VentureBeat’s Bots Channel tracks the most important news and analysis from the exploding field of bots and messaging. Each week, we select the top stories and present them in our free weekly newsletter, BotBeat. We include news stories by VentureBeat staff, guest articles from leading figures in the bots community, and a good number of posts from a wide variety of other outlets. You can subscribe to our BotBeat newsletter to receive this information in your inbox every Thursday.

Here’s this week’s newsletter:

While there are more than 34,000 chatbots on Facebook Messenger, finding one you want to try can be a vexing experience. As we’ve reported before, there is not yet a Bot Store for Messenger. But this week, the social networking giant took one small step towards connecting users with the bots they seek by allowing developers to begin advertising them in the Facebook news feed.

Of course, Facebook’s motives are self-interested. The company makes money from advertising after all. But the change is something that developers had clamored for since Facebook opened Messenger to bots in the spring. It also followed measures this summer that allowed chatbots to send subscription-based messages, as well as promotional messaging, to their users.

On balance, then, while it’s hardly a giant leap towards a Bot Store, the ability of developers to promote their bots will help users find and access them.

As always, please send news tips to and guest post submissions to Be sure to visit our Bots Channel for comprehensive news on bots and messaging.

Thanks for reading,
— Blaise Zerega
Editor in Chief

P.S. Please enjoy this video of Facebook Messenger’s David Marcus in “Bots: What are they good for?” from Web Summit 2016.

From the Bots Channel

New list templates for Facebook Messenger

Facebook now lets developers advertise bots in the News Feed

Facebook Messenger will begin to let bot creators buy News Feed ads to target specific groups of people, the company announced today. Beta versions of subscription messages and News Feed ads for Messenger have been available since August and September respectively. A public release and slow rollout of both features begins this week. The combination of sponsored […]

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A mural of Prince aka The Purple One modified with the Ice filter using the Icon8 Telegram bot.

5 bots to try this week: Icon8, Azkarbot, Flow XO, Octane AI, and RooBot

This week, our 5 bots to try list features three services that our Bots Channel readers may be familiar with. Two of them, Icon8bot and Azkarbot, were featured two weeks ago. And Octane AI, which makes its debut, became embroiled in a controversy shortly after launching, as reported by VentureBeat. But it’s not enough to […]

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The Roll bot attracted 1 million users...without trying.

Above: The Roll bot attracted 1 million users…without trying.

Image Credit: Kik

How our dumb bot attracted 1 million users without even trying

Three months ago, we released a modest chatbot that we thought could be fun to use in group conversations. The bot, which we called Roll, did one simple thing: It randomly selected a participant in the conversation as the answer to such pressing questions as “Who is the biggest flirt?” and “Who’s calling the Uber?” and “Who […]

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The White House7 takeaways from the White House report on AI

The White House released a much-anticipated document entitled “Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence.” Sent from the Office of the President and the National Science and Technology Council Committee on Technology (or NSTC), the report is 58 pages of research, documentation, and recommendations on how the United States government plans to respond to artificial intelligence […]

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Shop for Alexa skills on Amazon.comYou can now shop for Alexa skills on

You can now shop for Amazon Alexa skills the same way you shop for anything else on, the company announced today. Owners of Amazon Alexa-enabled devices like the Echo or Tap can find, enable, or disable skills via an Alexa skills marketplace or dedicated URLs for individual skills. The single website to find all Alexa skills launches […]

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Screenshot of Matt Schlicht apologizing to members of the Bots Facebook group Thursday

Bot community leader accused of using 100 pitch decks to help his own startup

Startup founders and some members of the Bots Facebook group are accusing its creator, Matt Schlicht, of misleading them about his intentions. In May, Schlicht asked for and received more than 100 pitch decks from entrepreneurs after offering to help connect them with investors. The furor erupted this week when Schlicht launched his own bot startup, […]

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Related coverage


How the Bot-y Politic Influenced This Election

Nearly 20 percent of all election-related tweets come from an army of influential robots. (via MIT Technology Review)

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Mark Zuckerberg just explained how close Messenger and WhatsApp are to making money

A big question investors have for Facebook is when it will start making money from its collection of standalone apps. (via Business Insider)

Read the full story


Samsung’s Siri killer to debut on the Galaxy S8

Partially thanks to the Note7 fiasco, Samsung has been unusually open about its next batch of flagship phones, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note8. Owners of Note7 in some markets can replace their device for an advance discount on these upcoming phones, and now we know about one feature that will debut on the S8. (via Mashable)

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Automating Your Customer Interactions: Get Ready for Chatbots

“Markets are conversations,” the Cluetrain Manifesto said in 1999. Today’s markets are more conversational than ever, especially as more and more companies create chatbots for messaging apps. (via Content Marketing Institute)

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