As Telegram approaches 500 million active users, now the question is – who is going to pay to support this growth? After all, more users mean more expenses for traffic and servers. And this will needs at least a few hundred million dollars per year to keep going.
For most of Telegram’s history, Pavel Durov(founder of the Telegram) paid for the expenses of the company from his personal savings. However, with its current growth Telegram is on track to reach billions of users and to require appropriate funding. When a tech project reaches this scale, typically there are two options – start earning money to cover the costs, or sell the company.
Hence, the question – which path will Telegram take? Durov said a few points below to clarify Telegram plan:
1. Telegram 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. Telegram must continue to serve the world as an example of a tech company that strives for perfection and integrity. And, as the sad examples of our predecessors show, that is impossible if you become part of a corporation.
2. Telegram is here to stay for a long time. We began developing our apps for our personal use over 8 years ago and have come a long way since then. In the process, Telegram changed the way people communicate in several aspects – encryption, functionality, simplicity, design, speed. This journey has just started. There’s much more we can – and will – bring to the world.
3. In order to make points 1 and 2 possible, Telegram will begin to generate revenue, starting next year. Most users will hardly notice any change. All parts of Telegram devoted to messaging will remain ad-free. We think that displaying ads in private 1-to-1 chats or group chats is a bad idea. Communication between people should be free of advertising of any sort.
4. All the features that are currently free will stay free. We will add some new features for business teams or power users. Some of these features will require more resources and will be paid for by these premium users. In many markets the owners of 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. Regular users will be able to keep enjoying Telegram – for free, forever.
7. If Telegram starts earning money, the community should also benefit. For example, If we monetize large public one-to-many channels via the Ad Platform, the owners of these channels will receive free traffic in proportion to their size. Or, if Telegram introduces premium stickers with additional expressive features, the artists who make stickers of this new type will also get a part of the profit. We want millions of Telegram-based creators and small businesses to thrive, enriching the experience of all our users.
This is the Telegram way.
This will allow Telegram to keep innovating and keep growing for decades to come. It will be able to launch countless new features and welcome billions of new users. While doing that, Telegram will remain independent and stay true to its values.