WhatsApp is a direct messaging application that only needs a WiFi connection to send messages, photos, videos, or even money.
Although the application is no longer owned by the people who created it, it still helps billions of users connect with one another without needing to pay instant messaging fees or needing to use any precious data.
Who Is The Owner Of WhatsApp?
Meta Incorporated, previously known as Facebook, Inc., is the current owner of WhatsApp.
However, the legality behind the purchase of WhatsApp has been called into question by many American representatives.
Meta first acquired WhatsApp in February of 2014 when the corporation was frequently purchasing other companies in order to add their services and revenue to what Facebook was already pulling in for them.
Before Meta purchased WhatsApp, it had been growing at a rapid rate thanks to the free and reliable service that it was offering.
The application only began to charge a one-time fee of $1 because it wanted to be able to share its application on the Apple Store.
The creators of the application were devoted to giving users an affordable and reliable way to connect with other users around the world.
The application became especially popular in areas that normally charged a standard rate for sending or receiving text messages.
WhatsApp eliminated the need for users to have to pay for the data used when texting by having messages be sent over the internet.
Once WhatsApp became popular enough, the $1 installation fee was eliminated in order to make it more accessible for the consumers who needed it most.
While WhatsApp greatly benefited from the resources that Meta has been able to provide for it, not everyone is happy with what Meta has turned WhatsApp into, including one of the original creators of the application.
As Meta begins trying to create a new identity outside of Facebook, some people wonder if the handling of its applications and branches will ever change.
Others believe that the name change is just another way for Mark Zuckerberg’s company to try and save its reputation.
Who Started WhatsApp?
Jan Koum and Brian Acton created WhatsApp after leaving their jobs at Yahoo! in 2009.
Their time with their previous company left them with a disdain for advertising and the way that many other technology-based companies were covering their websites and applications with advertisements.
Many major tech companies were more focused on how they could make another penny rather than how they could be making the application better for the user.
While other messaging applications relied on gimmicks and games to pull users in, WhatsApp was created and developed to be a pure messaging experience.
The WhatsApp team’s distaste for advertisements led them to expand on the reason that they didn’t sell ads on their application with a link that leads to a quote from Fight Club.
They didn’t want the last thing their users see when they close the app to be another advertisement, but rather, they want users to remember the loving conversations of friends who may not be able to be together in person.
Koum and Acton may have come from completely different backgrounds, but their goal of making communication more affordable was something they shared.
Jan Koum was born and raised in Ukraine before he moved to the United States when he was 16 years old.
Brian Acton grew up in Michigan.
While many app developers were young college students, Koum and Acton were in their 30s while creating WhatsApp.
They began working on WhatsApp only five years after Mark Zuckerberg had created Facebook.
Neither Acton nor Koum was looking to create a massive market or get rich off of their application.
Instead, they wanted to create a sustainable business model and a reliable application that isn’t influenced by marketing.
Although their decision to not have ads left them sleeping in their own office, Brian Acton and Jan Koum were devoted to their ideals for WhatsApp’s purpose.
How WhatsApp Became Popular
In June of 2009, Apple enabled its applications to have push reminders in hopes that this would lead consumers to use their phones and applications more often.
With this new ability at his fingertips, Jan Koum decided to use push notifications to give friends updates when their friends changed their status.
Koum noticed that people were using their statuses to instant message each other with push notifications.
After upgrading the operating model to WhatsApp 2.0, WhatsApp was able to handle internet-based instant messaging.
The free instant messaging that WhatsApp provided was enough to attract a fair number of users to the platform.
When Koum added the feature to be able to log into the application with your phone number, this brought the user base to 250,000 within a few months.
What gave WhatsApp the advantage over other communication applications, such as G-talk from Google or Skype from Microsoft, was how accessible the application was.
WhatsApp even became available on Blackberry smartphones on August 27th of 2009.
While the Blackberry version was extremely similar to other forms of the application software, it wasn’t as powerful on Blackberry phones.
This meant that photos or videos could not be sent through the mobile version.
At this point, WhatsApp was solely a passion project put together by Jan Koum.
There wasn’t a clear direction or any business formality involved.
In order to expand, WhatsApp was going to need some additional funding, and Koum couldn’t do it on his own.
That’s when he went to Brian Acton to ask for help advancing the project that Koum had worked so hard on.
