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This is fun

WhatsApp says its Business app now has over 200 million monthly active users.WhatsApp Business, the Meta app that lets small businesses market themselves and interact with customers, has quadrupled its number of users since 2020, the company says

OK, so I don’t use WhatsApp anyway. But I’d not even known of the existence of WhatsApp Business. And yet it has 200 million customers? That’sa pretty damn big thing running along under the surface there.

35 thoughts on “This is fun”

  1. I sent a snotty note to my electricity supplier telling them not to keep sending me pleas to get a smart meter by all 3 of post, email, text. I then got a WhatsApp from them so I went back to them saying WhatsApp is for family and friends, don’t send me stuff that way & to use email instead. I still get all the smart meter crap so it just gets filed in the appropriate receptacle. I can’t be arsed to remonstrate further.

  2. Anyone stupid enough to sign up for a smart meter deserves the load shedding they’ll get soon.

  3. I wouldn’t count on there being 200 business users. It’s just one of the ways of getting a second instance of Whatsapp on the same phone.
    Can’t say I’m all that impressed with businesses using Whatsapp either. I usually reply with “This message will be deleted, kindly e-mail” if it’s anything important. The idea of having important dialogue with someone can delete the lot whenever they feel like it, does not inspire confidence.

  4. I do use WhatsApp, frequently. But I’d not even known of the existence of WhatsApp Business either.

    It astounds me how much value I derive from a free service that doesn’t even push adverts at me. Just this weekend my family were discussing what we would do if Meta asked people to pay for WhatsApp. Hopefully Meta won’t carry out similar market research.

  5. Even more fun. WhatsApp does not appear to have any output as far as GDP figures etc are conncerned. No charge, no ads, no output. But it does have costs – 200 engineers last time I asked Facebook.

    So, in the economic stats, WhatsApp appears as a reduiction in productivity.

  6. It’s essentially paid for out of the leftover petty cash lost down the back of Facebook’s sofa. The same with LINE which I use for Japanese contacts.

    I hazard a guess that any of the stripped-down messaging services that breaks ranks and fills their service full of ads and charges will crash and burn as users flee to others offering the free core basic services, so I’m willing to hazard an assertion that they will remain free and simple.

  7. @Tim

    That’s because GDP measures cost – not value. So something you get free adds nothing to GDP, regardless of how great it’s value is. (Though it might add indirectly as workers providing the free service must spend their wages on something).

  8. @jgh
    It’s surprising hard for users to flee to other messaging apps. They are a herd mentality thing. The person who tries to use another system gets ignored by the herd. Currently there are 2 billion herd members. That said I’m told a lot of young kids use the messaging in Snapchat, but again thats a herd thing too.

  9. Err, no. GDP measures value add – but only where value add is monetised. No monetisation and there’s no addition to GDP. This is why housewifery is not in GDP.

    GDP is measuring the cost of providing the service, it’s there in the accounts of Facebook. It’s not measuring the output, the value add….

  10. I believe it is a regional thing. No-one here much uses WhatsApp but it was the standard messaging service used when I was in Jordan and so I had to install it on my phone.

    I had a quick poke around, and I think the main user may be India.

  11. @Chester Draws
    Choice of messaging app is a herd thing. India has about a billion people and 50% of them use WhatsApp. In the UK about 75% use it. A higher percentage of a much smaller population. In some places another messaging app id used and the folks there don’t use WhatsApp. People use what the folks they want to communicate with use.

  12. At my kids’ schools, each class has a parents’ WhatsApp group; there are additional WhatsApp groups for football, for scouts, etc. On the family side there’s one group for my side of the family, another for my wife’s side of the family. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t use it. The product itself is very good.

    As for the business side, it’s cheaper & more reliable than implementing yet another website chat interface which crashes and/or times-out at the worst moment. WhatsApp is robust and does the job very well.

    Eventually Meta will be tempted to over-burden it with new features, and users will migrate to other services; but for now it’s outstanding.

  13. Boganboy

    Down your way, isn’t the equivalent to write messages on sticks and throw them at each other ?

  14. What Andrew M said. One of the most important family apps. Like my wife will spot a musical and “hey, anyone in”. Or my daughter can ask if anyone’s near town and can she get a lift. Take away orders are done on it. Marvellous app.

    Also what Andrew M says. At some point, they’ll clog it with shit like every good app.

  15. If you allow WhatsApp to access microphone and contacts list, it will look at your contacts and listen to your audio and send the lot back to Facebook. Tested by allowing microphone and talking about a fairly obscure brand of luggage, then disabling the microphone and talking about a similarly obscure brand of kitchen appliances.

    All the ads I saw for the next week were for luggage — mostly for the brand I was talking about and a handful for obvious competitors — nobody was trying to flog me an overpriced blender.

  16. App providers as Emerging Market plays. Does remind me of the African fisherman using mobiles to determine the best place to land their catch.

