Telegram Adds Business Features to Challenge Meta, Google

Messaging app Telegram has added business account features to create a custom start page, listings, maps, hours of operation, chatbot support and more. Anyone can turn their Telegram account into a Telegram Business account, and users don’t need coding skills. Public channels with 1,000 or more subscribers can receive 50 percent of the revenue from ads shown in their channels. Based in Dubai, Telegram says the channels of its global users generate over 1 trillion monthly views. In February it unveiled an ad program that adopted the TON blockchain’s Toncoin as its native currency.

TechCrunch explains “Telegram is preparing to take on Meta’s WhatsApp and Messenger with a new set of features aimed at businesses as well as support for ad-revenue sharing.” The listings with maps and the ability to have a review feed also cut into Google’s territory.

The business features, announced in a Telegram blog post, arrived shortly after Telegram founder Pavel Durov publicly stated that he expects the app, which has about 900 million users, to achieve profitability next year. “Telegram Business is clearly part of that push, leading up to a future IPO, as it’s an offering that requires users to subscribe to the paid Premium version to access,” TechCrunch reports.

Telegram Premium costs $4.99 per month for a bundle of upgraded features available on iOS and Android. Subscribers can also pay on three month, six month or one year plans.

Cointelegraph says Telegram is “the third-biggest messenger app in terms of monthly downloads, after WhatsApp and Snapchat, according to Statista.” Cointelegraph adds that since Dubrov announced the ad program, “the price of TON has increased 111 percent — from $2.51 on February 29 to $5.30 on April 1.”

TechCrunch references Telegram’s February ad program announcement and “ad revenue sharing using Toncoin,” adding that “now the company has started the revenue-sharing program,” which sounds like participating account holders will receive their payouts in Toncoin, though that point is unclear. Telegram says ads “may” be purchased using Toncoin, and doesn’t mention a currency regarding the revenue sharing.

Cointelegraph says participating channel owners will be able to withdraw their portion of the ad revenue with no fees. Prior to announcing this new monetization plan, Telegram channel owners earned by selling paid posts, selling products and charging fees to join private channels.

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