How Seed Funding Benefitted WhatsApp
Although Brian Acton wasn’t quite as actively involved in the WhatsApp development process, he wanted to help Jan Koum turn WhatsApp into a sustainable application.
Acton managed to convince five other former coworkers from Yahoo! to invest $250,000 in seed funding before he joined the WhatsApp team.
With this money, Koum and Acton were able to expand what Koum had originally started with and formally became a company, even if they didn’t see themselves that way.
The application was finally ready to leave its beta phase and become an official product.
The application became incredibly popular around the world, especially in countries where it was common to have to pay to send and receive individual messages.
The only problem was that the application was exclusively found on the Apple Store.
The development team’s customer service email began to get swamped with emails asking when the application would be available for other platforms.
Koum took some of the money that they had raised to hire Chris Peiffer to create the Blackberry version.
After only two months, the application was ready for the Blackberry market.
Again, the application saw success all around the world, except in the United States.
It wasn’t common for American mobile users to have to pay fees for text messaging.
The application was much better for people who needed to speak with loved ones across the world than in the United States.
WhatsApp had a difficult time gaining any appeal in the United States, so Koum and Acton focused on taking the application to Europe and Asia.
It only took Acton, Koum, and Peiffer two years to develop the other versions of WhatsApp, which included Android, Windows, and even Symbian operating software platforms.
These additions and new markets caused WhatsApp to explode in popularity.
Having End-To-End Encryption
WhatsApp never wanted to profit off of their users, and they especially didn’t want to profit off of their users’ information.
In order to create a more secure and private connection between users, the WhatsApp development team used end-to-end encryption to offer a safer user experience.
End-to-end encryption is when your message’s data is scrambled in such a way that not even the messaging application can read it, only the sender and the receiver.
However, this changed when Meta, previously Facebook, purchased WhatsApp.
Meta claimed that it was out of caution, but many users weren’t happy with the policy change.
Rather than having full end-to-end encryption, Meta’s new WhatsApp only offered partial encryption.
This meant that Meta was still able to access your information, even if nobody else could. Soon after Meta had purchased WhatsApp, users found out that WhatsApp was forced to share their users’ phone numbers and analytical data with Meta.
It wasn’t until this information came out that WhatsApp and Meta announced to users of the application that they could manually opt out of their information being shared.
Many users who were opposed to Meta’s purchase of WhatsApp ended up removing the application from their devices.
Since Meta has taken over WhatsApp, the encryption services on the application have been slowly melting away as WhatsApp becomes a new kind of messaging application from what it originally started out as.
Users had until May 15th to agree to these terms, or their accounts would be deleted.
WhatsApp eventually became Facebook’s replacement for Messenger and was eventually given the same treatment as Facebook Messenger.
However, they did later add new features.
Meta Evolving WhatsApp
It took a while for Meta to figure out what they wanted WhatsApp to become.
It had originally bought the company because the application was a more successful version of Facebook Messenger.
With the original creators out of the picture, WhatsApp began to go completely in the opposite direction that it was created and intended for.
In 2017, Meta announced the creation of WhatsApp Business, which was a way for businesses to get in contact with their consumers.
Both Jan Koum and Brian Acton created the application to help people connect with their loved ones and get away from all the advertisements that are constantly being pressed on consumers.
Now, the application is being used to help businesses sell more products to consumers.
Although the application was targeted more towards small- and medium-sized businesses, the application’s push notifications were once again trying to get you to spend more time on your phone and potentially buying goods.
WhatsApp Business was created in response to many business owners using WhatsApp to communicate with their customers.
However, Meta wanted to expand the business services to include things such as creating quick replies for frequently asked questions, sending automatic greetings, label conversations, and many other features.
With the expansion into the business world, Meta believed it would be beneficial for users to be able to send money directly through the application.
Both Koum and Acton were incredibly displeased with what their passion project had become.
After having multiple arguments with Meta, many members of the original WhatsApp development team left.
With WhatsApp past members no longer holding Meta back, they could begin to work on WhatsApp freely.
Using WhatsApp For Marketing
By attracting a new crowd of seasoned business folk and innovating entrepreneurs, Meta was able to give WhatsApp new life.
The heavy focus on WhatsApp for business use led to a brand-new type of a mobile application advertising.
