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The $70bn WhatsApp business story nobody's talking about

September 04, 2018 / Dan Levy

TechCrunch’s Josh Constine was first out of the gate with a hot take under the headline, “WhatsApp Finally Earns Money by Charging Businesses for Slow Replies.”  Constine explains that WhatsApp will let businesses respond to messages from customers for free for up to 24 hours, but charge them to continue the conversation once that window closes. From there, he jumps to an interesting conclusion: “If users get quick answers via WhatsApp, they’ll prefer it to other channels. Once businesses and their customers get addicted to it, WhatsApp could eventually charge for all replies or any that exceed a volume threshold, or cut down the free window.” As Constine notes, the API will also allow businesses to “programmatically” send notifications like receipts, tickets, boarding passes and shipping confirmations to customers who have opted in. While charging businesses to reactive conversations may prove to be a significant revenue stream, the...