Whatsapp begins to test new business tools

Picture of Ellen McLean

Ellen McLean

Whatsapp is testing a system which allows businesses to contact consumers directly, according to a report by Reuters, which means Whatsapp may begin to make actual money! The search for revenue has been a slow process for the app, since Facebook bought it 3 years ago it has had virtually no business model.

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.

The best potential revenue source for Whatsapp is to charge businesses that want to contact customers on WhatsApp. But the company is working carefully to avoid problems with spam messages.

According to the Reuters report, a “handful” of Y Combinator startups recently began testing the feature:

The trial is still in the early stages, said Umer Ilyas, co-founder of Cowlar Inc, one of the startups involved. The system is highly anticipated in remote places where WhatsApp is especially popular, he said.

Cowlar makes collars for dairy cows, collecting data on their activity and recommending changes to improve milk yield. The company, which is testing the collars in the United States, wants to use WhatsApp to send automatic alerts from the collars directly to farmers if say, a cow is not behaving normally, Ilyas said.

This is not the first use of ‘Business bots’ in the messaging world, with Facebook taking the lead on it around a year ago, allowing hundreds of businesses to communicate through Facebook messenger to consumers.

2017 is the year of 'Business Bots'. It is simply a matter of time before messages from companies on Facebook messenger and Whatsapp will be a daily occurance!

 

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