South Korea's top messenger application operator Kakao Corp. said Wednesday it has started to allow small enterprises to open a business-only account via Kakao Talk, providing them a means to communicate with consumers more easily.
Named "Yellow ID," the service gives users a second Kakao Talk ID for business purposes. Previously, the country's most used mobile messenger only allowed one account for each phone number.
While Kakao already operates "Plus Friend," it said the new service is different in that it is free and allows businesses to have one-to-one chats with individual subscribers.
"Plus Friend," on which major firms such as McDonald's and Samsung Group, as well as celebrities are registered, is used mainly to send coupons and updates to subscribers, with commission paid to Kakao.
"Yellow ID is for small enterprises such as restaurants and medical clinics, and the service is free of charge," said Elin Lee, a communications official from Kakao. "The service can be used with the existing Kakao platform, and users can simply make a second account for their business."
Kakao said there will be limited restrictions on Yellow ID to prevent unlawful business activities. "Except for that, anyone can make a Yellow ID with a valid e-mail address," Lee said.
To prevent businesses from sending spam, Kakao said Yellow ID users can only send messages to consumers who subscribe to the sender's account.
Awaiting a major merger and market listing later this year with Daum Communications Corp., Kakao has been trying to diversify its business portfolio as its conventional sources of profit become less lucrative.
While Kakao Talk, which commands 37 million local users in the country of 50 million people, is firmly established in the market, its lack of new sources of profit is seen as dampening its future outlook. (Yonhap)