WhatsApp is the most popular chat messaging app which was bought by Facebook for a whopping amount of $19 Billion in February, 2014. WhatsApp, ever since it launched in 2009 has been consistently keeping with its promise of not giving ads on its platform or not charging anything to its users. Even after three years of being sold to Facebook,WhatsApp has not changed its business model and stuck to its ‘no to ads’ moto.
Now, though, WhatsApp is still not going to put ads in its app or has any plans of charging its customers for using the app, WhatsApp is testing a new feature in its app which could be used by the enterprise companies to contact people on the WhatsApp platform itself.
WhatsApp has already been competing with the popular chat platforms like WeChat, a unit of China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. which does offer ads on its platform. Thus, WhatsApp in a slight change to its revenue model is starting to test a feature where companies which want to gather customer feedback or enterprises like complaint helpline numbers can be directly contacted on WhatsApp and the messaging platform can generate some revenue from the companies.
“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 of WhatsApp’s new plans show.
“WhatsApp is also surveying users about the extent to which they talk to businesses on WhatsApp, and whether they have ever received spam” as mentioned in the documents.
WhatsApp has already announced its plans to develop a application programming interface (API) which can be integrated by the support companies so that the companies which want to take some user feedback or user complaints can be directly approached n WhatsApp without the hassle of going to the stores and doing the actions physically.
Some of the examples of this API in action can be any Airlines or Taxi company registering a user’s request or giving information about the user’s apointment or a mobile company providing customer support for any queries by the user directly on WhatsApp.
This feature is very handy as people will get in touch with many of the companies very easily and will be able to place requests and complaints more easily. Only problem with this feature is the potential increase in the spam messages that can cause some problems to users. If WhatsApp manages to achieve control over the potential spam messages, it can certainly be able to generate revenue from the app without losing its customer base.