Facebook’s backed popular instant messaging app WhatsApp could soon introduce a new feature where businesses can connect directly with over 1 billion WhatsApp Users. This comes as no surprise, as WhatsApp had explicitly stated what was coming when they waived off their $1 yearly subscription fee.
As per Reuters, WhatsApp has joined forced with a number of Y Combinator startups to conducting a wide array of tests. Y Combinator forum message board suggest that the company is offering training and advice to startups is to show the real potential of this new service. Last month, WhatsApp penned a deal with Y Combinator which is one of the biggest American seed accelerators and once had companies like Airbnb, Dropbox as members.
What’s the need for WhatsApp to introduce such a service you may ask? Well, At the start, the instant messaging service debuted with a subscription based business model which was later quashed as soon a the Social Media giant acquired it for $19 billion. Which left WhatsApp with no option to generate revenue of its own.
This new feature could very well prove beneficial for both WhatsApp and its partnered businesses. While WhatApp will be benefited in the monitory terms, the business will be able to connect with their prospective customers as well as existing customers. Having said that, It could also lead a spike in Spam messages.
The company is also said to be working on a system to avoid such problems. The report reveals that it is surveying users to find out a number of customers open to talking to businesses via WhatsApp and how many are bothered by spam messages.
Last year, the instant messaging service provider made its intention clear about developing an API – Application programming interface that various business could use to interact with customers. The company cited examples as customer informing the bank about a fraudulent transaction and an airline operator informing its customers about a delayed flight.
One of the Y Combinator companies called Cowlar has come out in open to explain how this could be beneficial. Cowlar Inc. which develops collars for dairy cows to collect daily data regarding their activities and then offer recommendations to improve milk yield. This start up is very upbeat about the new message system and hopeful that it will help them push timely alerts directly to the farmers, in case there is any abnormal cow behavior.
WhatsApp is yet to officially roll out this feature and is yet to announce to what extent it will open up this new service to businesses. It will also be interesting to see, whether this new feature is forced down the throat or customers or they are given an option to opt in or opt out of it.