It has been revealed this week that owners of WhatsApp, Facebook, are gearing up to monetize the messaging service that is used by more than one billion people every day. In a blog post on the WhatsApp website, a spokesperson for the company hinted at what was to come in terms of the monetization of WhatsApp:
“We know businesses have many different needs. For example, they want an official presence – a verified profile so people can identify a business from another person – and an easier way to respond to messages. We’re building and testing new tools via a free WhatsApp Business app for small companies and an enterprise solution for bigger companies operating at a large scale with a global base of customers, like airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks. These businesses will be able to use our solutions to provide customers with useful notifications like flight times, delivery confirmations, and other updates.
“Whether someone is communicating with a business around the corner or around the globe, people expect WhatsApp to be fast, reliable, and secure. We’ll be listening carefully to feedback during our test phase and keeping people informed as we make these tools more widely available. It’s important that we get this right and are thoughtful about the new experiences we’ll provide for businesses and our users.”
WhatsApp has already started a pilot program that would feature a verified green badge next to a business contact that would indicate that the business had been validated by the messaging service. Some companies in India, Brazil, Indonesia and Europe are testing the new services. One of these is 1 mg, the Indian healthcare startup which sells prescription drugs online. Co-founder Gaurav Agarwal has said using the app to talk to customers after they’ve placed their orders has been “much easier than through SMS or our app.”
Another company on the trial is the luxury retailer YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP. For them, WhatsApp has become an important new sales channel. “To date we have made countless sales across WhatsApp, even selling a single item for over £80,000,” Gabriele Tazzari, Director of Research & Development, wrote in a company blog post.
Other Changes At WhatsApp
It looks like other changes are on the way at WhatsApp too, with the company announcing earlier this month announcing that they were updating their terms and conditions and privacy policies as part of its ‘plans to test ways for people to communicate with businesses in the months ahead.’
“People use our app every day to keep in touch with the friends and loved ones who matter to them, and this isn’t changing – But as we announced earlier this year, we want to explore ways for you to communicate with business that matter to you too, while still giving you an experience without third-party banner ads and spam.
“Whether it’s hearing from your bank about a potentially fraudulent transaction, or getting notified by an airline about a delayed flight, many of us get this information elsewhere, including in text messages and phone calls.”