After three years, the Utrecht-based company Watermelon has once again permission to integrate chatbots with WhatsApp, confirms co-founder Alexander Wijninga on Thursday against NU.nl. In 2016, the company was still in conflict with parent company Facebook and filed for bankruptcy under the threat of a lawsuit.
A few weeks later, Watermelon started again. In recent years, the company has focused on other platforms such as Facebook Messenger and Twitter. With the integration of Watermelon, companies can offer a virtual chatbot on these platforms, which can, for example, answer customer questions.
A year ago, WhatsApp made it possible for third parties to make a technical link between the chat app and software from other companies. Watermelon is now working with a company that has access to that link, allowing the Utrecht-based company to offer its services again.
"This is something we wanted three years ago," says Wijninga. "In April we started to integrate the link into our platform. In the meantime, that integration has been completed and some customers use WhatsApp."
That completes the circle, says Wijninga. "We are now running no risk and that is great," he says. WhatsApp must, however, give permission per Watermelon customer to offer a chatbot on the platform. "For example, the company does not want WhatsApp to provide alcohol, gambling, porn and financial services."
The co-founder of Watermelon calls WhatsApp today "not so" important for the company: Facebook Messenger, Twitter and direct integration on websites offer more functions for the time being. "That is less interesting for our customers."