WhatsApp as a mess

I usually never write about the “green-app”, which is the dominant mode of interaction across the world. It is, at best, a SMS replacement, and the bulk of “features” are copied from Telegram. Despite their engineering “resources”, WhatsApp isn’t “profitable”. I doubt if they need it loose money and gather user generated data.

I came across this write up with users complaining about the “spam”:

India’s WhatsApp users are frustrated with increasing spam from brands like Tata Neu, Flipkart, Reliance’s Ajio, and other e-commerce companies – Rest of World

The rise of WhatsApp spam can be traced to the launch of WhatsApp Business in India, and the opening up of its business API, which, starting this year, allowed companies to access WhatsApp’s cloud programming interface, and manage high volumes of chats on the app. WhatsApp makes money by charging businesses for every conversation they have with customers. Businesses can access this service directly or take the help of dozens of official business solution providers such as Haptik, Twilio, and Gupshup.

A little bit of insider perspective:

Asis Panda, who used to build WhatsApp chatbots as the former design head of Haptik, told Rest of World that in early 2020, the bar for companies to gain access to the business API was incredibly high. “You would need to get a green tick without which you couldn’t send any notifications or any transaction,” Panda recalled. Tolerance for spam was quite low, and violations were punished with account suspensions. Businesses sending promotional messages were required to have procured explicit consent from users signing up for WhatsApp updates, with a visual element like a check box, and the option to opt out.

Where is user content now? I wonder if companies can recoup their investments. Telegram’s channels offer a better deal (individual opt-in), no algorithms, and you can automate them.

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