How do companies that offer free services earn money?
I am back after a long period of inactivity. I have been busy with work, my website and some other stuff. However, I missed writing here.
I've been thinking about companies that offer free services, like WhatsApp, and how they afford running such free business. I thought this should be my topic of today.
I know services like Viber and Skype have an option to purchase credit, others may display ads on their apps or websites to earn revenue from ad views, but what does WhatsApp have? How are free text messages or calls generating any income for them? How do they keep their business running? Is there another method that they could be using to earn money other than the two I mentioned above?
The same can be said about free email services like hotmail (before they started displaying ads and integrating other paid services like Xbox). Other than having large number of free users, what did they get? Or do such companies only aim at building audience at first before they make their service profitable?
I am really interested in hearing your opinion.
Thanks in advance