If you haven't read it already, go right now and read Whatsapps blog post about why they don't sell ads.
If you dont know, Whatsapp is mobile only messaging service that works on data enabled phones. You can think of it as SMS over data. Of course, the service also offers the whole shebang of data enabled transactions like sharing images, contacts, etc. Alongside it also has a rudimentary version of a user profile including an updateable status.
And that's all folks.
Whatsapp is a focused app that promises to do only one thing, allow you to comfortably have conversations with whoever you like. Whatsapp doesn't aspire to be a social network or feed based product. They just promise a simple, easy to use chat product and in return ask you to pay for it after using it freely for 7 months.
But why should you pay? Why pay when there are other services out there providing you the same functionality for absolutely free. Because Whatsapp makes a promise; the promise that it is exactly what it says it is, a simple messaging service and nothing else. They're charging you for exactly what they should i.e. providing a messaging service. They don't want your data to run better ads, run sentiment analysis or to spot what's trending. They don't give a shit. They don't want to forcefully monetize and make you indirectly pay for the service, instead they're upfront about what they will and will not do. You want a simple service, they'll build it but since the servers aren't free you're going to have to pay for them; it's a simple, no bullshit deal with no strings attached.
And this is exactly why i love it and it'll probably be the first software i pay for.
A lot of services think about monetization as an after thought which is a terrible thing to do; if people are using your service for free, whats stops them from switching to a competitor (actually nothing stops them even if they're but the likelihood to jump ship is lower for the former), it's almost an indication of not so great inherent value. Business should be about exchanging one valuable good for another in a clear well understood manner, it shouldn't be about suddenly waking one day to discover that you need to make money and then making efforts to monetize your users, monetization should come naturally where people know exactly what they've signed up for and are willing to pay for the value they derive from the service.
As the world embraces digital, it's time for digital to embrace some things the offline world is good at, getting people to pay for the stuff they want.
In what was a shock to many, Google decided to discontinue
it much loved RSS reader product called Google Reader citing declining usage.
This assertion though probably true doesn’t really paint the complete picture
of why google may have scrapped the product.
RSS feeds grew in popularity along with the internet and
were the primary medium of news distribution for a long time, though they were
mostly used by power users. This phenomenon is something we can call the stream based distribution
model where people subscribe to a source and receive all updates from it. Later
on with the explosion of the internet and the rise of social media, we saw the
rise of the newsfeed distribution model where people are subscribed/connected to a
large number of publishing sources but receive only the updates that are deemed
relevant. Slowly we’re entering a phase where who or what you are connected also is
mapped out based on relevance, which basically means we’re
replacing the part where we chose our sources and instead these are chosen
for us automatically (Eg: Prismatic)
All this may make Google Reader seem like an antiquated and boring old RSS
client; which it was! But the thing about RSS that makes it seem like a weakling: the fact that you get each and every update is in fact exactly what users want.
Because users do not want what algorithms think is relevant to them but rather prefer to see what they deem is
relevant to them.
So usually when you subscribe to someone RSS feed, you’re not
just lending them a listening ear but almost giving then complete and undivided
attention. Sadly however, this is not how most users of the internet
function. They aren’t trawling the internet looking for awesome sources to subscribe to.
Twitter has largely replaced the follow graph that was the bastion of RSS
because it is simpler to use and understand. RSS has been relinquished to the
realm of geeks and power users who however love the way it works because they
take the trouble to filter, sort and classify their sources.
So what I’ve discussed above is the declining popularity of
RSS as a follow graph on the internet due to the emergence of more lightweight and more social mediums.
But there’s probably another good reason why google shut
down reader: Google+
Among the first things a human being does when he gets on to
the internet is get an email. This is an area where Gmail has won the battle;
they didn’t reinvent email but engineered the fuck out of it and fought spam
like it was nobody’s business. The result was a super fast email product with tons
of storage space and also a ton of benefits from other connected Google
services like Gtalk. Now enter Google+, another attempt at enable social
networking after Buzz and Wave. Google+ is apparently growing really quickly
but what could be a really nice boost to the this network would be to provide a combined
social and interest graph in one go with Google+. You can easily imagine
the product guys at Google thinking of : 'User meets internet, user gets email
(gmail), user wants to hear/read about stuff on the internet, nag user about
G+, profit' as nice growth sequence.
Whatever the reasons were, bye Google Reader we'll miss you.