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Remember when WhatsApp required a subscription? One of the first changes made by Facebook after purchasing WhatsApp was to make it available for free. And now they're complaining they can't milk it enough? Oh dear.

I know that a percentage of WhatsApp users would stop using the app if they started requiring a payment again –because apparently paying $1 per year for using an application on your $999 phone is outrageous, but I wonder why can't they just make it an option again as an alternative to ads.

You are completely mistaken if you think adding a subscription-only would not reduce usage of WhatsApp by 10x at least. I am an Indian (WhatsApp's biggest market by far), and know for a fact that hardly 1% of people using it right now in India would be able/willing to set up a payment system AND willing to pay $1 for it (which is not as inexpensive as you think) when there are so many free alternatives. And then it immediately loses its value as a messaging platform (since if my relatives/friends are off it due to forced subscription, what will I do on WhatsApp even though I am ok paying $1). #networkEffect

So adding forced subscription is a definite death sentence for WhatsApp. Also remember that even if everyone of the 1B people did pay $1 for the service, it will still be impossible for FB to recoup $19B it purchased WhatsApp for.

On the other hand, I would love a "Ad-free" mode for people who are willing to pay (like YT Premium), and ads to support other 99.xx%.

But those who can afford to pay (either for WhatsApp or for YT Premium) are typically the ones most lucrative for the advertisers. So if I am in charge of such products, what is the incentive for me to invest into these efforts which are only going to add complexity while not making any extra money? What is the compelling reason for offering an Ad-free mode if it is going to be adopted by a tiny fraction?

Because as someone who's willing to pay to not have ads, ads are a non-starter for me. If they're forced upon me, I'll switch products, and force anyone I communicate with to switch products to continue communicating with me. (If an individual won't install Signal, I'll drop down to SMS/email for them.)

In my experience, no, you can’t force alternatives on your friends and family, unless it’s an alternative they already have.

No, they won’t install Signal. If that were a real possibility, you would have done it already. So SMS it is. But I wonder, isn’t SMS more expensive than $1 / year? SMS has had outrageously high rates compared with 3G.

In some parts of the world that’s precisely the reason for WhatsApp’s popularity.

My non-tech friends can and have and do install signal, I’m pleased to say! It costs nothing, takes them a few minutes, and there’s no downside for them. I use it all the time.

agreed - I politely ask and if they dont I make my case.

SMS is plaintext - full stop.

> If that were a real possibility, you would have done it already.

Well, no, because I'm perfectly happy using WhatsApp in its current state.

SMS has been free (or very nearly free) for at least ten years over here. Pretty much any phone plan comes with unlimited messages or something like 10k/month, which most users won't reach.

If you can't charge people even $1 for your product, then I would argue that you might as well close up now. As others pointed out, ads won't work either, because if you can't afford to pay $1 for WhatsApp, then I'm not going to be able to profit from showing you ads.

Ads aren't magical things you can slap on a product to make it profitable. For ads to work you need an audience that technically could pay for you product, but who opts not to. You need to understand that Google isn't a create example of ads working, they are the exception. Facebook sort of works, but the US (and to a minor extend the EU) audience subsidies the rest of the user base.

Your right in that the $1, even at $1 per year, Facebook wouldn't be able to recoup the purchase price of WhatsApp. They won't be able to anyway, WhatsApp was never worth $19B. Facebook vastly overpay for the company. The WhatsApp purchase should be seen solely as a way of removing a company that "stole" screen time from Facebook, and now they're looking for an excuse to shut it down and roll the users into Facebook Messenger.

"if you can't charge people even $1 for your product...."

Only folks aren't always just paying $1. He's describing folks needing to set up a freaking payment system for a small amount of money - and that some folks aren't going to be able to do that and others aren't going to be willing. That's even before you get into the actual payment of $1. And this is before even considering there are other free apps that will work. There is a limit to the inconvenience folks will go through for your product if there are simpler alternatives, and being blind to this sort of thing could kill your company.

It also doesn't mean that folks cannot profit from ads. It isn't like all ads require you to pay through the internet - On my phone, I've gotten ads from a local coffee shop chain. I liken this sort of ad a cable tv ad. It might not get folks clicking on a website, but it might get folks in your store.

I don't understand all this talk of "setting up a freaking payment system" like it's some huge technical hurdle? Do the vast majority of people not get WhatsApp through the Play Store / App Store? Isn't adding a debit / credit card or purchasing a topup card for these trivial?

