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back to article But... you work in IT... Why aren't we RICH?

“Monetizing is not the goal; growing is.” And with that explanation for his company’s decision to put another £11.5bn of someone else’s money through the shredder, Mark Zuckerberg fired the starting gun for the race to the next dot-com crash. Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp was not ludicrous, however. Nor was it genius, nor …

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sell it quick to HP before you get found out.

Fixed that for you.

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Anonymous Coward

I realise that's a little dig at Autonomy, but you really should read about Mike Lynch, he's a very clever bloke and him leaving Autonomy was just ridiculous given he was the one that built it up.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Richard_Lynch

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Anonymous Coward

Totally agree about WTFapp

As a Skype user & free inclusive SMS texts, can't see the point.

The only reason I can see why in USA is that mobile users have to pay to receive a text (on some networks).

Bummer of a poilicy if someone sends you a text in error.

Have a good weekend!

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Re: Totally agree about WTFapp

On the other hand if you live in a country where competition between telecos is non-existent (e.g. Spain), you have no bundled SMS so Whatsitsface is popular.

The telecos have decided to strike back by only selling smartphones, making data bundles mandatory for smartphones, and charging a metric shitload for a data bundle. The end result is that people probably end up paying more to send messages with WhatsApp than they did sending SMSes before.

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Childcatcher

Re: Totally agree about WTFapp

... in USA is that mobile users have to pay to receive a text...

If you don't have a texting plan, you have to pay to send SMS as well. So they collect twice, and the cost, once a nominal 0.05 has risen to 0.25 (for sender and receiver), but, as I said, it all depends on what your plan includes.

// in my next life, I'm running a d*mn telco: build the infrastructure, then just sit back and watch the cash roll in!

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Re: Totally agree about WTFapp

There's a very obvious use for it, actually, and I'm surprised no one seems to have picked up on it. I use it often, as I have a good mate in Belgium, a good mate in Germany, and I live in the UK. We only get to see each other once or twice a year, and it used to be the case that sending a text to one of them cost me 20p, as texts to cross country networks are certainly not included in my contract allowance. Even mms messages sent to other UK mobiles used to cost me money (which is why I only ever sent 2 in my whole mobile-owning life. One of them to test it even worked).

Now, sending pictures, videos and messages through WTFapp is free, either through WiFi or mobile data.

And before you say "just use Skype blah blah blah", a text is much easier to get away with when sending a dirty joke you just heard throughout the working day.

Whether that use is worth £11.5bn is another matter.

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Re: Totally agree about WTFapp

I have a Vodafone Spain SIM and a GiffGaff UK one. When in Spain it costs roughly twice as much to send a text to a Spanish mobile - even another Vodafone - using the Spanish SIM than it does using the UK SIM.

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Re: Totally agree about WTFapp

"Using WhatTheFuck won’t save me a penny so I’m intrigued as to how they intend monetising it."

Completely agree here. Keep getting people asking me am i on Viber or Whatsapp ( actually pretty much all viber , haven't been asked about whatsapp in over a year)

My usual response, is that i have a phone number, accepts calls and texts, have a Skype account, email address (more than 1) and more minutes and texts included in my bundle per month than I know what to so with. And with iMessage, my text usage has more than halved.

So why the hell would I want to give people ANOTHER method of contacting me?? Its less crap in my inboxes I want, not more. less questions from free loading "friends" about whats the best X or Y (the usual thing, "you are into computers, you must know whats the best camera/printer/scanner/<insert any device run on voltage>")

try charge any of those "billion" users 1 cent, it will quickly drop to n very very small percent of users.

there is a change coming... mark my words... logmein started it by stopping the free service... soon it'll spread

ma, get my gun

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Re: Totally agree about WTFapp

Yes, with children on a different continent SMS gets expensive

However it is basically an IRC, so hardly innovative.

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Re: Totally agree about WTFapp

"try charge any of those "billion" users 1 cent, it will quickly drop to n very very small percent of users."

Actually you do have to pay for it after a while. It isn't much (I think I paid £2 or £3 for 3 years or something) but it's not free forever

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"just use Skype blah blah blah", a text is much easier .."

I'm baffled.

I mostly (99.9% of time) use Skype only for text.

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So why did you stop wearing bell-bottoms and platform shoes then?

They still work as clothing items, but they're not trendy any more so you threw them out an bought whatever the other kids buy.

WTF is popular because it's popular. Gotta be in with the cool kids (or whatever the new cool word for cool is).

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Re: Totally agree about WTFapp

The best thing about WhatsApp is the group messaging. The Picture/Audio/Video messaging is easy and the App is considerably faster than Skype to open up and text with. But the main reason I recommend it to anyone is the group chat.

I have groups for Holidays, Family etc and you don't have to muck about repeating yourself or other people, everyone is on the same page.