  17. I do wish sometimes there was a subscription messaging service. Then it wouldn’t attract the Free Stuff Army cunts & you’d know the people you were conversing with were serious people. What’s the subtraction from GDP of the time wasted on Whatsappery?* Must run into trillions. Why I initially shunned Whatsapp. If you’re not willing to pay for the communication it can’t have much value. But then it proliferated into the main stream. However the hours one wastes on nonsense Whatsappery is a drag. Why do people think you have unlimited time to deal with their drivel? ‘Block’ gets used a lot. I still tend to do that with Whatsapp voice calls because they have a regular habit of dropping out midway. If the caller won’t go over to a phone line, fuck ’em. Can’t be important. Voice messages get ignored for the same reason. I’m not spending minutes of my valuable time listening to bollocks.*
    Is that true, Matt. I think most people believe the audio message is encrypted. That’d come as disturbing news to certain sections of the black economy. Especially as many are the sort of people too lazy to text.

    * And not just to the users. I had a request from a property agent here to meet with him at a bar to discuss a house rental. Being Spain, naturally he was late for the appointment. When he did eventually arrive I was expected to watch him responding to his Whatsapp messages on my time. So I reached over, took his new iPhone out his hand & pitched it into the middle of the busy street & left. Confident in the knowledge that the number he had for me was an unregistered burner that wouldn’t get him anywhere.
    **I’m certainly of the opinion there’s a high cretin factor amongst voice message users. For instance, I was in the car with someone with the intention of picking up her friend in a busy town centre. And they were conversing by Whatsapp audio message to agree the pick up point. Trouble was, by the time it was established where she was standing we’d already passed & faced about 3km of no U-turn, no Left-turns before we could reverse course. Then we had the repeat of same with the prospective pick up standing on the other side of the road. Rather than go for the third attempt I had a heated exchange with my passenger about the merits of real-time phone calls & dumped her out the car. They could both be still there as far as I’m concerned.

  18. They could both be still there as far as I’m concerned

    As soon as you were gone they probably turned on the location sharing in WhatsApp so they could both see on the map where they each were with GPS accuracy instead of trying to describe where they thought they were.

  19. I do wish sometimes there was a subscription messaging service.

    Have you tried Signal? It’s still a free app but by dint of it not being WhatsApp, and it being regarded as seriously security and privacy focussed, it may have a higher ratio of sensible users.

    I couldn’t say since email, text and voicecall seem quite sufficient for my general communication.

  20. @BiS

    WhatsApp claim the messages are encrypted, so pretty sure they are as they’d get into serious trouble if they were caught lying about it.

    My experiment was done by just leaving the phone on the table and talking about things: not putting stuff into voice messages. If WhatsApp has access to the microphone then it picks up *everything*

  21. Matt

    I wonder… It might have been Google ( or Apple ) listening in as they own the underlying drivers for the microphone and harvest data

  22. @Ottokring
    That’s what I’m wondering.
    But if you’re intercepting every conversation happening within hearing of every one of the world’s phones running Whatsapp, that’s one helluva lot of bandwidth & data processing. Is that doable?

  23. @Tim – “GDP measures value add”

    Only up to the point that someone pays. What they pay is a cost, so it measures cost. For example, if Nigel runs a street stall selling coffee, and sells a coffee to Zoe for $4 ($3 costs plus $1 profit) then GDP includes $4 – which is the cost to Zoe, not the value. If Nigel had sold the same coffee for $5, then GDP would have included the extra dollar, even though the value is unchanged, so GDP measures cost and not value.

  24. WhatsApp is pretty cool for business. Customers can send me an order and it gets put into production immediately. A couple of smartasses see it as a new spamming channel. I delete and block the hell out of them and then they call me to ask why don’t I have WhatsApp.

  25. BiS try threema
    Very secure and not just for illicit purchases
    But persuading those you wish to communicate with to sign up is more time expensive than the app.
    Update, maybe its free now

  26. @Chester Draws – “Surely $5 is the value”

    (I assume you mea to Zoe as she pays it). No. We know that her value is at least that, but cannot know what it is. For example, if Nigel sells the last coffee of the day to Zoe and drives off, but before Zoe starts drinking it, Marcus appears, desperate for a coffee and offers Zoe $10 for the same coffee we can tell that Marcus values it above $10. If Zoe sells him the coffee, we know she values it at less than $10, while if she refuses she values it at more then $10. Beyone these limits, we cannot know.

    This is why we have auctions. When something sells at auction we know that the buyer’s value is more than the price paid (but cannot tell how much since there were no other bidders to drive their bid up) and the lack of other bids tells us that nobody else values it above that. The fact that the bid exceeded any reserve means that the price exceeds the value that the vendor puts on it. But apart from these limits, we cannot narrow down any further the value to any party.

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