WhatsApp, en route to Monetization

So, I woke up to This…

The Despair..

WhatsApp introduced the Brand New(!) Status Update feature so that people can set Image, Video or a GIF as a status that will be visible to the contacts(Or However you choose to set your privacy settings). They wrote a blog post to announce this feature, which says:

We are excited to announce that, coinciding with WhatsApp’s 8th birthday on February 24, we are reinventing the status feature. Starting today, we are rolling out an update to status, which allows you to share photos and videos with your friends and contacts on WhatsApp in an easy and secure way. Yes, even your status updates are end-to-end encrypted.

Yes, that is very creative feature. But guess what? A similar feature is available already on Instagram, owned by same parent company as WhatsApp. Even the UI is identical to the Instagram Stories, a perfect example of code reuse!!

The Reasons..

Why did WhatsApp do this? Is it simply following the popular trend from SnapChat and Instagram stories? No!! The reason is crystal clear, The $$$!!!
Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 Billion in 2014, which increased to $22 Billion later because of the increase in stock prices. That’s $22000000000!!

Facebook didn’t buy out the WhatsApp at that price just because it was a competition to the Messenger. They definitely planned to monetise it at some point. Hence, in spite of the messaging platforms’ original policy of no advertisements to users, recently Facebook eased the privacy policies of WhatsApp so that the data of WhatsApp users can be used for the advertising on Facebook. Instagram recently provided way to sell products using their stories. This can come to WhatsApp too. WhatsApp can soon be a tool for companies to reach their potential clients, which will mean millions in revenue for WhatsApp.

The Reactions..

WhatsApp is (was?) a strictly messaging app. The secret of its success lies in its simplicity. Not having too many features was what made it so popular(Less IS More!). It is used because it lets people do what they want to do essentially, communicate with people they care about, without having any noise or unwanted updates from irrelevant(or less relevant) people, until now. From now on the status tab of the app will be flooded with updates from irrelevant and may be even annoying people. There will be a lot of noise in the app which might feel troublesome to many users.

The screenshots here convey the feelings of users quite clearly. We all use either Instagram or SnapChat or both. We didn’t need a new feature in once simple messaging app. Many(including Me!) have taken it to the social networks to express the disappointment.

The Impact..

So most people are disappointed by this change, does that mean it will translate to decrease in the user base of WhatsApp? Not necessarily. WhatsApp is still basically a messaging app topping the downloads chart in both ios and Android platforms. Generally, disappointed users move to the next best option. But in case of WhatsApp the next best option is, well, nonexistent. No messaging app is even close to WhatsApp in its vertical. Therefore people as good as have no other choice than using whatsApp.

The point to be noted in above screenshots is that, even though people are unhappy with this change, they are still using the same feature to convey their feelings. So, maybe, just maybe, WhatsApp updates will get popular in the coming future. After all, minds of the people work in funny ways as we’ve seen in US presidential elections last year.

Do you agree with my views about WhatsApp status update?? Let me know in the comments. Also press that little heart so that more people could read this..