More on the controversial issues over Whatsapp charging

More on the controversial issues over Whatsapp charging

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Unlike Naver LINE, WhatsApp appeared on App Store and Google Play Store as a paid application. In the former occasion, users pay before downloading the whatsapp append in the later case, users pay and get a trial period of 1 year before being asked to pay for subscription fee (permanent). A number of users revealed that they were prompted to pay for their subscription fee on android. Hong Kong users commented strongly on the app ratings on whatsapp. A subscription fee of $1 USD led to an outbreak of laments was historical in mobile applications. Well, simply put, whatsapp has just been too popular and a number of people forget about the fees to be paid.

There are no rights or wrongs on this topic. With the prevalence of smartphone and the need for cross carriers messaging with data networks, Whatsapp did its great job in integrating different platforms and gained outstanding popularity. However, the recent incident was mainly caused by a phenomenon created long ago. The whole digital world is entering into a “free” market. Although there are still some paid applications, they don’t receive great attention. Chris Anderson said that even the amount to be paid is tiny, the psychological barrier for paying is still considerable. He calls this “the penny gap”, the power of free products on the digital market has internalized into the mindsets of people. The word free can drive people to buy more indirectly. For example, free shipping after a certain amount of purchase made on amazon.

Free product is however the best way of marketing and promotion. You can also say Whatsapp or any other apps offer their product free on the market is a marketing strategy. Some charge you by in-app purchase, some charge you a dollar to remove advertisements, some charge you to get more updates or subscriptions… Etc. most of the apps are free at first as a survival technique in the ever changing digital market environment. This incident tells us that we should think twice before complaining. In fact, we always have our choice, there are many other alternatives for whatsapp. If you don’t like them charging you, switch to another one. LINE, Facebook messenger, Viber, iMessage, they all welcome you.

In all due respect, the widespread anger was merely caused by the “free” devil in the free market, not about whatsapp charging people extra money.

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