NEW YORK —
“WhatsApp is simple, secure, and fast. It does not ask you to spend time building up a new graph of your relationships; instead, it taps the one that’s already there. Jan and Brian’s decisions are fueled by a desire to let people communicate with no interference,” writes Goetz, who along with Sequoia also stands to reap a hefty sum from the deal.
Much like Zuckerberg did during Facebook’s early years, WhatsApp’s founders shun ads. But unlike Facebook, which now relies on advertisements for the bulk of its revenue, WhatsApp remains ad-free.
Users who download WhatsApp on their phones are greeted with a link that reads “Why we don’t sell ads.” The link leads to a quote from Tyler Durden, the anti-establishment character from the 1996 novel “Fight Club.”
“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy s--- we don’t need,” it reads.
A note from Koum follows with more details.
“These days companies know literally everything about you, your friends, your interests, and they use it all to sell ads,” writes Koum. “No one wakes up excited to see more advertising, no one goes to sleep thinking about the ads they’ll see tomorrow. We know people go to sleep excited about who they chatted with that day (and disappointed about who they didn’t). We want WhatsApp to be the product that keeps you awake.”
Koum then goes on to call advertising an insult to users’ intelligence and an interruption to their train of thought. Take that, Facebook.
While WhatsApp rejects ads (it charges 99 cents per year after letting people use it free of charge for the first year), Facebook works to gather as much information as possible about its 1.23 billion users, their tastes for coffee and music, where they live and travel, their friendships, marriages and breakups. WhatsApp doesn’t ask users their age, gender or where they live.