In a recent move WhatsApp, an instant messaging platform, that has been acquired by the social media giant Facebook, went on to announce the first move that it intends to take to monetize its services. With this move, the platform aims to give businesses the much-desired power and ability to communicate with the two billion plus users that the platform currently entertains.
For those who are keen to confirm the same, the company’s FAQ section clearly states, that business profiles will be offered a green badge, similar to the Facebook’s blue tick for verified businesses and celebrities. However, there was no explicit mention stating whether the service would be chargeable or not. To be precise, the statement on the website went like – “Some business accounts have been verified by WhatsApp. If you see a green badge next to a contact’s name, it means that WhatsApp has confirmed that the phone number of this contact belongs to a business account”
While details regarding how this service would actually function were not yet revealed, however, in the recent past, CEO Jan Koum did talk about the possibility of tapping businesses as against users in a bid to monetize the app. He indicated, that the move seemed to be an ideal way to keep the app safe from uncalled for spamming.
It is known that WhatsApp has been tapping such tools for almost a couple of years now, but the recent expansion of its team, most of which is intended to communicate with businesses stood as a testimony to the fact that this move was nearer than one would imagine.
The feature is still in its nascent stages, and the announcement did not divulge any details regarding when exactly will the feature be available for non-beta versions of the app. Also, it is not known which geographical areas would the service hit first.
With as many as 200 million users, India undoubtedly serves as the largest user base for the messaging app. From what is known, the app is already in talks with the National Payments Corporation of India to introduce a payment gateway, through the renowned Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
Thanks to India’s improving internet connectivity, it is being speculated that businesses, especially banks, will be able to make the most of this service. This will decrease the dependence of businesses on SMS and voice calls in order to reach out to their customers. The increasing number of smartphones in the urban, as well as the rural areas, will only enhance the utility of this feature.