All this is besides the fact that we're talking about making the subscription model an option in addition to the ad-supported model, not forcing a subscription on everyone. I don't think a single person in this thread has suggested that apart from the people using is as a straw man.

You have to know WhatsApp's user base to understand this. Here in germany it's the de-facto standard communication platform. Everyone and their mother uses WhatsApp - and I mean that literally: Lots of old, non-tech-savvy folks use the service - the kind that even see creating an account as a barrier big enough to not use the service. I still think using the phone number as account was a genius move that enabled wide-spread adoption. Anyway, my mother and her peers don't have a Paypal account, no credit card (this is germany after all, credit cards can't be expected), certainly don't have a payment method attached to their Apple ID or Google Account (You'd be surprised how many people only use free apps). Yet all of them use Whatsapp happily and quite frictionlessly.

These folks are very wary of subscriptions, regarding them as potential scams or traps and while I'm sure Whatsapp would be successful even with a recurring price tag, I'm confident the service would be nowhere near as ubiquitous as it currently is.

Okay. But not so long ago people had to pay for WhatsApp, no? Has the user base grown tremendously since it became free (i.e. because it became free)? One of the points made earlier is that before being bought by Facebook WhatsApp was a profitable operation. If that was the case then there is clearly an argument for having a relatively low cost subscription based offering...

I'm not sure if they actually ever enforced their payment/subscription. I certainly haven't been charged, but I was a user before that started if I remember correctly.

It didn't "become" free. It has always been free for some significant fraction of the userbase. As was mentioned repeatedly all over the comments here, many people have never seen the payment screen at all.

no way. I've been using android for years but never added my card details on play store. although I have a 700£ phone, I intend to spend 0£ on play store.

I would pay for whatsup through paypal or something like that.

Whatsapp already supports payments in India through UPI. Setting it up is quite trivial, and if people deem WhatsApp central to their social graph, they'll buy the app.

However India is an extremely price conscious country, and many people would jump ship if WhatApp switches to subscription only. I tend to think that people would tolerate WhatsApp ads if they get the app free.

It will be interesting to see how this will play out.

If they go with ads, I'd be very interested in seeing what kind of revenue that would generate. I believe that Facebook reported around $1.30 in revenue, per user, per year in Asia in 2016.

I still think it's weird to have a product that worth so little to people that they won't pay a dollars a year, and yet it seems to essential in their everyday life.

Regardless, it won't get Facebook the billions they spend on WhatApps back.

Most insightful comment here

Probably not representative but in my circle, 90% people did pay for whatsapp before FB bought it out. The rest either had lifetime subscription through iOS AppStore or changed their phone numbers every year just to use whatsapp.

Whatsapp is the only software I've seen Indians pay for without thinking twice. 60 rupees per year is very easy to shell out especially when it replaces SMS which would cost you many times more.

The problem in India is not that people won't pay for whatsapp, it's that majority of the people don't have a way to pay. Very small percentage of whatsapp users own credit/debit cards. If a service could integrate with telcos and let users pay through them, I'm sure a lot of Indian users would pay for a lot more services than they do right now.

Given their market penetration in India, it wouldn't surprise me if they went so far as to set up in-person payment infrastructure. Wouldn't have to be complicated - it could even be like the Steam or Hulu gift cards you pick up at BestBuy. Any shop or market stall could sell them, just ship 'em out en masse and charge the store when they activate, possibly via the app.

>If a service could integrate with telcos and let users pay through them, I'm sure a lot of Indian users would pay for a lot more services than they do right now.

Many of the telecos, however don't want their user's on WhatsApp, they want them to use SMS, I remember Airtel and other's complaining to the government about OTT services, and trying to force the government to introduce a licensing regime for them.

If WhatsApp has to depend on telecos, they for sure will screw it.

Nothing can compete with 0 rupees.

Also unlimited SMS are free these days.

How many rupees does the extra data for a year's worth of ads cost? Or are unlimited data plans common in India?

Unlimited data plans are not common in India.

On Airtel, which I use- 4G data 2Gb/day, Unlimited SMS, Unlimited calls(Anywhere in India), for 90 days, comes to like $9(around 599 rupees).

This is a pre-paid plan.

I can't think of anything that's for purchase on this planet that is actually cheaper than one freaking dollar per year.

