Telegram is one of the most feature-rich instant messaging platforms out there, and also happens to be one that puts maximum effort when it comes to ensuring privacy. However, it appears that Telegram’s burgeoning user base is putting some financial strain on the company, and it is now looking to churn revenue starting next year to cover the operational costs. The method? Ads, of course!
Telegram CEO Pavel Durov announced in a post that the company will start pushing ads in channels, which the company says ‘can have millions of subscribers each’ and often feature intrusive ads. But that’s just about it when it comes to Telegram’s ad ambitions. Personal 1-on-1 chats will not have ads, and the same applies for group conversations.
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Durov notes that personal communication between people should not be littered with ads in any form. And as such, the messaging part of Telegram will remain free of ads in the foreseeable future. Plus, all the Telegram features that are currently free will continue to remain free, and that the platform will be free for users – FOREVER.
“Our massive public one-to-many channels can have millions of subscribers each and are more like Twitter feeds. 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. 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.”
Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov
Regarding Telegram’s revenue generation plans, Durov mentioned that the company will introduce some new features for business teams and demanding users that are more resource-intensive. The cost associated with offering these additional features will be covered by this premium class of Telegram users.
Talking about ads, Durov revealed that Telegram will monetize them via its own Ad Platform in large channels. In return for showing ads, the company will offer the owners ‘free traffic in proportion to their size’, but more details on how this exactly fans out are still under the wraps. Another mutually beneficial scenario pointed out by the Telegram chief is that artists behind premium content such as exclusive stickers will get a share of the profit.
Durov also took a shot at WhatsApp, lambasting it for setting a bad example by selling itself to a larger corporation (read: Facebook) for financial security. “The world needs Telegram to stay independent as a place where users are respected and high-quality service is ensured,” he added. Interestingly, Durov claims to have been covering the costs of operating Telegram from his own pockets so far, but the rapid growth has forced him to look at other sources of revenue generation, eventually zeroing in on ads.