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WhatsApp starts charging business users

05 August 2018

Early signs of Facebook's plans to start monetizing the messaging app became glaring about a year ago when it placed ads for some key positions. Facebook planned to gradually make the new tool available to more businesses, focusing first on companies with strong need to manage customer communications.

As Facebook shares tanked and Mark Zuckerberg's firm saw $150bn wiped off its value last week, the firm now hopes WhatsApp, which it bought for $19bn in 2014, can make it money. It is a standalone app separate from the other version of instant messaging platform WhatsApp being used by over 1.5 billion people.

WhatsApp will charge companies between a half a penny and 9 cents (0.3p to 7p) for every message delivered to a potential customer, with prices varying by country. Both Instagram Stories and Status allow users to upload media, text, etc that disappear in 24 hours.

As a developer pointed out, the cost for a business to send WhatsApp messages to India through third parties is far higher than the cost of sending bulk SMSes. The message function on WhatsApp is similar to the one on Facebook, where you can message a business from their Facebook page.

These sponsored posts will be placed at regular intervals amongst the slideshow of photos and videos that users can add to throughout their day.

Facebook has always been testing ways to make money from WhatsApp, which it bought in early 2014 in a deal valued at $19 billion. The company said ads were not part of his plan at the time, at least not until the user base clocks 2-3 billion people; but it seems we are fast approaching that time or it is actually before us.

Like Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook, WhatsApp will be powered using its parent company's advertising platform. In India, companies like BookMyShow, GoIbibo, MakeMyTrip, and Netflix have worked with WhatsApp to send transaction- and booking-related messages to consumers. As expected, calls will be protected by WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption technology. Facebook is also bringing the new Facebook ads which are now getting a new shortcut to connect the advertisers with users.

'We've seen it working well on Instagram and so we're learning a lot from that, ' Mr Idema said.

WhatsApp starts charging business users