Zoom is launching a pilot program to display ads to its free users on the free “Basic” tier, the company has proclaimed in a blog post. In the pilot program, the ads will appear on the browser page shown to users at the end of a call.
The Pilot Program Will be Launched to Free Users in Certain Countries
Zoom states that ads are being launched to free users in “certain nations,” though the official blog post does not reveal precise details about the pilot program of the ads. Free users on the service’s Basic tier will only see ads if they join a meeting hosted by another Basic tier Zoom user.
Furthermore, the ads through the pilot program won’t be displayed during meetings themselves, it’s still a potentially big transformation for the popular video conferencing service. Zoom has typically inflicted only minor limitations on its free tier, which supported the service to explode in popularity last year as people around the globe adjusted to working and socializing from home.
Zoom End-to-End Encryption Feature is Not Only Limited to Paid Users
Even its end-to-end encryption, which Zoom originally said would be restricted to paid users, ended up coming to free users after all. Moreover, until now, arguably the most prominent limitation on Zoom’s free tier is its 40-minute limit on the length of group calls.
However, Zoom’s chief marketing officer Janine Pelosi writes that it needs to begin displaying ads to help it “support investment and proceed to present free 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,” Pelosi writes.
In the expectations of avoiding a similar privacy backlash to the one that greeted the service’s rush in popularity last year, Zoom is maintaining that it won’t be utilizing “meeting, webinar, or messaging content (specifically, audio, video, files, and messages)” to target ads.