Wechat has been “collected” for 100 million yuan, revealing its stubbornness

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Wen / Yu songye editor Han Qing
Source: new entropy (ID: baoliaohui)
Recently, the topic of “Tencent’s 100 million cashmere” has attracted attention. According to the company’s information, Tencent sued the two main companies behind the third-party group control product “OK wechat housekeeper” – Guangzhou Dengtang Communication Technology Co., Ltd. and Xiamen lianlianyi Technology Co., Ltd. for violating the unfair competition law.
According to the judgment, the defendant promoted the wechat management software on its website “OK wechat housekeeper”. The software can obtain various kinds of privacy data such as wechat user information, chat content, wechat friends, wechat circle of friends, wechat red packets and transfer, and automatically generate statistical charts, which has many functions not provided by wechat.
OK wechat housekeeper makes a profit by charging service fees. There are also media reports that the product will quietly sell the collected information for profit. The two defendants disclosed that they had made a profit of more than 100 million yuan through OK wechat housekeeper. Tencent won the case in the first instance with a compensation of 3.6 million yuan. But the amount of compensation compared to the other party’s profit is really insignificant.
Since this year, wechat has officially banned the third-party group control tools such as wetool, which means that the era of wild growth of such plug-in tools has officially ended. Unfortunately, WeChat’s official support WeChat make complaints about its poor function, which shows the sharp contradiction between WeChat’s product concept and user needs.
In the face of frequent external intrusion, Tencent did not take a “one size fits all” strict blocking measures. As the founder of wechat ecology and the maker of rules, wechat allows new things to have a certain growth space, but it does not allow external products to threaten itself. It is always time to eliminate the root causes when the time is ripe.
Tencent’s struggle with plug-in software
Plug in is not only a problem faced by wechat today. As early as more than a decade ago, QQ, as the overlord of the previous generation of instant messaging tools, has been facing a serious problem of plug-in invasion.
In 2001, a university teacher in Beijing launched the corallite version of QQ, which was popular among netizens because of its functions such as showing each other’s IP and geographical location and removing advertisements, which were not available in the official version. The emergence of the coral version of QQ, opened the QQ plug-in era prologue. Since then, there have been many qq plug-ins on the network, such as rainbow QQ, Hongqi QQ and hookqq.
“Go advertising, show IP”, is the common selling point of most plug-in products, not only exposed the privacy of users, but also let the business value of QQ be impacted.
QQ is merciless to the external plug-in producer. In 2008, Chen Shoufu, the producer of coral QQ, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of 1.2 million yuan for copyright infringement. Three years later, the producer of rainbow QQ was also found to be infringing and unfair competition on QQ, and the two companies that developed the company were sentenced to compensate Tencent 500000 yuan. Hongqi QQ is a plug-in software developed by two former Tencent employees. In 2012, three persons in charge of Hongqi QQ were sentenced to six to seven months for illegal access to computer information system data.
QQ plug-in era ended, not only because of Tencent’s strict investigation, but also because of the arrival of the era of wechat. In 2011, with the birth of wechat, the main battlefield of instant messaging has gradually shifted from QQ to wechat. People no longer need QQ plug-ins, and various plug-ins for wechat emerge as the times require.
At the same time, Taobao’s threshold and cost are getting higher and higher, and a large number of Sanwu cosmetics businesses are looking for other ways. Almost cost-free social media has become the back of many businesses. The rapid rise of wechat also gave birth to the new species of wechat.
In the next few years, more and more industries began to realize the power of private domain traffic in wechat, and began to develop customer groups based on wechat. However, the efficiency of operators manually adding friends, managing communities and fans is always limited. Therefore, many plug-in products that can optimize the management of wechat community enter into the vision of enterprises and become the magic weapon for enterprises to expand their territory.
In many wechat plug-in products, there are mainly two categories. One type belongs to the semi regular army, such as wetool, which has a large number of users and thinks that they have been under the noses of wechat for many years, but they are at peace with each other, and their existence has been tacitly approved by the official authorities; the other is the illegal plug-in software, including “clearing friends” and “modifying wechat steps” and other plug-in software, which is made by individual developers, and may have the possibility of fraud, stealing user information and falling down Sales and other issues.
In view of the news about the illegal plug-in software often appears in the newspapers, people default that most of the wechat plug-ins are unreliable, and they are moving closer to head products such as wetool. However, unexpectedly, at the end of May this year, a crackdown against users of wetool began to spread. Industries such as wechat business and online education, which rely heavily on third-party group control tools, were affected, and there were complaints for a time.
The official attitude of wechat is tough and has issued a formal warning to users. If the blocked account continues to use the plug-in software, it will be permanently blocked. For those users who have a strong need for community management, wechat suggests that they migrate to enterprise wechat. There is no doubt that wechat is the regular army in the group control tool.
The enterprise wechat was launched in 2016. At first, it only existed as a basic enterprise communication tool, and it was not connected with the wechat ecosystem. Until the end of 2019, the enterprise wechat officially connected to the wechat ecosystem and optimized the efficiency tool. Coincidentally, wechat also increased its efforts to deal with plug-ins in 2019.