If someone can't pay that they're a waste of bandwidth for facebook's ads, since they can't afford to purchase anything at all.

If what you say is true Facebook can pull the plug on India completely and save money. I doubt that what you say is true.

Problem is how to collect that dollar. Appstore model will not work. I think they will need to partner with telecoms provider for this.

Why won't an app store payment work? The app stores have subscription support and carrier billing.

And they take a cut of an already very small transaction.

Then have it be regional and have European users pay 1 $/€.

You can't beat free. That would result in a huge migration to FB Messenger (does it have groups?) and Telegram (which has much better groups anyway) and others.

> Messenger (does it have groups?)

Yes, and they're a PITA on so many levels. Also, Messenger already has ads.

> Telegram (which has much better groups anyway)

Yes, groups, and especially supergroups (which are highly reminiscent of IRC) are downright awesome.

How valuable is that type of market to advertisers anyways.

I don't know how you can seriously argue that $1/year is "not as inexpensive as you think." Even in poor countries, that subscription fee is ridiculously low.

Talk about living in a bubble. +everything drdaeman@ said above.

There are more people using WhatsApp in India (thanks to popularity of image/video/voice-messages) than who can actually read or have usable Bank accounts. If you think they can pay "$1" for something they can get for free (and have been using for free in past), then you are completely out of touch of reality. Apart from the amount (which is not trivial btw), there is no concept of digital payment for masses.

Also I know it's hard for HN crowd to understand, but the concept of paying to protect "Privacy" is completely foreign for majority of the users in the world. I can guarantee you majority of the users (at least in India) will happily let you track them, show targeted ads at them, give you all the personal details you need, heck even give your their Genome for for free without even blinking an eyelid. And I am not saying this is just because of ignorance on their part, but rather "Who cares if they track me" - I get free services in return.

And this is actually not a bad setup really (again I know HN crowd will get their pitchforks out at it): Show Ads to provide actual free services (like WhatsApp, Google search, Maps, etc) to the masses. It's much better IMO then charging for these services and never have the masses be able to use them (like "GPS" would be a premium service for rich people).

Disclaimer: All opinions expressed are mine and only mine and have no connection to my employer (Google).

So what's a dollar to an average Indian whatsapp user. An hour's wage, a day, week?

The average wage for most kind of hard labour is around ₹200/hour or ₹600/day in cities, which will be around $3/hour or $10/day. I believe the bigger issue is the payment system rather than money, most Indians don't use digital payments

Nothing. For poor it might make them think for a few seconds, but its still nothing.

The real issue is they can't compete with $0.

Also best way WhatsApp can work around this is to just ship their app with the phone, and bill the phone $1 * avg life of the phone.

There are a lot of cheapskates who believe anything over $0.00/forever is too much. I don't really know how many there are, but in some places (anecdotally and quite subjectively, especially poorer areas) there are people that just object to paying anything if there's a way to get something remotely similar for free. Even if that way ends up costing more in wasted time or sacrificed privacy or self-respect.

Heck, I think I'd admit was like that, once upon a time. I stopped only when I started earning enough to be able to spend relatively liberally, sometimes even without looking at the exact price, as well recognized my time's worth something too.

$1 is a meal. You can't eat Whatsapp

You can't eat a smartphone either but all of these theoretical people with zero disposable income seem to have them for some reason.

and if you can't afford $1 / year FB doesn't give two shits about you because you have no disposable income anyway.

They probably do care, indirectly. They want as many people as possible on their service. Maybe you don't have $1/year for Whatsapp and therefore aren't of much interest to Facebook for advertising either, but your friends' friends might.

I wish I could upvote your comment more than once. We need to recognize companies like Facebook and Google for what they really are, ad companies. I fear that Microsoft might start taking a similar path with what has happened with Windows 10.

I wonder if the products that Google and Facebook offer would actually be of better quality if they actually charged a certain amount to access their services. They have become so essential that I believe in most markets they could charge $5 to $10 a month and still retain a significant amount of users.

Then again, it gives them an excuse to not have to actually have a decent support staff.

I would like to challenge you on your belief - YouTube offers an Ad-free mode and the subscriber numbers are still considered to be abysmal [1], considering that it has 1B+ total users. What makes you think charging $5 to $10 per month would retain enough users?

