Saturday, August 22, 2015

What's Behind the free WhatsApp?

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Beginning in 2014, the company WhatsApp instant messaging service provider acquired by Facebook with a fantastic value: 19 billion dollars or about Rp 223 trillion.

In addition to making the owners and employees flooded money -CEO WhatsApp, Jan Koum, supposedly got a "quota" of 6.8 billion US- when many are questioning the motives Facebook annexed WhatsApp.

The social networking giant is suspected of wanting to master database WhatsApp users at the time of the acquisition announcement has reached hundreds of millions.

WhatsApp user base is like a treasure chest for Facebook, companies are largely derived from advertising revenues.

Imagine the money that is going into the Facebook account that the company could, for example, channel promotion of clients to each phone number that the identity of the users WhatsApp.

After all, the concern was immediately rebuffed by the WhatsApp.

Through an official statement, Jan Koum stated WhatsApp will remain keukeuh with the old business model, which levy an annual fee of 1 US dollar after the customer through the life of a free for a year.

"There will not be any changes for our users," said Koum when it is in the company's official blog.

"WhatsApp will continue to operate independently. You will still be able to use it for a fee, "he added. Then, most importantly, "you can be sure that there will be no annoying ads."

For almost two years after the acquisition of Facebook, WhatsApp uphold his promise and deliver a consistent experience and "clean" for the user.

There was no advertising, games, stickers, sales channels, or all sorts of other things that commonly bothering users similar services outside WhatsApp.

Beyond the additional features such as voice calls and access from the desktop, instant messaging services that started its life as a status update is arguably faithful to the old form.

Even though the revenue lines of WhatsApp that used to only come from annual fees.

But now there has been a change. On January 18, 2016, WhatsApp announced will revoke usage fee of US $ 1 per year. That is, the service is completely free.

The policy has come into effect shortly thereafter, on January 20, 2016, when the user notices that greeted WhatsApp instant messaging application that can be used free of charge "for life".

Money from where?

By cutting annual fee, WhatsApp losing the only source of income. Then from where these companies will get the money?

Again, Koum dismissed concerns that it would do something that could potentially interfere with the user's convenience.

"People may ask how we run WhatsApp without charging subscriptions, or worry that this announcement will mark the presence of third-party ads," Koum wrote in a blog post.

"The answer is there will be no advertising."

Instead of lost revenue, WhatsApp states would explore the likelihood of offering a number of paid services for corporate users.

This service will be used by business entities to communicate with their customers without having to pay extra costs.

Koum exemplifies verfifikasi communication in the process of transaction between the consumer and the bank, then it could be delayed notification from the airline to the passengers.

"All messages are now delivered through other channels, namely through telephone and SMS. We wanted to test a variety of new tools to make this easier to do through WhatsApp, "said Koum. It remains unclear what it will be business services in question.

Why WhatsApp change the business model that had worked on the corporate segment targeting consumers so?

Company founded in 2009 is apparently feels that withdrawal of the subscription fee as being operated for years less reliable to fill the company's cash.

The reason, according to Koum, is the amount of WhatsApp users who do not have a credit or debit card to pay a subscription fee.

As a result, WhatsApp user base has now reached the range of 990 million, has doubled since the acquisition by Facebook- could not be utilized optimally. Until then it was decided to remove the charge altogether.

When speaking at the Digital Life Design Conference in Munich, Germany, earlier this week, Koum explained that WhatsApp try to apply the business model of "commercial-participation", a form of evolution model "freemium" in which only certain users are subject to a service fee.

In this case, it is the corporate users who are willing to pay more for premium features or a larger volume.

Facebook's own party as the owner WhatsApp does not implement the "deadline" for certain chat services are to begin large revenue gain.

Thus, according to Koum, WhatsApp users can focus on boosting growth without fear of losing customers who can not pay, while at the same time try their luck in the new realm.

The worst security

Step WhatsApp entered the corporate segment caused little concern about the security of sensitive information that is being circulated in this field. Moreover, WhatsApp arguably not have qualified reputation in the field of data security.

On the contrary, the company is often affected by security issues.

For example, recently, in September 2015, came the news that the web version of WhatsApp client (desktop) has a dangerous gap that could be exploited to install malware on the user's computer.

Earlier, around the middle of last year, WhatsApp crowned the worst technology company in terms of safeguards user privacy by The Electronic Fountier Foundation (EFF).

WhatsApp is considered not to apply the best practices in the technology industry safety standards. WhatsApp succession is seen as less transparent in addressing issues related to privacy, for example, the elimination of certain content that is encouraged by the government and policies related to user data storage.
Problem is, WhatsApp states that every message sent through its service is protected by encryption. WhatsApp users also do not store messages on the server hers, with the exception of unsent messages will be stored on servers with a maximum time of 30 days before being deleted.

But the steps above do not guarantee one hundred percent that the user information stored and sent via WhatsApp would not spy by the other party.

EFF reports underscore the absence of policies that regulate the procedure of data submission to authorities such as the government of a country in WhatsApp policy. WhatsApp user data, for example, could be asked without requiring a court order. The user was not notified when there is a request data from a particular party.

Moreover, the parent company of WhatsApp, Facebook, is known to have a history comply with user data requests by the authorities.

Data security affairs alone is like a sword of two gems. The one hand, the authority of a country in need of information to keep track of things like security related terrorist networks are often actively communicate in social media, behind the shield of encryption and privacy protection.

On the other hand, WhatsApp security must protect sensitive information stored and circulated through the service, which could be broken and used for other purposes by certain parties, such as hackers.

WhatsApp as the largest instant messaging service providers must often be used to exchange critical information by nearly a billion users.

Before the banking and airline joined in though, WhatsApp chat is commonly used by government administrators key figures, including possibly in Indonesia.

WhatsApp user base following their data are very large numbers would probably be a perennial magnet that will always invite fears are exploited, whether by a hacker, authority, or advertisers.