Not so great if you have a group with some chatty friends in it and your phone vibrates every 10-20 seconds.... but that isn't WhatsApp's fault

And needless to say, now Facebook has bought it, I've turned off autoupdate. Facebook have finally got hold of my mobile number, but I'll be damned if I'll let them install any more 'features' automagically

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Re: Totally agree about WTFapp

Don't build the infrastructure! For a long time you could make pots of cash by just running a switch and flogging number translation services for businesses that thought they needed an 0845 number. These days, run an MVNO.

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It's the reviews, not the tech, that matters

> After all, the industry is choc-a-bloc with shit technology ...

Yes. shit technology - and even shittier apps - that gets glowing reviews from journalists who only ever read the publicity material, have neither the will, ability nor time to actually - you know - use it and will give a product a 3-star (out of 5) rating for merely delivering a cardboard box. If there's a product inside you'll get 4 stars and if the little blue (annoying bright blue BTW) light comes on when ON is pressed, the full ***** rating is yours. As for comparing products' meaningless, irrelevant and utterly unsupportable or unmeasurable parameters, speeds, capacities and qualities - don't get me started.

Have a product that appears to perform the first few, most basic, functions and you're pretty much guaranteed to make the Editor's choice and if the device looks sleek and shiny as all "futuristic" technology should, get ready to appear on the front cover (or landing page) for the next month.

Reviewers almost never have a critical word to say about products - for fear that tomorrow's mailbag won't contain any more swag. One suspects that the 95% of the world that is in technical terms: crud, never makes it to the review section at all - so we are never warned about those products, but probably see them getting a "glowing" 3-star review in a different publication, along with a sycophantic description of all the features and techy-specs listed on the side of the (still unopened) box.

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Angel

Re: It's the reviews, not the tech, that matters

Reviewers almost never have a critical word to say about products - for fear that tomorrow's mailbag won't contain any more swag

That's not the entire story. Reviewers almost never have a critical word to say about products because if the product actually does become the next wonder hit, they can also brag to all of creation that they predicted it.

What I was told is that it's almost impossible to predict what will be the next big hit, because the people that control the room-fulls of money needed to fund these companies will admit that they themselves don't even know why Facebook and Twitter are so popular.

The basic business model this that, you can get bought out if one of two things are true:

a) Get lots of people to register for your service, or

b) Get lots of journalists or bloggers to say it's cool.

The Underwear Gnomes will be getting funding any day now...

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Re: It's the reviews, not the tech, that matters

Not sure that three stars counts as a glowing review. From a reviewer's perspective, there exist products that don't work properly or are poorly implemented or break down easily. It stands to reason, then, that if a product actually works, it merits more than one or two stars.

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You work in IT, why aren't you rich?

I seem to get asked that almost weekly, and ask myself as well. It's only the minimum wage that's stopping my pay from dropping any further, and it's only the fact that Being Alive Costs Money that's stopping me refusing to work.

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But Mr Dabbs

We may not be cash rich, but surely we are all warm friendly glowy types.

oh soddit I want the money!

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Alert

My eyes!

a visually rich web interface that required customers to install a T1 line merely to see what a £230 woolly jumper looked like

If they looked like the jumper in the image below the original line, then we could praise having a slow link...

It's also a little frightening that if you exchange the words "lastminute.com" for "MtGox" in most of that article, it's equally relevant and accurate.

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Anonymous Coward

... and more of a twat than he’d expected

No, I'm sure he didn't think that Alistair...

So if you’re looking to become a dot-com fatcat, this is what you do: create any old startup and sell it quick to a rich fuckwit before you get found out.

Brilliant... I wish I'd thought of that... you did apply for the patent on that idea, didn't you?

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First is to make up a childish name, like 'boo', 'twitter', 'bing', 'google' etc.

Then, get the trendies to use your site. Sell useless stuff at high prices, or have a service which will never turn a profit. Get the trendies talking about it, as if it is some 'in' secret.

Then, fire out PRs, wait until the investors buy you, sell out, retire to a mansion in the Bahamas before investors realise they've been sold a pig in a poke.

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Got it. You me and Dabbsy can do "Spong!"

Basically, it autotunes your text messages so you can annoy people by having singing messages arrive in their inbox and shitting on their data allowance.

Da yoof will love it.

I'll do the app, you do the website, Dabbs can do publicity. I hear he's met some journalists.

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The scary thing is that I could see that app succeeding. Offer different styles of auto tune, perhaps as a microtransaction. Spong rap battles with friends over text. Hell you/we could even integrate it with WhatsThePoint to catch onto the current investor frenzy.

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I actually want in on that.

My contribution, Spong can pitch shift your voice message past 21KHz so oldies can't hear it and overlay it on the song bit.

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You've included google in a list of companies which "never turn a profit"...

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To be fair, they make zero money from their products. They make billions by selling you.

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Typing a Spong! message will be called "Spinging".

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> Typing a Spong! message will be called "Spinging".

and getting finance will be sponging?

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Coat

..also..

..minces raw or cooked meat, as long as you haven't lost the Dooflab for fitting it to the table..

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"Da yoof will love it."

That's the point missing in the article.

What do most ( maybe all) of these apps have in common?

