WhatsApp set to start charging businesses

It was perhaps inevitable that after shelling out a monumental $19 billion for it in 2014 that Facebook wouldn’t keep WhatsApp free for forever.

The company has revealed its plans to begin charging businesses to use some of the tools that are currently free. The charged service will be based on the on the business tools released this summer.

The new tools allow smaller businesses to send their customers updates and receive messages from them. The company has stated that it is working on an enterprise solution for bigger companies or those with a significant global customer base.

WhatsApp’s chief operating officer, told the Wall Street Journal:

“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.”

Mark Zuckerberg has been quoted as saying that he expects WhatsApp and Messenger, which together make up a huge share of the chat platform space, to start making money by 2022.

A different strategy

It is interesting to note that WhatsApp’s monetisation strategy differs from the one usually followed by its parent company.

Facebook’s intention to begin cashing in on its messaging services could be a reaction to the slowdown in revenue it has experienced in its core service offerings.

The company’s move in July to start showing advertisements in between user conversations in Messenger shows similarity to its strategy with the Instagram news feed.

Another factor is that WhatsApp is popularity in a region can correlate to a drop in advertising revenue for Facebook.  As Fox Business reports, the company makes $19.38 per user in the US but only $2.12 per Asia, where India is WhatsApp largest global market.

It is not clear how much WhatsApp will charge businesses to use its services or when the charges will be brought in.  

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