Whisper, the app that lets you share secrets, has been experimenting with a few different ways of making money.
When the app first launched, Whisper charged its users $US5.99 a month to send direct messages.
But for the last 14 months or so, Whisper CEO Michael Heyward tells Business Insider, that feature has actually been free. That’s because messaging is a key part of Whisper’s magic potion.
With that stream of revenue gone, Whisper is looking at other ways to monetise its platform.
Whisper’s approach is a bit different than that of the type of advertising you see on Facebook, where you get served up ads for the purpose of clicking on a link to visit that brand’s Web site. Instead, Whisper is exploring a “keyword-based” approach with advertisers, in which Whisper users see ads based on the actual keywords they use.
Before we get into too much detail, it’s important to understand how sharing on Whisper works. To share a Whisper, you first type your secret and then the app suggests a relevant image for you.
Now let’s use Nike as an example advertiser. If Nike wants to be associated with words like “confident” or “swag,” Whisper could suggest an image of a Nike athlete.
This is a really smart way to monetise the app, without completely flooding it with blatant advertisements. And if Whisper suggests an image you don’t like, you could always search for a new one.
Whisper has raised $US54 million to date from investors including Trinity Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Thrive Capital, Sequoia Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
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