On June 18, 2019, the wechat Security Center issued the announcement on cracking down on “wechat marketing” plug-ins, which opened the prelude of cracking down on plug-ins. In the first wave of many plug-in products, including “Xiake” and “access cloud”, Tencent filed a lawsuit against the operators of these products, believing that the development and operation of these group control software constituted unfair competition.

However, wetool, which was blocked only in May this year, has a much better future. Hangzhou Tubao Co., Ltd. behind the product has not been sued by Tencent. Instead, it has been “incorporated” by the official wechat, that is, it has become the official service provider of enterprise wechat, and has developed and launched a new group control product, enterprise Weibao.
The wechat developers who are lucky to be attached to wechat are encouraged. Now, it has been more than half a year since wetool was banned. After being sued by Tencent, OK wechat Guan family has disappeared rapidly, but there are still a large number of plug-in products on the market. “New entropy” observation found that these products are mostly realized by charging service fees and advertising fees. They are dormant in the wechat ecosystem, but they will not be strangled in the cradle by wechat officials.
Choosing only external plug-ins with large volume makes the outside world think that the blocking of mainstream plug-ins such as wetool by wechat is to set an example to others and pave the way for enterprises’ wechat, but this statement is not a perfect explanation.
User’s helplessness
After blocking mainstream plug-ins such as wetool, wechat has gained a large number of users. However, the embarrassment of wechat is that it is “difficult to use”, which has become the evaluation of enterprise wechat by many enterprise community operators. At present, the functions of enterprise wechat are still very conservative. Many services that can be provided by third-party group control products, such as automatic reply, keyword pull group and other important functions, are not provided by enterprise wechat. These functions that can be realized by many third-party teams are not what wechat does not want to achieve, but more like deliberately not realizing them.
The reason why wechat functions poorly may be related to its relatively closed system. Many people know that Zhang Xiaolong, the father of wechat, has a “three no” principle, that is, not harassing, not moving and not catering to users. This product concept has affected the keynote of wechat.
As the official derivative version of wechat, enterprise wechat does not exist in order to cater for enterprise marketing. It is a buffer strategy in the process of eliminating the third-party group control products to let the enterprise operators migrate to the enterprise wechat management users. When the group control products are strangled, how to run the enterprise community efficiently is not the problem that wechat officials think should solve for users, because wechat officials don’t want to open the mouth of “harassing users”.
Wechat’s product concept of “no harassment to users” is reflected in all aspects. For example, the text in the circle of friends can only display 5 or 6 lines, and the extra text will be folded. In addition, the circle of friends sent by the accounts of over active and suspected wechat businesses will be blocked, and new friend applications will not be displayed. All kinds of links with induced sharing nature in the wechat ecosystem are often blocked.
The product details of wechat also highlight the product concept of “traceable interpersonal network”. Unlike QQ, a large number of unfamiliar users or QQ groups can be retrieved by searching for nicknames or group names. There is a certain threshold for adding friends to wechat. How other people add you as friends will always be displayed under the information column of this person. There are traces to follow through mobile phone number, business card, wechat group and QR code.
The interpersonal relationship in wechat group will also be prompted. When users receive a wechat group invitation, they will see whether they have wechat friends in the wechat group; if you enter the group by scanning the code, and the group does not have any of your wechat friends, other users will also receive relevant prompts after joining the group. Emphasizing the interpersonal relationship within the wechat group for users can also make some wechat fraud methods invisible.
It can be seen that wechat doesn’t accept inexplicable good friend relationship, but also secretly emphasizes the risk of strangers’ social contact. However, the emergence of many third-party group control tools has extended the function of wechat, which has also virtually killed the original intention of wechat. Through the third-party products for community fission, there will be malicious diversion of enterprises, or even various forms of fraud cases.
This shows that the “three no” principle of wechat really has its own reason.
Under the strong attitude of wechat, at present, most enterprises dare not use the third-party group control products rashly. They either adapt to the enterprise wechat and various inconveniences, or develop the self-developed group control tools through the open interface of enterprise wechat, or purchase the services of enterprise wechat contract service provider platform.
Take wechat, a perfect diary enterprise, as an example. Users can view the historical circle of friends of xiaowanzi, the official operation customer service. Users may not find any difference. However, under normal circumstances, the enterprise wechat does not support viewing the historical circle of friends, but only supports viewing the current circle of friends.
One day’s circle of friends content, information capacity is very limited, for the perfect diary and other high-frequency enterprises, simply can not meet the needs of external publicity. By purchasing the services of the enterprise wechat contract service provider, the enterprise obtains the functions that the enterprise wechat does not have.
However, some enterprises are still reluctant to move the community to enterprise wechat. A company operator contacted by “new entropy” said: “recently, I have been considering using the products of wechat contract service providers, but if possible, I still prefer to use wechat plug-in, because tens of thousands of friends of our company are in personal wechat.”
“New entropy” asked the customer service provider of a wechat signing service provider whether it had the function of quickly importing wechat friends. The other party said that personal wechat and enterprise wechat are not interconnected, and enterprise wechat can not actively add personal wechat as friends, only to remind fans to actively add enterprise wechat numbers. ” This means that once an enterprise changes to enterprise wechat to operate the community, it may cause fans to lose in varying degrees, because it is impossible to ensure that every fan can actively add enterprise wechat.
