artists.
Fortunately, Durov rejected the idea of ever selling Telegram to a large company and soon pointed out Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp in the process. According to him, the route that the company has chosen will allow it to continue to innovate and grow without losing focus on its values.