Popular videoconferencing app Zoom is now introducing a pilot advertising program set to show ads to users on its ‘Basic’ free tier. According to the company, the ads will support investments and enable it to continue providing its platform to free users.
This will see basic tier users only see ads if they join a meeting hosted by another Basic tier user. For the initial test, ads will be displayed on the browser page users see when they end their meeting. This could still be felt like a huge shift for the video calling service despite the ads not being displayed on the calls themselves.
Zoom has clearly been imposing minor restrictions on its free tier, which helped the service explode in popularity last year. The best example would be the end-to-end encryption that was initially limited to paid users and ended up coming to free users as well.
The biggest restriction for free users now would be the 40-minute limit on the length of group calls. The company defends the decision to bring in ads as a means to help it “support investment and continue providing free Basic users with access to our robust platform.”
“This change ensures that our free Basic users are able to continue connecting with friends, family, and colleagues with the same robust platform we have always offered,” Zoom’s chief marketing officer Janine Pelosi wrote.
In a bid to evade backlash over user privacy, Zoom insists that it won’t be using “meeting, webinar, or messaging content (specifically, audio, video, files, and messages)” to target ads.