Don’t freak out if you see a green tick mark next to a contact name on WhatsApp! The $19Billion acquisition is finally taking steps towards monetization and it has been christened WhatsApp for Business
WhatsApp’s company website displays a page carrying FAQs around the new service that begins with this sentence, “WhatsApp is exploring ways for you to communicate with the businesses that matter to you.”
That’s WhatsApp for Business for you, a seamless transition from texting friends, dodging family groups and canceling high school reunion plans to a portal that is ambitiously aiming to eliminate the veteran text messaging service, the SMS.
WhatsApp’s exploration into a business communication tool follows closely into another one of Facebook’s Instant Messaging platform, Messenger, created to compete and replace WhatsApp in the market. Ended up being half brothers? Step brothers? Never mind.
Okay, so WhatsApp Founder and CEO Jan Koum had made it very clear that the company would not obstruct the fluidity of their platform with annoying ads, and since they had dropped the $1 yearly subscription plans after Facebook paid them big money, the monetization light seemed to have dimmed down even further.
Ergo, WhatsApp for Business.
It could be foreseen that WhatsApp may tread the same path as step brother Messenger and eventually unveil bots on the platform, which frankly would make a whole lot of more sense than on Messenger. Both IM platforms boast of a billion plus user base, although WhatsApp rose to prominence due to their product, and Messenger was forced upon Facebook users. That makes the chatbots assimilation into WhatsApp much more convenient.
If you do spot a Verified Business Account on WhatsApp, in addition to the green tick mark, you will also spot that any messages you send to that particular contact will appear in a yellow bubble. These messages cannot be deleted.
The FAQs further explain, ‘If you already have a business’s phone number saved in your address book, the name you will see is the name you have saved in your address book. If you don’t have a business’s phone number saved in your address book, the name you will see is the name the business has chosen for themselves.”
Needless to say, you can block them in order to prevent them from contacting you, if you wish to.
It is not very complicated if you think of it this way. WhatsApp wants to replace SMS and wants businesses and you to contact each other under their encrypted world. This step is a deviation from their previous plans of allowing businesses to send promotional messages on WhatsApp using Facebook’s data to target the right people. This sadly (for Facebook) did not work out very well as that required users to link their Facebook and WhatsApp accounts.
“The controversial decision to link WhatsApp and Facebook user activity led to a $122M fine in Europe, earlier this year, after regulators judged Facebook had provided “incorrect or misleading” information at the time of the acquisition (although Facebook claimed this had been an “error”).” as reported by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch.
Business Insider reports that WhatsApp is even considering peer to peer payments in India, one of the biggest markets for them.