worldBrands are spamming WhatsApp users in India, Facebook’s largest market

Brands are spamming WhatsApp users in India, Facebook’s largest market


It is time to getting a sneak peek at how the free app’s user experience may evolve as Meta expands its partnerships with businesses on WhatsApp; it’s the largest gamble to commercialize the IM service that boasts more than 2 billion users. Not very satisfying. Numerous consumers in India, WhatsApp’s most crowded market with over 500 million subscribers, have recently complained about receiving excessive amounts of spam texts from businesses. Users complain that WhatsApp is increasingly becoming the SMS app it superseded in the country because of free texting.

The following is what one source who is aware with the matter claims: thousands of Indian firms have signed up for WhatsApp. Their ads constantly reach the eyes of more than 80% of users, far outpacing those launched on email and traditional text messaging. Worse yet, as the author describes, many companies keep calling back from other numbers even after users have stopped them.

WhatsApp turned to online sales to alleviate financial strain, but the firm is also fighting an epidemic of spammers:

• Rao told the rest of the world via Twitter DM that “store ones” are the best. They always ask whether they may use your telephone number to contact you over WhatsApp, even though you must submit it for billing purposes.

• About 550 million Indians use WhatsApp, which Meta developed. The WhatsApp Business services have rapidly grown throughout the country over the past year, allowing businesses to communicate with their clients, provide assistance, accept payments, and check documents. Since 80% of WhatsApp messages are reportedly read within five minutes, the platform is a much more effective outreach tool than email or SMS, making it an interesting possibility for Indian businesses to access clients using WhatsApp directly.

• However, at least ten frequent program users told Rest of World that the unregulated rise of spam has made the messaging platform, formerly viewed as a private and intimate environment to speak with friends and family, feel like a busy main street cluttered with hawkers. Compared to before WhatsApp’s business section existed, using it now is a truly exasperating ordeal. It feels like harassment, Rao told the rest of the world.

• Tech worker Deepak Mehta vented his frustration on Twitter, writing, “Every fucking thing Zuck touches is forever ruined.” The original WhatsApp was fantastic. My mailbox is constantly being bombarded by unsolicited messages from anonymous corporate accounts. You slimy lizard, I effing hate you.

• WhatsApp did not provide a direct answer when asked about the increase in spam. A WhatsApp representative told Rest of World via email, “As we continue to connect people with the businesses, they value most on WhatsApp, it is important that messages sent through our service are helpful and expected.”

• The introduction of WhatsApp Business in India and the availability of its business API this year allowed businesses to access WhatsApp’s cloud programming interface and handle large numbers of chats, which led to an increase in spam. WhatsApp monetizes itself by charging companies for each customer conversation. This service is available to companies independently or through one of the many authorized business solution providers, such as Haptik, Twilio, or Gupshup.

• Mumbai sweets shop owner Yash Bhanage told Rest of World that switching to WhatsApp for customer support has been a game changer for his business. Bhanage has successfully re-engaged 20% of consumers who had added things to their cart but then abandoned it by sending personalized WhatsApp reminders. Only roughly 8 per cent of consumers were persuaded to change their thoughts after receiving a similar warning through email.

• On a rainy night, Bhanage issued a tailored WhatsApp broadcast message to anybody who had purchased savory snacks in the previous 12 months. A message with a GIF of a hungry person and the words “Rainy days and Chaat go hand in hand?” was sent. Bhanage reported that the Bombay Sweet Shop received 100 orders via WhatsApp in the following hour, resulting in an income of more than 90,000 rupees.


Whatsapp estimated that 15 million Indians will use the WhatsApp Business app monthly by 2020. Since then, relentless marketing has attracted even more users, propelling WhatsApp Business’ free edition into India’s top 30 most-downloaded apps.

Former Haptik design head and WhatsApp chatbot developer Asis Panda informed the Rest of the World in early 2020 that the business API access barrier was extremely high. To send notifications or complete a transaction, “you would need to get a green tick,” as Panda recalled. There was little tolerance for spam, and offenders faced immediate account termination. Any company sending promotional messages over WhatsApp must obtain the user’s express approval through a visible element, such as a check box and an opt-out option.


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