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WhatsApp Now Has Blue Checks and Will Remain Free In Developing Countries

What’s that you say?  WhatsApp now has blue checks?  Yesterday the WhatsApp team pushed through a feature that will allow a new feature to show you when someone has read your message you sent to them.  You don’t need to download an upgraded version as this was apparently already done on the server side of the app.

For a company that is clearly already worth a lot of many it must be very popular as tons people are downloading and using it.  One thing is for sure they are still working and tweaking the app to make sure people are happy.  For the blue check they stated, “If you see two blue check marks next to your sent message, then the recipient has read your message.”

Today WhatsApp also announced that while they are now collecting $1 annual fee for users in North America and Europe they will continue to offer free services to users in places like India.  Neeraj Arora, who is the VP for Business Development stated that the reason behind not collecting in those developing countries was because of low debit and credit card penetration.

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While the company does plan to monetize the service they believe the key is to do this with a subscription model verses advertising.  The reason they believe is that people just don’t want to have ads while they are trying to converse.  WhatsApp is currently working with a lot of carriers for bundling data plans and don’t currently charge a fee for this but with a user base in 70 million in India alone they could collect if they wanted to from different models.

For the time being WhatsApp will remain free for some but the $1 a year isn’t bad for those who has to pay.  And after the $19 billion acquisition by Facebook its probably not a case that they are in need for many either.

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