WhatsApp Marketing is using the application to help build your brand’s identity and create a bond between the company and its consumers.
Since Meta has acquired WhatsApp, they have managed to gain two billion users, making it one of the most popular social media applications.
Because most consumers use WhatsApp to communicate with family and friends, the majority of consumers are using the application every single day.
The notification sent for messages between businesses and consumers is just like any other notification that the consumer would receive, making it extremely likely the business’s message isn’t just seen but opened as well.
WhatsApp marketing promises businesses lower marketing costs, higher conversion rates, better sales, and better relationships with their consumers.
Meta found that 55% of consumers had a better experience with companies that messaged their customers.
However, not every consumer is willing to buy a product after a few simple, automated messages.
Around 72% of consumers said that they would interact with personalized messages from companies.
About 66% of consumers feel more comfortable with a sale if the seller is active on WhatsApp because it helps the company feel more human and less like an entity that simply wants their money.
The majority of users who make their first purchase on WhatsApp are likely to make more purchases on the application in the future.
Although many may not have expected it from the once pure messaging application, WhatsApp has a massive market for businesses to advertise to.
Nearly 23% of adults in the United States use WhatsApp and are willing to accept personalized advertisements.
Introduction Of The WhatsApp Business API
While WhatsApp Business may be for small- and medium-sized companies, WhatsApp Business API was made for medium- and large-sized companies that are looking to take advantage of all that WhatsApp marketing has to offer.
Throughout most of WhatsApp’s existence, it hasn’t had a way to create any kind of revenue.
However, WhatsApp Business API is looking to help larger businesses communicate more effectively with their consumers.
For anywhere from half of a penny to $0.09, businesses will be able to send messages to their consumers on a much larger scale than what WhatsApp Business is able to provide.
Businesses that use WhatsApp Business API allow their users to be able to message the business’s WhatsApp page in order to receive information such as shipping confirmations or boarding passes.
This service will reduce the number of calls that a business’s customer service line will receive and is much more affordable than adding additional customer service lines.
The goal of WhatsApp Business API is to generate more revenue for Meta and the business customers that decided to use the service.
WhatsApp has come a long way since Meta first purchased the messaging platform, and it has come an even further way since its creation.
While many businesses have found WhatsApp’s services to be incredibly useful, not everyone is excited about what WhatsApp has become.
Brian Acton’s #DeleteFacebook
One of the people who was most bothered by what WhatsApp has become is co-founder Brian Acton.
Acton is normally a quiet man who would rather focus on his nonprofit efforts than be in any kind of spotlight.
When the news about how Cambridge Analytics was harvesting information from Facebook arose, Acton felt that he needed to say something, no matter how short or sweet that statement was.
Acton went to Twitter and posted a message that simply read, “It is time. #DeleteFacebook”.
Acton had already been upset with the direction that Meta was taking his beloved messaging application, turning it into another place for marketing to invade people’s personal lives.
It was clear to Acton while working with Meta that they only saw him as an obstacle to get in their way, so he chose to walk away from the unstoppable force that was Meta.
When Acton chose to walk away, he was also walking away from an $850 million paycheck.
Acton valued his morals vastly more than any paycheck that Meta could offer him, so he chose to leave WhatsApp behind in order to focus on his nonprofit and make the world a better place.
Although Mark Zuckerberg told Acton that he viewed WhatsApp as a group project in a similar way he viewed Instagram, Brian Acton was unsure what the social media mogul meant.
Zuckerberg took an opposite approach to everything Acton had built.
Instead of offering an application that focused solely on the experience that the user had with the application, the focus became to find the right gimmick to pull more users in.
WhatsApp went from being ad-free to being just another way for businesses to deliver advertisements.
By the time Acton left, he was barely able to make any of the decisions for WhatsApp.
What Lies Ahead For WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is now the property of Meta Incorporated, which also owns Facebook, Instagram, Oculus, and many other technology-based companies.
With Meta recently changing its name to escape its Facebook-based image, it makes sense that its other businesses like WhatsApp are also getting completely overhauled and given new meaning and purpose.
Although some people may prefer what WhatsApp once was, the future that Meta has offered WhatsApp has allowed the application to remain relevant during an age when its original purpose has died out.
WhatsApp has proven that it could be more than just a way for friends to get in touch with other friends, but rather an entire marketplace that is powered by the innovative and inviting future of business.