Will WhatsApp start charging for business? Check update

WhatsApp is currently exploring two models to test its ultimate success with businesses.


A long time after serving over a billion users without charging a penny, WhatsApp has finally revealed its monetisation plan. The Facebook-owned team has launched a paid enterprise solution for companies "operating at a large scale" with a worldwide customer base.

WhatsApp is currently exploring two models to test its ultimate success with businesses. While one is set to be available for a charge, the other one has been released as a free WhatsApp Business app for small entities. "Our approach is simple -- we want to apply what we've learned helping people connect with each other to helping people connect with businesses that are important to the theme," the company said in a blog post.

To understand the requirements of businesses, WhatsApp is testing its new models through a closed pilot program. Enterprises can participate in the testing by filling out a survey that asks them to describe their category, such as e-commerce, entertainment, professional services, media or retail among others, and tries to understand their choice among the free and the paid solutions. Interestingly, the survey also includes a question about the email account connected to the Android device that would have the enterprise version of WhatsApp. This suggests that the company would partner with Google to expand its business strategy in the coming future.

Plans in the pipeline for months

This isn't the first time when WhatsApp announced its monetisation plan in public. In January 2016, WhatsApp completely abandoned the nominal subscription fee model that was a part of the instant messaging service since its first release back in January 2009. That was the same moment when Jan Koum-led team also decided to reach businesses and large organisations to discuss its monetisation model.

In August 2016, WhatsApp even modified its terms and privacy policy to test ways to enable communication between end users and businesses. The company highlighted its end-to-end encryption to ensure a secure experience.

TheThe latest announcement by WhatsApp confirms that it is all set to leverage its domination in the messaging world to generate some real revenues over time. However, it is still unclear that how would participating enterprises be benefitted. The app, with billions of downloads across Android and iOS, is indeed not aiming to offer an alternative to bulk SMS services. But instead, the company would ultimately help businesses utilise its massive presence on mobile devices to provide customers with notifications such as flight times and delivery confirmations.

This article was first published on September 7, 2017