In what seems to be the first steps towards monetising its platform, WhatsApp for Business has started a collaboration with online ticketing platform BookMyShow. As per a Factor Daily report BookMyShow is sending its users confirmations on WhatsApp for booked tickets.
As per the report, one of the conformations was posted by a user on Twitter. BookMyShow’s WhatsApp message read, “We will use this chat to send your ticket confirmation. To stop receiving messages from us, please reply with ‘Stop’.”
The report further states that a BookMyShow source told the publication that the collaboration was beyond the pilot testing stage and that BookMyShow has integrated with the chat platform for sending confirmations. The source also added that “the conversations are on various fronts.”
Besides BookMyShow, WhatsApp may also be in talks with others for its WhatsApp for Business programme, mentioned the report. These include cab aggregator Ola and hotel rooms aggregator OYO, along with some airline companies. As per undisclosed sources, Ola too might start sending one-time-passwords and invoices through WhatsApp while OYO too could start sending booking confirmations and invoices on WhatsApp.
BookMyShow declined to comment on the matter.
WhatsApp For Business, A New Foot Forward
If these reports are true, then it will be the first time that the instant messaging service, which currently boasts of 200 Mn users in India, will explore monetising its platform. It continues to offer its service without ads. But now, the platform, which was acquired by Facebook $19 Bn in 2014, is readying itself for advertisers. Charging business customers for the platform seems like an avenue WhatsApp looks keen to explore. Facebook itself has something similar called Facebook at Work for large enterprises, with over 450 companies using Facebook at Work and the number increasing regularly, as per a TechCrunch report.