Moreover, Google made ~$15B in Q2 2018 in USA alone[2]. 86% came from ads, so let's assume Google made ~13B from ads in the USA in Q2-18. Even if we were to assume that each of the 240M internet users in the USA pays $10/mo to Google (an obviously false assumption), that is still only $7.2B for Q2-18, or half the revenue they are making from ads.

[1] https://9to5google.com/2018/01/22/youtube-tv-300k-subscriber... [2] https://abc.xyz/investor/pdf/2018Q2_alphabet_earnings_releas...

I use Youtube Red. Part of the reason no one uses it is because it's not a very good service.

Because I have Youtube Red I don't have ads, and I can download videos on my phone. Except I can't really download videos, I just kind of cache them in an inaccessible format that randomly fails. Seriously, it's very common for me to go back to older downloaded videos and have Youtube randomly tell me, "well, it's messed up, we'll have to redownload it later."

On top of that, using Youtube Red means that I have extra ads for Youtube Red specific channels that I can't permanently get rid of. On top of that, using Youtube Red means that Google will occasionally decide that I'm not allowed to watch videos on my phone and computer at the same time, because that's "using the account in multiple places."

What I should be doing is using youtube-dl to auto-download playlists without ads and then sync them to my device. But I'm still paying for it, because... I don't know why, I guess I'm lazy. But there's very little reason for anyone to purchase Youtube Red when they can get a better, more private experience by downloading an ad blocker.

The problem is that Youtube offers both a free tier and a paid tier, right next to each other, with no signficant improvements to the paid tier. You're still getting the same algorithmic, eyeball-grabbing, buggy crap in Youtube Red. So I'm skeptical that this is a good comparison - if your goal with paying for apps is to get away from the dirty feeling of having someone watch you and manipulate you, Youtube Red is never going to satisfy that, because it's always going to be developed alongside the free version and it's always going to be reusing that codebase.

Compare that to something like Netflix. Do you think it's a mistake that they don't offer a free tier?

Netflix offers free month trials. I think that's the right approach for them.

YouTube Red is still not available in my country. 3 years after launch, it’s only available in 17 countries.

Also YouTube has all the music that people care about and given the success of streaming services I’m going to guess that its lack of success has nothing to do with people not wanting to pay.

Getting users to pay for a service that was previously provided to them for free is probably the #2 hurdle for all Freemium products.

In retail it has long been known that when you sell a new product or service you allways start high and go down in price.

I don't think there are so many ads on Youtube that it's enough of an annoyance to subscribe.

Microsoft has been there for awhile. What you fear has long come to pass. On the other hand, I think you're wrong about paid software being better quality. Here's an example: YouTube vs. YouTube tv. The former we all know about. When was the last time you clicked a YouTube video and it didn't work or played the wrong thing or it simply crashed? These are daily enjoyments with the $45 per month YouTube tv. Hulu tv is the same way. It seems the more you pay, the worse the software.

Yeah ... but a huge fraction of Whatsapp users (in India & Africa especially) use $100 (or less) phones....

It surprises me that ad companies build their businesses around audiences who cannot afford $1/year for a useful service.

I'm not suggested that people in poorer economies should be deprived of targeted advertising. It's just surprising they wield such influence. I guess they make it up in volume.

>It surprises me that ad companies build their businesses around audiences who cannot afford $1/year for a useful service.

They're planning for the future. Those people will be the major consumers of the world. The companies that can gain market share in emerging economies now will reap the rewards.


> audiences who cannot afford $1/year for a useful service

Not being able to afford and not being willing to pay are separate.

Not really, if the amount of disposable income is the deciding factor.

> if the amount of disposable income is the deciding factor

That's a big if, though. I wouldn't pay $1/year for WhatsApp messaging as a consumer. But I have a lot of disposable income. When you have a free substitute, these signals get mixed up.

There are massive variations in what people get from it and what they'll pay.

I live in South Africa and I'd pay $50 a year. Throw in a few paid-only features and I'd be quite happy.

All my friends use it. We use it at work for many teams. Video call with family in Australia. Audio with friends in Toronto or Chicago via Bluetooth while driving. That feels like magic. Better quality audio then the cellphone network and just works.

I have Skype, messenger, telegram, had Viber, tried WeChat. Barely use any. WhatsApp is like SMS, focused on my phone contacts, but has groups, audio, video, photos. That's all I want.

Here's an article discussing a local cell data bundle. It's still $1-3 per month. Poor people are willing to pay that because of the better value compared to SMS and voice call costs.


