WhatsApp might no longer be free, as the Facebook-owned company is gearing up to make money from its messaging service by charging large enterprises for tools to communicate with users. The company however, will offer a free app for small enterprises, that might likely help such business to reach out consumers over the app.
The company said that it will be testing new features to make it easier for people to communicate with businesses they want to reach on WhatsApp. “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,” WhatsApp wrote in its blog post.
Evidently, the Facebook owned messaging service earlier announced that it has started a pilot program whereby business accounts will be verified and that the program would feature a ‘tick badge’ in green right next to the contact name indicating that the business is verified. Reports indicate that companies in Brazil, Europe, India and Indonesia are testing the free services, including KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Apparently, BookMyShow, the online movie ticketing service is said to be the one the first among those business that has collaborated with WhatsApp.
“Our approach is simple – we want to apply what we’ve learned helping people connect with each other to helping people connect with businesses that are important to them,” WhatsApp said.
WhatsApp will eventually charge companies to use some future features. Matt Idema, WhatsApp chief operating officer in an interview with WSJ said “We want to put a basic foundation in place to allow people to message businesses and for them to get the responses that they want. We do intend on charging businesses in the future.”