Now that WhatsApp has surpassed its 1 billion user milestone, Facebook believes it’s time to monetise it. WhatsApp is testing a system that would let businesses talk directly to users for the first time, reports Reuters (via TNW).
The fact is, the social media giant paid $19 billion for the messaging service three years ago, so it was just a matter of time before it started to monetise this business. According to the report, a handful of Y Combinator start-ups have begun testing the new 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.
In addition to corroborating the monetization strategy, Mashable has knowledge of testing going on in India.
The approach seems to be similar to what Facebook has done with its Messenger platform, which has led to the launch of a series of bots that streamline the communication between a business and a Messenger user. But there are markets where WhatsApp is more popular than Facebook Messenger, so it makes sense to be testing the similar feature there.