I was reading the hard questions on bot ethics from Slack, and their thoughts on bot advertising grabbed my attention. Trying to understand how bots will be monetizing things has been something I'm learning about, so I found Slack's post rather timely, and relevant to this fast growing layer of the API world.
Here was Slack's view on advertising with bots by developers:
A bot should not serve ads unless it has a strong, expressed purpose that benefits the user in doing so, and even then only on B2C platforms. I would hate to see bots becoming the new tracking pixel. Bots should not be prompting users to click on things and buy things unless explicitly asked to do so.
They continue by adding that, "ads in apps are against the Slack API terms of service, and that makes me rather proud". I'm hoping that the Slack's business model is solid enough that they'll never need to consider bot advertising. I think it is an interesting constraint upon the community, and one that I'm curious how they'll work around when it comes to making money with bots. Could we be looking at a post-advertising world, when it comes to generating revenue?
From what I can tell, bot monetization will either be about mining data from users, paying for premium features, or a little of both. I'm still a few weeks off from having more examples of how the bots are generating revenue, but I wanted to make sure I recorded Slack's stance on the subject, for reference in future work.