A lot of advertising is aimed at low income, low educated people because some products you still have to buy even if you are poor.

Thousands of corporations have survived without having to worry about markets that don't have disposable income. You don't see Apple hurting because they aren't successful in the poorest areas in the world.

It may sound cruel, but is it crueler than saying "Since you can't afford to pay, just give us access to your emails and private messages"?

Apple is a luxury good. You also don't see Gucci or Prada or Moet-Chandon unhappy because they can't be purchased in the poorest areas of the world.

Facebook has a different business model and a different mission than those companies.

Applications like WhatsApp noticeably improve the standard of living for people in WhatsApp, as they allow them to communicate with people far easier, cheaper, and faster than otherwise would have been possible.

It really is more cruel to say that because you, in a first world country, can pay 1 dollar much easier than they can pay 1 dollar, you should decide that they're not allowed to pay with their data if they desire.

If someone can't afford to pay $1 per year for something that allows them to communicate faster and cheaper then they are so fucked it's not even funny.

We're talking mind-boggling levels of poverty. How are they able to even pay for a phone and mobile subscription? Where do they live? How do they eat?

It sounds to me like a made-up sad story used as an excuse for rich corporations. If there are people that poor out there, Facebook could charge the rest of the world while offering the service for free to those that really can't afford it.

Not sure where in the world you live but if the medium income for Malawi is $250 dollars and the medium income where you live is $25,000 convert 1 dollar to $100. Would you pay $100 dollars a year for whatsapp? I wouldn't. For those living in the valley making 250,000 a year that translates to $1,000 dollars. To me that sounds like flushing your money away. The best phones are under 1,000.

I get your point, but the cost of the phone and mobile data to actually use whatsapp has a lower limit as well.

Even if you use whatsapp on a $50 phone (which you use for say 5 years) with a $3/month plan (which seems incredibly cheap), you have amortised costs of $46 per year. Increasing it to $47 to get whatsapp does not seem as unreasonable as you suggest.

Malawi is also an _extremely_ poor country, for reference Bangladesh have ≈ 5% smartphone usage with a GDP of ≈ 4000 USD per capita (PPP) while the GDP of Malawi is ≈ 1000 USD (PPP) per capita.

I would argue that not paying (but having the means to actually use whatsapp!) is more of a choice, or lack of payment infrastructure, rather than not having the disposable income to spend 1 USD per year for the service.

Why are countries where people can't pay $1 per year at all relevant to a discussion on software products?

If India and Malawi and whatever other country can't pay for WhatsApp, they don't get it or Facebook makes it free just for them. Or they find a way to make the ones that can pay do so.

What's the big deal?

It's cruel because WhatsApp is already there and people rely on it. Also worth noting, second point applies to Facebook but WhatsApp is encrypted.

WhatsApp was encrypted before the acquisition. And I am 100% confident that is why they want to find a way to monetize it directly. Not having access to data is not something they are used to.

You don't see them telling the FB Messenger team: "Hey, you need to make money."

> WhatsApp was encrypted before the acquisition.

WhatsApp was acquired February 2014 and end-to-end encrypted April 2016.

> And I am 100% confident that is why they want to find a way to monetize it directly. Not having access to data is not something they are used to.

I agree.

> You don't see them telling the FB Messenger team: "Hey, you need to make money."

I mean, I'm sure they have. Messenger has ads.

Your highly detailed personal data is infinitely more valuable to them than a measly $1 subscription fee. Until the incentives around building massive surveillance apparatus and calling them "tech companies" goes away, this will always be the case.

>>I know that a percentage of WhatsApp users would stop using the app if they started requiring a payment again

Most of their users come from countries like India(Im an Indian). Where people are very price conscious. And yes they would move on to other free services if charged.

>>because apparently paying $1 per year for using an application on your $999 phone is outrageous

Most smartphones on which people use WhatsApp in India are less than $100 phones. These days you get good usable smartphones in India for around $50 as well.

>>but I wonder why can't they just make it an option again as an alternative to ads.

Because bandwidth costs money.

Best way out of WhatsApp is to ship their app with the phone and have the manufactures charge $1 * avg life of the phone.

Reminds me of Sandberg complaining when the CA/trump fiasco was unearthed about users having to pay for the free service while FB doesn't allow them to.

Ads are the only way. Even if you want to pay a subscription instead.

Maybe that's why the WhatsApp founder left.

