Seven years after it launched and three years after it was acquired by Facebook for a mammoth $19 billion, WhatsApp for the first time will soon be launching a revenue-generating service aimed at enterprises. So far, the messaging app has been providing a free of cost service to consumers and as a result, has managed to acquire a user base of over one billion. Now, for the first time, the messaging service is reportedly working on a solution for businesses to send messages directly to WhatsApp users which may seems like a WhatsApp Spam.
According to reports, WhatsApp is collaborating with startup incubator Y Combinator to test the new service. The incubator often provides training and assistance to startups that show some potential. Per the messages on the Y Combinator forum, the incubator will let a small number of companies participate in a trial of WhatsApp’s new service. WhatsApp has reportedly signed a deal with Y Combinator.
According to Reuters, the messaging company is also quizzing its user base about using the service to talk to businesses and whether they have ever received spam on WhatsApp.
Last year, the company had announced it was working on an application programming interface (API) which would enable businesses like banks and airlines to talk to their users about say, a fraudulent transaction or a delayed flight respectively.
For instance, one of the companies that is participating in the early testing of the new feature Cowlar, makes collars for farm cows which help farmers in the US keep a track on the herd’s activity and recommends changes to improve the yields. With the new WhatsApp feature, the startup can send auto-generated alerts to the farmers if their cows are not behaving normally.
WhatsApp as a service has a large footprint in remote places like rural India. With a feature like this, the messaging company can once again a huge impact. So far, WhatsApp has been providing its services for free to all users, even without ads. A number of reports in the media had alleged that the company will start charging annually but each time, WhatsApp denied it.
If this does take off, it will be the first time WhatsApp implement a service that will allow it to make directly from the users.
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