Instant messaging app Telegram is approaching 500 million users and plans to start generating revenue starting next year to keep the business operational, its founder Pavel Durov said on Wednesday.
Durov said he has personally bankrolled the seven-year-old business so far, but as the startup scales he is looking for ways to monetize the instant messaging service.
The service, which topped 400 million active users in April this year, will introduce its own ad platform for public one-to-many channels — “one that is user-friendly, respects privacy and allows us to cover the costs of server and traffic,” he wrote on his Telegram channel.
“Telegram has a social networking dimension. 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,” he wrote.
All existing features will remain free, Durov said, adding that Telegram is committed to not introduce ads in private one-to-one chats or group chats because they are a “bad idea.”
“We are not going to sell the company like the founders of Whatsapp. The world needs Telegram to stay independent as a place where users are respected and high-quality service is ensured,” he wrote on his Telegram channel. “Telegram will begin to generate revenue, starting next year. We will do it in accordance with our values and the pledges we have made over the last 7 years. Thanks to our current scale, we will be able to do it in a non-intrusive way. Most users will hardly notice any change.”
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