WhatsApp provides more than $1 of value to me in a year, provided I have already decided to use it. But paying a subscription also represents a psychological commitment, a loss of choice for a year, a mental tracking cost if I should reevaluate annually, an effort cost to convincing others to use it if I want to communicate with them, and an opportunity cost. Because I'm certainly not going to pay $1 to 10 different IM apps though I may keep 10 if they were all free.

The strain of all these hidden costs is way more than $1, probably on the order of $30. So WhatsApp reaps $1.5B and dumps $45B worth of externalities on its user base. I refuse to pay.

Your justifications strain credulity. Therefore, you possess the necessary psychopathological qualities to be a successful S&P500 CEO. Congratulations. ;)

Because they can make more money from ads. Why do you think Facebook for work is so cheap?

Doesn’t Facebook make $100per user per year in the US off ads? If WhatsApp can get anywhere near that there would be no reasistic price point which people would actually pay that would work for Facebook.

That's the crux of the argument. Most of WhatsApp users are outside of North America; many of them would balk at paying for a $100 phone, so their value is definitely not $100/user/year.

I'm wondering if this pressure was in response to the 20% decline on FB stocks. Its as if the shareholders looked at their portfolio in search of companies acquired that could fill that void.

Facebook didn't lose any money they need for day-to-day operations. The company lost value in the eyes of its shareholders, that's all. Facebook doesn't need to fill any void, as there is none.

No, this has been going on for awhile now, especially when you look at the high profile defections of many of the original WhatsApp executives.

The shareholders can't do anything because they don't have the voting power to effect any meaningful change. It's still Zuckerberg's company and will continue to be until they amends its articles/charter.

Why does a 20% decline in one day of trading matter after such a bull run-up since IPO ? Its just a tiny warning.

Maybe its my warped understanding of how multi-billion dollar boardrooms are ran.

To me, its not necessarily how well are our projects doing. Its more, squeeze out the most we can get from every asset and then squeeze for more.

I understand that Facebook will run just fine with or without the 20%, but I can imagine hearing this news and then looking around the room to find what acquisitions haven't performed well. Almost like a "What have you done for me lately?" vibe. Yes, its a bit warped to think that way (but fun too).

I would have gladly paid $1/month instead ($12/year) even just to avoid ads infecting the app which I use most on my phone. All of my family, relatives, and friends are on WhatsApp and every type (call, video or message) of communication happens through WhatsApp but this constant pressure of putting ads in the product from Facebook is something I don't like.

Because they paid $19 billion for it and need some form of return on that investment? You can't just throw stockholder's equity around like that and then come up with a plan that maxes out at ~$1 billion a year in revenue.

Well, they could, as Zuck has ~ 60% of voting rights.

Their stock just took a 20% dive because their main cash flow engine up to this point, the FB app, is showing stagnating engagement. Unless they want to take even great stock hits, which would lead to: greater difficulty to hire, greater difficulty to finance, more employee turnover, decreased ability to fight government regulation, et cetera, then they can't let this investment be wasted.

The acquisition price is a sunk cost. They still have the asset, and I agree its important for them to not waste it.

Sure, but it is analogous to what investors are valuing it with regards to their stock for.

Zuck paid $19 billion for it and needs some form of return on that investment? You can't just lose $16,000,000,000 in personal wealth in a day and come up with a plan that maxes out at ~$1 billion a year in revenue.

Better something than nothing?

A bonus is to combat competition like Snapchat to Instagram by having a solid alternative.

$1 - (2% fee + 30c card fee) leaves them with very little. I wonder how they get around the credit card fees. Supposedly Apple would want their 30% cut as well.

Say they get 30c per user. You get 1T traffic for $1, so 300G for 30c. That's roughly 40Gbytes per year or 100Mbytes per day. As long as people are on expensive mobile plans, there won't be more data.

Was it a subscription? I thought it was $1 to purchase(iOS).

With $1 purchase you were getting 1 year subscription included. Next year would be $1 in-app purchase.

on iOS was purchase, on android was subscription, after a while I think they may have switched to subscription on iOS for the people that didn't buy it.

I think they had turned to subscription instead of one off purchase after some time.

$1 per year

it was free for android and $1 for iOS users. subscription came way later..

All I know was I had Android and it was £0.99 per year, first year free. I've been using since 2009.

> as an alternative to ads.

I didn't notice but is there ads on WhatsApp?

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