Telegram, almost 500 million customers to begin monetizing the app

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Instant messaging app Telegram is approaching 500 million users and plans to start generating revenue from next year to keep the business going, its founder Pavel Durov said on Wednesday.

Durov said he has personally funded the seven-year-old company so far, but as a startup he's starting to look for ways to monetize the instant messaging service. "A project our size takes at least a few hundred million dollars a year to go ahead," he said.

The service, which reached 400 million active users in April this year, will launch its own ad platform for public one-to-many channels – “one that is easy to use, respects privacy, and allows us to keep the costs of servers and traffic low to cover ", he wrote on his telegram channel.

"When we monetize large public one-to-many channels through the ad platform, the owners of those channels get free traffic for their size," he wrote. Another way Telegram could monetize its service is through premium stickers with "added expressiveness," he wrote. “The artists who make stickers of this new type will also receive part of the profit. We want millions of Telegram-based developers and small businesses to thrive and enrich the experience of all of our users. "

Some analysts hoped Telegram could monetize the platform through its blockchain token project. After several delays and regulatory issues, Telegram announced in May that it had decided to cancel the project.

For this project, the Dubai-based company Telegram raised $ 1.7 billion from investors in 2018. After the blockchain software was developed, it was planned to distribute his token called Gramm. Telegram offered to return $ 1.2 billion to investors earlier this year.

“Telegram has a social network dimension. Our massive one-to-many public channels can each have millions of subscribers and are more like Twitter feeds. In many markets, the owners of such channels run ads to make money, sometimes through third-party ad platforms. The ads they post look like regular news and are often intrusive. We're going to fix this by launching our own one-to-many public ad platform, ”Durov wrote today.

All existing features remain free, said Durov, one of Facebook's biggest critics WhatsApp owned, adding This Telegram undertakes not to introduce ads in private individual or group chats as this is a "bad idea".

“We're not going to sell the company like the founders of WhatsApp. The world needs Telegram to stay independent because users are respected and quality service is assured, ”he wrote. “Telegram will generate income from next year. We will do this in accordance with our values ​​and the commitments we have made over the past 7 years. Thanks to our current scale, we can do this in a non-intrusive way. Most users will hardly notice any changes. "

On Wednesday Telegram also introduced a new function for group voice chats in the app. The new Voice Chats feature, similar to Discord's always available room, supports a few thousand participants.

Telegram groups get a new dimension with voice chats – permanent telephone conferences that are carried out in parallel to existing text chats. Voice chats add a live layer of short-lived conversations to the group and can be used as informal lounges or virtual office spaces. Http://t.co/08dyFMWok6 pic.twitter.com/13XcszUzob

– Telegram Messenger (@telegram) December 23, 2020