Multi-platform instant messaging application WhatsApp has just hit the 430 million active users mark, out of which 30 million users started using the app in the last couple of months. According to TechCrunch, the service now sees some 50 billion messages sent and received daily, rivalling SMS volumes. And despite all the competition, the company has promised it will continue avoiding advertising and staying away from “gimmicks” like disappearing photos.
While speaking at the DLD conference in Munich, Germany, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum said that “The important thing is focus, not disappearing photos”, a reference to the messaging service Snapchat. “No ads, no games, no gimmicks,” Koum added. He acknowledged that leading online companies today like Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Twitter, are all built on advertising, while WhatsApp is not. “For us it’s about [building] a company that is here to stay”, he said.
“We just want to focus on messaging. If people want to play games there are plenty of other sites and also a lot of great companies building services around advertising,” he added. It’s a “free market” with apps, so the beauty is that people can get those features elsewhere, Koum said.
Koum declined to talk about whether the company is profitable or any other financial metrics. “We make money, but the important thing [now] is not monetization,” he said simply. Someday the company will focus on it, but today the main aim is to to make sure WhatsApp has a service that works.”
The company, that continues to remain very light trying to keep its startup mentality, currently has only 50 employees, 25 of which are engineers and another 20 that focus on multilingual customer support.