WhatsApp says it will charge businesses to message customers

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Chief Operating Officer Matt Idema told the Wall Street Journal that WhatsApp will charge a fee for the enterprise solution, but admitted that "We don't have the details of monetization figured out".

Reuters had reported in March that a potential revenue source for WhatsApp was to charge businesses that want to contact customers, citing company documents. Facebook declined to describe the new features, but said they'll be available through the now free tools WhatsApp offers to businesses.

Verified accounts will have a green badge next to them, while messages received from businesses will be in yellow.

WhatsApp, with its daily user base of over a billion people, could become an integral point in customer service initiatives, especially in areas where it's already being used for that objective.

In a blog post on Tuesday, WhatsApp acknowledged that business chat services are coming in various tiers.

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The tools and standalone app for businesses were both recently uncovered in WhatsApp's own documentation and app code.

WhatsApp said in a official blogpost that it is building and testing tools that will enable these businesses communicate useful notifications to their customers like flight times, delivery confirmations, and other updates. We're looking forward to making it possible for people to connect with businesses in a fast and personal way, and giving businesses the tools to make that easier to do. WhatsApp is also rolling out verified profiles for businesses so its one billion daily users can distinguish between a person and a business.

Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion back in 2014, and has yet to earn any return from the purchase.

Users will have the option of blocking a service on WhatsApp as well if they don't wish to be contacted by a particular service. Now many providers rely on sending text messages for updates around such services, but WhatsApp wants to change all of that and become the default app for this sort of communication.

In July, Facebook started showing advertisements inside Messenger, sandwiched between users' conversations when they open the app.

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