The inevitable WhatsApp Status ads will arrive in early 2019

WhatsApp will begin showing advertisements in its Status page from next year, as it starts to allow companies to contact users via the app.

A new Wall Street Journal report says over 100 companies, including Netflix, are already testing the feature ahead of a full roll out in 2019. The ads, which will also promote the use of WhatsApp as a customer service tool, promise to be quite the money-spinner for the Facebook owned app.

The report says WhatsApp will charge companies between $0.005 and $0.09 per potential customer reached. Considering WhatsApp is offering access to more than 1 billion active daily users, that’s could add up quickly.

Around 450 million users are already using the Status page, which is a little like Instagram Stories in that it allows ephemeral photos, text and links that disappear after 24 hours. That compares to the 400 million people using Instagram Stories, which already show users advertisements.

Related: WhatsApp four-person video calls now available

The move to charge businesses for access to WhatsApp users comes as the company seeks out a revenue stream. Previously, the app had dropped a $0.99 annual subscription fee following the Facebook buyout in 2016.

Facebook paid $22 billion for WhatsApp, so it’s understandable the company would start to seek some return on that investment at some point. Especially when Facebook itself lost six-times that amount on a single-day’s trading back in July.

While it’s just speculation on our part, it’s possible that users will eventually be able to choose between that subscription fee and seeing advertisements within the Status page.

Would you rather put up with ads or pay a buck a year to get rid of them? Share your thoughts with us @TrustedReviews on Twitter.