No ads for WhatsApp; Zuck praises startup's engagement rates

|By:, SA News Editor

WhatsApp is the only app with better engagement and a greater proportion of daily users than Facebook (FB), says Mark Zuckerberg on a CC discussing Facebook's reasons for spending up to $19B to buy the messaging upstart..

Zuck also praised WhatsApp's engineering team for creating a service with unmatched speed and reliability. VC backer Jim Goetz echoes that sentiment, and notes WhatsApp has only one developer for every 14M active users.

Both Zuck and WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum insist the service won't feature ads, and the latter says monetization isn't a near-term priority. Many see the deal as being less about monetization than about (expensively) heading off an emerging threat.

Zuck also argues WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger serve different purposes - the former acts as an SMS replacement, the latter as a way to have IM-like chats with friends.

Facebook's presentation slides (.pdf) note WhatsApp's daily traffic includes 19B messages (approaching global SMS levels), 600M+ photos, and 100M+ video messages, and that these figures are all up over 100% Y/Y.

Nonetheless, plenty of jaws have dropped over the deal's price tag. WhatsApp is being assigned a valuation higher than that of 235 S&P 500 components.

FB -2.9% AH. Previous: Facebook buying WhatsApp, details.