WhatsApp is beginning to verify business accounts with a green badge next to the user’s phone number. The symbol looks like this:
“If you see a green badge next to a contact’s name, it means that WhatsApp has confirmed that the phone number of this contact belongs to a business account,” according to a FAQ about verified business accounts on the WhatsApp website.
Conversations with businesses will also be distinguished from others because all business messages will come in yellow. Green checks are available on a limited basis today. A WhatsApp spokesperson declined to comment about the number of verified business accounts or when verification will be available to the general public.
The addition of the little checks next to accounts could be a big deal, as it appears to be the first sign of WhatsApp’s effort to connect businesses with customers. Plans to begin business chat on WhatsApp were first announced last August. Testing of business chat for WhatsApp reportedly began earlier this year with Y Combinator startups, but no service has been made publicly available yet.
Earlier this summer during a Q2 earnings call, the central focus for analysts asking questions to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg were about the monetization of messaging apps Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Sandberg said the march to monetization will be “slow and deliberate.”
“Messaging is really strategically important for the company and the long-term engagement with our users, and the organic feel of the engagement with businesses and consumers is where we will be focused. So it’s early days this year, and it’s going to continue to be early days for a while,” she said.
Once WhatsApp, an app with 1.3 billion monthly active uses, begins to connect businesses and customers, it’s going to have competition from companies like Twitter, Skype, and Apple’s iMessage, which plans to launch a service called Business Chat.
Little green checks next to business accounts is the latest new feature for WhatsApp. Last week WhatsApp introduced colorful text updates to Status, stories that disappear in 24 hours that now have more than 250 million daily active users. The colorful feature was brought to WhatsApp from Facebook, where it originated.