In addition, the service prices of wechat contract service providers are also relatively high. The quotation of a service provider contacted by “new entropy” is 1499 yuan per year for each number. The unit price decreases according to the number of enterprises purchased, and the prices of other service providers are also similar. In the past, the price of basic paid version of wetool was 799 yuan per model per year, which was relatively high among many plug-in products, equivalent to at least doubling the cost of group control of enterprises.
The problems of inconvenient migration to enterprise wechat and the increase of group control cost are not serious. The biggest problem for enterprises to use enterprise wechat is that it is not conducive to enterprises to create a friendly and friendly image and to shorten the distance with customers.

For beauty, haircut, meal agency and other service chain enterprises, enterprise personnel will deliberately create a friendship relationship with customers, usually give customers friends praise, comments and even send red envelopes, in order to enhance the sense of existence of the store, and then promote transformation. Once using enterprise wechat, community operators can not only check the customer circle of friends, but also appear formal and inaccessible. This is the reason why some small and micro enterprises are reluctant to use enterprise wechat.
At present, enterprise wechat only charges 300 yuan of registration and audit fees, and does not charge other service fees for enterprises. Although it does not rule out that enterprises will create a unique profit ecology like wechat in the future, the saying that “blocking wechat plug-in is to pave the way for enterprise wechat” is not tenable. In short, it is the product concept and product tonality of enterprise wechat that restrict its popularity.
“YiYanTang” of wechat
Wechat has its own attitude towards community operation. “I think the purpose of wechat supporting enterprises is not to help enterprises manage communities efficiently, but to promote enterprises to carry out 1v1 operation,” Lin Yang told “new entropy” 1v1 operation refers to different services and management for different groups.
“Enterprise wechat can only send a circle of friends visible to all members at most every day, but it can be grouped according to different circles of friends and continue to push targeted circle of friends. This shows that enterprise wechat tends to operate in a refined way.” Lin Yang added.
Wechat is the creator of its own ecological rules. Whether it is the Buddhist attitude towards the plug-in software in the early stage or the strict control and strike hard in the later stage, it reflects its majesty and strength as an absolute overlord. Therefore, wechat should also closely control the rules and tonality of community operation, and no one should deviate from the route.
Whether the circle of friends is visible for one day by default or can only send one message per day for all members to see, it shows wechat’s restraint attitude towards marketing behavior within its own ecology. This kind of restraint is not only because it follows the principle of “do not disturb users”, but also because wechat does not allow products stronger than itself to grow in its own ecology.
Compared with the outside world, wechat realized the power of private domain traffic later. Wechat appeared with the birth of wechat, but wechat did not take action until several years later. In 2014, WeChat launched WeChat store, which provided the way for WeChat official account to realize the realization of private domain traffic.
In 2016, Tencent invested in pocket shopping, and then pocket shopping’s wechat stores were directly connected to wechat. For users who have opened the wechat store, the entry of their personal wechat store will be displayed to their friends at the bottom of their wechat information. The outside world even thinks that the micro shop is the product of the micro business model.
This year, the official wechat app team launched the “wechat small store”. It is reported that the wechat small store is a new quick shop building tool created by the small app team. It can open a small app for selling goods at one click without development, which is free of service charge and supports live delivery.
A variety of actions show that WeChat has begun to take the initiative to examine the value of private domain traffic in recent years. Before it has been excavated, it has been forbidden to have other big movements. This is why WeChat has been blocking the links of tiktok and Taobao products in recent years.
As one of the views expressed in the screen brushing article “Tencent’s backwater battle”, wechat has been channelized and may lose control of traffic. For wechat, the core competitiveness now is the number of monthly active accounts of 1.165 billion. For wechat, if we can’t hold on to users and leave users in the Tencent camp’s product system, the foundation will gradually collapse.
In the social circuit, more and more enterprises have realized that the only way to defeat wechat is to break into wechat, use wechat diversion and disintegrate wechat from the inside. For example, Momo team has launched the new acquaintance social product Kaka, which is to use wechat and QQ to guide itself, and then deposit users through new play methods. Once similar acquaintance social products thrive, wechat will surely shake its position as the leader in the social industry. Wechat can’t watch this happen.
However, it must be emphasized that wechat seems to be willing to observe the growth path of new things, learn experience and turn them into their own use. Therefore, external things are always blocked after they have formed a certain volume.
Tiktok began to prohibit the trembling sound in 2018. By shaking the voice, WeChat realized that the circle of friends could effectively guide the short video platform. The WeChat tiktok was able to help the video player. The next year, wechat began to guide Tencent’s micro video. Users can use micro vision to get permission to send 30 seconds of friends’ circle video. This is an unexpected change and compromise for wechat, which has always shown restraint.
To be sure, wechat will never implement “one size fits all” measures against all kinds of external attacks, but it will always be on the way to block external products.
(Lin Yang is not his real name)
(statement: This article only represents the author’s point of view, not Sina’s position.)