It's that the kids adopt it, and keep with it until the grown ups try to make money out of it, by which time they've lost interest and moved on to a new thing that we aren't going to even be aware of until someone tries to make money out of it, by which time......

And my kids *were* using Whatsup but I suspect that its time is just about running out.

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>Typing a Spong! message will be called "spinging"

Sexting with Spong will be called 'Spooging'

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and getting finance will be sponging?

Yes, but to make it uber-trendy, you need to say is with a hard G, as in bonging.

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existed ??

I remember somewhere in the previous decenia or maybe millenia that there was this email service that replaced all your words with sound bites from songs. I guess the IP crowd killed that idea as I can not find it anymore.

for example

I will see you tonight. (I will: sung by Mariah Carrey, I will always love you) (see: sung by the Bee Gee's, lady's man) (tonight sung by Outasight lyrcs, tonight is the night)

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"..keep with it until the grown ups try to make money out of it, by which time they've lost interest.."

Actually, they keep with it until.. they've lost interest.. meanwhile they keep auctioning whatever they get to know about their interest. May be, someday, we'll find big lockers of bit-coins at home of F**erb**g or at WhatsThatPlaceCalled.

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I use it for the more often than you'd think occasions where there is WiFi but no mobile signal and to send pictures without having to pay extortionate MMS charges, and that's what most people I know use it for (about 1/2 to 2/3 of my contacts have it)

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Trollface

Re: Lastminute.com

It was entirely pointless. Without Last Minute, we would never have had the benefit of Baroness Soho bringing "digital by default" to UK government

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Friday Funny

Thanks for the chuckles, that was a great piece.

The only people I know who use WhatsApp use it as some kind of "stealth" messaging technology to speak to people they shouldn't be speaking to about things that wives/husbands/partners/parents may be upset to discover. So that's right up the swanny then! Way to use the world's media to kill your USP!

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Alistair, I'm the same a you, I'd never heard of Whats App, no-one I know uses it, and the only reason I became aware of it was that I've been receiving some particularly persistent spam claiming to be from them for a couple of months, and the name caught my eye, as we use a piece of software called What's Up, and the similarity made me look twice.

Until the big hoohah about it, I'd no idea what it was for, though...

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Too Old

Dude, I guess you're just too old.

Oh, and don't forget that the plural of anedote isn't data.

For what it's worth though, pretty much everyone I know uses it, and I'm not that young that we're talking about kids. University lecturers, solicitors, health professionals, and quite a few IT professionals.

And since you ask, what it does that text doesn't is group conversations. It's just instant messaging, it's nothing new, but it's convenient, on the phone and you can set up arbitrary group conversations, great for arranging stuff.

Not worth what they paid for it of course, but not as pointless as you seem to implying.

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Re: Too Old

"Dude, I guess you're just too old." Dead giveaway of da Yoof .

"Oh, and don't forget that the plural of anedote isn't data."

And the plural of antidote isn't data. Either is the plural of anecdote.

As far as I know the only thing data is the plural of is datum.

Glad to hear you found a use for it.

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Re: Too Old

"For what it's worth though, pretty much everyone I know uses it, and I'm not that young that we're talking about kids. University lecturers, solicitors, health professionals, and quite a few IT professionals."

Yeah. Well, I'm cool as fuck, and no-one I know uses it. And because no-one I know uses it, that means no-one cool as fuck is using it, which makes you a square.

We're all sending messages to each other by writing them on cheese and ham toasties and posting them through DPD.

Get with the times, homes, etc.

Steven R

PS: WhatsApp will die with everything else ad-sponsored (which it will be, if it's not already) when the true value of targetted ads is revealed to be a Quarter Of Fuck All. I look forward to that day. Hands up who clicks on ads in anything...

I rest my case.

PPS: in groundbreaking, breathtaking research, Old Speckled Hen makes Raith SWEARY. News at 11....

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Re: Too Old

Yeah, at 36 I'm definitely a yoof, yawn.

Ooh, and good spot on the typo, that's given your reply much kudos.

Still, the plural of anecdote is not data, to correct my typo. Which if you didn't get it, means that no matter how many mates you ask, you have not collected any data. In which case the opinion is not based on any data.

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Re: Too Old

That's okay, I didn't claim that it or I were cool.

You're welcome to your coolness and cheesy messages.

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Re: Too Old

Cheese and ham, dude.

Get with the program. Peace out!

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Childcatcher

WhatShatt, it's used by the yoof old boy therefore worth billions. It's only the yoof that count right now don't you know that?

Not used by anyone who actually draws a salary; in this country anyway. Pretty much like every Daily Mail evil app of the day.

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That's pretty poor. OK WhatsApp may have been vastly over valued, but you clearly have no idea what it does so you're not exactly in a great position to criticize. Maybe do some more research than just asking your mates next time?

FYI, it does texting "for free", including multimedia (photo, audio, video), and has a great "group" function. Not forgetting the fact it works cross borders. Ever tried to text a video clip to someone in the UAE? Oh sure you can email but there it is part of a conversation with a group etc.

Where things are going wrong is that part of the appeal was that it was NOT FarceBook, but there you go.

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