Business users can now pay to run WhatsApp through their own servers or via Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the first move by WhatsApp-owner Facebook to try to make some cash off the hugely popular encrypted messaging service.
WhatsApp’s API for businesses that will let firms run a WhatsApp Business API Client and will charge between 0.5 cents to 9 cents (0.3p to 7p) for commercial use. Though, importantly, responses to customer-initiated messages will be free within the first 24 hours.
The service will let businesses to send up to 15 messages per second and users must first opt-in to receive messages, which (hopefully) means that advertising spam should be kept to a minimum on the service.
“Since we launched the WhatsApp Business app people have told us that it’s quicker and easier to chat with a business than making a call or sending an e-mail,” the Facebook-owned messaging service said in a blog.
“The Business API Client supports a subset of the features provided by the WhatsApp applications you already know from Android, iOS, Web and other platforms including end-to-end encryption.
“The difference is that this application can be deployed on a server, providing a local API that allows you to programmatically send and receive messages and integrate this workflow with your own systems (CRMs, customer care, etc.)”, an explainer on the Facebook developer’s page explains.
If you want to know more about how to use the service for your own business, then you need to know that the service runs on Docker and can be deployed on an in-house server via Docker Compose, or run through AWS. MySQL is the officially supported database engine.
Interested devs and startups can see more over at https://developers.facebook.com/docs/whatsapp/faq