There was a time when WhatsApp used to charge for its services. The price was a very affordable $1.00 per year but they had to discontinue it as some people, especially in developing countries, had trouble making the payment. The result was an explosion in the number of users but now that WhatsApp has about 2 billion regular users, growth is no longer the overarching objective it was. To help monetise WhatsApp has looked to businesses and it seems they are going to be launching a WhatsApp Business plan soon.
According to WABetaInfo, the new WhatsApp Premium package will come with several perks. Among these:
- is the ability to be able to link an account with up to 10 devices in comparison to the current limit of 5 devices,
- you can name these devices during the linking process so you easily remember them
- the ability to create unique custom business links such as wa.me/zimpricecheck
- These links would be discoverable too as opposed to normal user links that are not indexed by Google
- This will be optional so businesses that do not want to update can keep using their standard version of WhatsApp Business.
There are still a lot of unknowns:
- When this will be launched
- What payment methods will be accepted
- What plans will be available
New other features will probably be added. As already noted, Facebook, the owner of WhatsApp have struggled to make money directly from WhatsApp users. They do not want ads nor do they want to pay. They have forced Facebook to focus on businesses instead. The company already charges businesses to access it’s so-called API that allows businesses to make chatbots. Businesses in Zimbabwe have been happy to pay as the bulk of people on the Zimbabwean internet are confined to WhatsApp thanks to MNO bundles.