Truecaller is a free global online directory of phone numbers. It had to build a solid business model to sustain itself as a company. After all, it might be having expenses like salaries of employees and server costs. The data it stores and processes need heavy servers.
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Truecaller is making money heavily from its 280 million monthly active users. Some pay by money, others by data.
It is not really a poor company. It’s interesting because the company has diversified its revenue sources instead of sticking to one.
Business Model of Truecaller Includes 4 Major Streams of Income
The first and the most obvious way for Truecaller to earn money is by offering premium services. It has two packages for you – Truecaller Premium and Truecaller Gold.
Firstly, they provide you an ad-free experience and a badge to your profile which you can flaunt for being premium. Secondly, an incognito mode is given to you which allows you to stalk people without others getting any hint. Also, you get to know who viewed your profile.
Apart from these features, it allows you to record phone calls on some devices.
Truecaller Gold offers even more services like customer support and special caller ID.
In addition to these services, you can request contacts per month if you are a premium member. We will see what this means as we proceed in this article.
Check out | Truecaller Premium
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This is the best way for each and every app owner to make money. Just display advertisements on the applications and you are done. If you don’t have direct advertisers, you can still earn money from Google advertisements.
In the case of Truecaller, it is just flooded with ads. Be it video ads or pop-up ads, it no longer seems to be a genuine app. It’s just going the Xiaomi way – full of Ads.
This is how you see a large number of advertisements and all of them are targeted ads. To clarify, that yields a fat amount of money to Truecaller.
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In the digital marketing industry, it is said that data is the next oil. It means that if a company has data, then it will dominate the world. You will notice that all of the tech giants are rich in data resources – Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.
Truecaller is in the same queue. It has so much user data (as we discussed in my previous article) that it sells that to third-party advertisers.
If I am an advertiser and I want to target my ads to the females who go to college then I will simply ask Truecaller for such data. For a particular amount of money, Truecaller might provide me with all the contact numbers of such college-going girls. Sounds creepy? Well, it is.
Similarly, if I want the contact number of Virat Kohli then I will write an email and request Truecaller for his contact number. They will send a quotation where the rates will be given because Virat Kohli is a huge celebrity with a large demand.
But the rates of such celebrity contact numbers are so high that most people can’t afford it. Those who can afford, are already present in each other’s contact list.
This information is not from my point of view but various instances of data breaches point out the same.
IndiaTV Report: Truecaller sold user data on the dark web for Rs. 75,000
First Post Report: Truecaller India Users’ Data Selling Online For Over Rs 1.5 Lakh
Republic World: Your Personal Data Including Name And Phone Number May Be Accessible To Third-parties
People on several online forums and communities have pointed out their experiences.
Their data is easily found on the dark web. I wonder how such a large enterprise with strong security walls couldn’t protect its data from getting leaked on the dark web. And why is it just the contact information of its users and not the company’s details?
Read More | Dark Web & Deep Web
Truecaller for Enterprises
Data is costly. For that, Truecaller has a perfect strategy to monetize it. They have an API service for businesses and enterprises. What is that?
Truecaller’s API allows the developers to attach a name to a known number. There are several advanced features in this API and Truecaller is charging developers to use some of the features of its API. Not sure if it allows the companies to whitewash their spam score.
It is an API for developers in businesses that can rent at $299 per month and rise to $4,999. Yes, that’s in dollars.
Several companies like BigBasket, CarDekho, Meesho, Myntra, PharmEasy, Unacademy, KhataBook, Rapido, and others are using it.
Now you understand the large consumer base it has – B2B as well as B2C.
That’s pretty clear now how Truecaller is surviving on our data. In today’s world, data is the king.
My personal observation: When I had Truecaller installed on my phone, I used to get almost daily calls from telemarketers. One day I uninstalled it for making some free space.
Voila! I don’t get spam calls anymore!
It can be a coincidence but I doubt it.
Not sure how Truecaller works to collect and display us the information?
Check out | How Truecaller Works?
Note: This article is based on Internet research and news articles. The information may or may not be accurate.