For most of the Telegram’s history, I have paid the company’s bills with personal savings. But at current growth rates, Telegram is on track to reach billions of active users – and the associated costs.
When a tech company grows to this size, it has only two options — start making money to cover costs — or sell itself to a larger player.
Hence the question – what will we do? I will clarify our plans on several points.
We’re not going to sell the company like the founders of WhatsApp did. The world needs Telegram as an independent project that respects the rights of users and provides high-quality service. Telegram should continue to serve as a model for a technology company that strives for excellence and integrity. The sad examples of our predecessors show that this is not possible within a large corporation.
Telegram will be around for a long time. We started developing Telegram over 8 years ago – initially as a product for our own personal use. We have come a long way since then. Telegram has pushed the boundaries of what is possible in many aspects of communication – in encryption, functionality, simplicity, design, and speed. But this is just the beginning. We can – and must – bring much more to the world.
To fulfil points 1 and 2, Telegram will start monetizing from next year. In doing so, we will remain true to our values and guarantees that we gave in the past. Thanks to the achieved scale, we will monetize Telegram unobtrusively – most users will hardly notice any major changes.
All current Telegram services will remain free. In addition to these, we will offer additional features for business teams and users with advanced needs. Some of these new features will be resource-intensive and, as a result, will become paid. Regular users will always use Telegram for free.
All Telegram messaging services will remain ad-free. We believe that advertising in personal and group chats is unacceptable. Communication between people should not be interrupted by advertising.
In addition to messaging, Telegram has a social networking component. Telegram’s massive public channels, built on the principle of one-to-many broadcasting, can reach millions of subscribers and have little in common with traditional messaging. In many countries, channel owners earn money by showing ads to their subscribers, sometimes through third-party ad platforms. The advertisements they post look like regular messages and are often intrusive. In this regard, we will offer our own advertising platform for channels, which will provide users with comfort and privacy, and will allow us to cover the costs of servers and traffic.
Telegram monetization should benefit not only us but the entire community. For example, if popular public channels are monetized through an advertising platform, these channels’ owners will receive free traffic in proportion to their reach. If – in addition to the current free stickers – there are paid stickers with enhanced features, the stickers artists will also receive a portion of the income. We want Telegram content creators and entrepreneurs to thrive by enriching all of our users through improved service.
This is how we see the Telegram path.
It will enable us to introduce many new features and welcome billions of new users over the coming decades. This approach will allow us to remain independent, preserve our values, and offer the world an example of a new kind of technology company.