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Discord to start showing ads in the coming week after resisting for almost a decade

Discord logo with the slogan Your place to talk

Popular gaming social media platform Discord Is no longer going to be one of the rare ad-free havens of the tech market. The Wall Street Journal reported that the startup with over 200 million monthly active users plans to start showing advertisements “in the coming week”.

“The paid promotions are from videogame makers and will offer users gifts for completing in-game tasks while their friends watch on Discord,” WSJ specified, adding that the platform plans to hire more than a dozen sales personnel.

While ads are a common occurrence on free services or even some subscription-based platforms, such as streaming services, Discord has resisted the trend since its foundation in May 2015, almost nine years ago.

Although WSJ reported that Discord ads can be turned off in the user’s settings, it didn’t specify whether this applies to the whole user base or only to subscribers.

According to Discord’s senior vice president of product Peter Sellis, the ads will show up in the bottom left corner of the screen and the targeting will be based on the user’s gameplay, age, and location.

Rewards will be awarded for users completing advertised in-game tasks while at least one of their friends is watching.

According to Bloomberg, Discord sales are currently at $600 million and the startup is considering an IPO – initial public offering on the stock market – “at some point in the future”. Website InvestorPlace.com even ranked Discord on its list of most anticipated IPOs of 2024, calling Discord “a cash sow in the making” despite the recent layoffs of 17% of its employees.

The startup famously refused a bid from Microsoft in 2021, offering a whopping $10 billion as part of a proposed acquisition. In the end, the talks didn’t have a positive outcome for Microsoft, and Discord stayed independent, at least for now, up until today.

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