Economy, Sci & Tech

WhatsApp Tests Commercial Messaging Service

WhatsApp Tests Commercial Messaging ServiceWhatsApp Tests Commercial Messaging Service

WhatsApp messaging service is testing a system that would let businesses talk directly to WhatsApp users to create direct marketing channels for businesses.

The proposed service is similar to what Telegram already offers on its competing service, and has become a popular form of corporate communication in Iran and Uzbekistan who use the service most.

The tests, developed in conjunction with Y Combinator, aim to give the Facebook-owned company a stream of revenue after removing its $1 a year subscription fee in 2015.

Facebook bought the app for $19 billion in 2014, in a sign of the social media platform’s push to new forms of communications as people migrate away from the site.

WhatsApp, a pun on the phrase “What’s up?”, has helped to upend mobile services by allowing users to text or call friends and family for free, without text message charges.

One potential revenue source is to charge businesses that want to contact customers on WhatsApp. But the company is working carefully to avoid problems with spam messages, the documents show.

WhatsApp is also surveying users about the extent to which they talk to businesses on WhatsApp, and whether they have ever received spam, according to the documents.

The company last year announced its plan to develop the system, known as an application programming interface, or API, citing examples such as a user talking to a bank about a fraudulent transaction or to an airline about a delayed flight.

Last month WhatsApp struck a deal with Y Combinator, which provides training and advice to startups that show potential, to have a small number of companies take part in an early trial, according to emails and messages posted on a Y Combinator forum.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints