WhatsApp is to start charging companies to use WhatsApp Business
WhatsApp Business is the latest app from the messaging giant that launched in January. It provides an official way for businesses to represent themselves on WhatsApp and a secure way for individuals to contact them. WhatsApp hopes that over time it’ll create a bridge between businesses and customers that can be trusted. WhatsApp announced yesterday that businesses will soon have to start paying for that trust.
Ever since Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion, it has struggled to monetize the service, despite the messaging service’s 1.5 billion users. This announcement is the latest attempt to do so.
As well as the news that businesses will have to pay to use WhatsApp Business, WhatsApp announced some cool features that they’ll get for their money. Businesses will be able to send notifications like shipping confirmations, appointment reminders and event tickets using the new WhatsApp Business service. For the privilege, they’ll have to spend between 0.5 and 9 cents, depending on the country of operation.
The good news for businesses is that if they respond to queries from customers within 24 hours, those subsequent messages will be free. If they take longer than 24 hours, however, they’ll have to pay for the messages sent. This move incentivizes the setting up of WhatsApp type call centers.
WhatsApp knows that the prices it is charging are higher than the costs of SMS messages, but that users get to send messages for free and are more comfortable chatting in the WhatsApp ecosystem than in the antiquated, unused, and somewhat scary-basic SMS app. Of course, WhatsApp is also offering end-to-end encryption on all messages too. Businesses will be able to store messages, however, so you can expect a “This chat is being saved for training purposes” message, or something similar, should you contact a company via WhatsApp.
Keep your eyes open for WhatsApp contact number from the companies you’re using, and you’ll be able to start talking to them over WhatsApp rather over the phone. If this puts an end to having to listen to annoying music while on hold, then this is one change we fully endorse.