Telegram is a popular messenger that is available for free for many platforms. The entire platform is ad-free and there is no Pro version available that users can upgrade to.
Starting in 2021, Telegram will introduce premium features and advertisement on its platform. The introduction of revenue generating features is often of concern to existing users of a platform. Telegram promises that the changes will be introduced in a user-friendly manner.
In short: all current features will remain free, and all-parts of the program devoted to messaging will remain ad-free.
Telegram founder Pawel Durow explained in a post on the platform why the changes are required and why these options have been selected. Telegram has grown significantly in the eight years of its existence. Expenses have been paid by Durow for the most part but traffic and server demand has increased so that a stable revenue source needed to be found for the platform. Since selling the platform or selling out users was out of the question, something needed to be done on the platform itself to generate revenue.
The idea was born to introduce premium features for business users and power users. These will be introduced as optional components and will be paid for by the businesses or users that would like to use them. Durow does not provide information on these features in the post but business focused features such as better scheduling or reporting could be potential options.
Revenue will also be generated through advertisement on the platform, and Telegram plans to introduce its own ad platform for public one-to-many channels. Durow promises that the platform will be user friendly and respect privacy.
Large public one-to-many channels will get something in return according to the post. Durow mentions free traffic to these channels, but also other revenue opportunities such as making available premium stickers on the platform and sharing revenue with the artists who created them.
It remains to be seen how these changes are introduced in 2021 and beyond. They do look good on first glance on paper, especially that individual chats remain free of advertisement and that all existing features remain free as well.
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