Stupid Genius

- Making mistakes is our rights, learning from them is our responsibilty.

- "I have no choice" is another way of saying "I've have chosen the easier option"

- Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration - Thomas A Edison

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Location: Singapore

Monday, November 02, 2009

I don't know if there's a correct term for it, so I call it indirect business model. It's a business model where the consumer is not the customer. The first kind of indirect business model I know of is the tour agencies. The consumer are the people who signed up tour packages. The customer is actually partly them, and partly companies who gives commission to the tour guides and tour agencies for bringing tourists to their shops. A tour package consists of many elements, tour guides, bus, bus drivers, hotels, meals, etc. All these cost money and sometimes the money paid by the tourists are not enough. So what the agencies do is to work with other companies where they'll bring the tourists to their shops for shopping in exchange for commissions. The tourists get to pay less for their travel in exchange for visits to places they are not interested in.

Another indirect business model is the advertising model. In our tv channels, we don't really paid to watch the content. The broadcasting station sell time slots to advertisers to earn the money. Therefore the better content that they get, will attract more viewers, which will attract more advertisers which will give them more money, which part of it will be used to get better content. The viewers are the consumers, but the advertisers are the customers.

This advertising model can also be seen in the internet. You have Google and Yahoo, who provide free services to get the eyeballs so that they can sell advertisment spaces. Same for the many review sites out there like Facebook is another example of the advertisement model.

Why do I hate them? This model sometimes is quite useful. Everybody wants to pay less for their holiday tour. Everybody wants to use free services in the internet. But sometimes, it's a pain. When the consumer is not the customer, they lose the right to demand for good services. The tourists are forced to visit places they are not interested in is 1 example. In the internet, the service provider is more inclined to please their advertisers than the consumers.

I play a game in Facebook called Mafia Wars. I like the game, and has spent many hours on it everyday. My biggest complain about it is that it is not very user friendly. A lot of things you need to do in the game require too many clicks. And they do not seem incline to improve those areas. They probably never will, in fact, they many add more clicks to the process if they think they can get away with it. Why is that so? I suspect that it's because they are paid for every clicks that people made in their game as each click comes with it some advertisements. So the game company's aim is not to provide a good experience for their gamers. They only want to do enough to attract people to play the game, and have the game as miserable as they can as it's generating money. And sometimes, people find a way to do certain things in the game with less clicks using scripts. The gamers who uses those scripts will find that the game has become more enjoyable. But it would not last. It doesn't pay well to have gamers enjoy the game too much, so the game company will try means to make the scripts fail, so that the user will have to go back to doing more clicks. And the worse thing out of all this is that, some users, when they find out about the scripts, instead of embracing them for making their lives easier, complain to the game companies that users of those scripts are cheating. They love clicking.

Another indirect business model I don't agree with are employment agencies. This time for a totally different reason. I'll say this is more a problem of exploitation and that the laws is not doing anything to protect these group of people. The companies looking for people are the consumer. They get employment agencies to look for people to work in their companies. In the old times, they are the customer. They pay the employment agencies. There is another smaller group of consumers, the people looking for job. They get the employment agencies to look for job. In this case, they are actually the product in this business model.

Lately, there's a trend where the individual, the traditional product, will pay the employment agencies to look for jobs. And the companies, the traditional customer, are paying less or even not paying the agencies any more. In certain cases, I believe the companies are paid commissions to hire the people the employment agencies recommend. This is because the pool of people looking for jobs is huge. more than there are jobs for them. And since they are paying, to get their money, they need to find more jobs. So they share the profits with the companies. In the end, it become profitable for companies to keep hiring people. And since these people are foreigners, and there's a cap on foreign workers, the companies will try to think of means to get rid of them as soon as they can, so that they can hire more, and hence earn more money. Talk about exploitations. And on top of that, these foreign workers have to put up with bad employment terms.

Why are they willing to put up with these? Pay a fortune to get a shitty job with bad job security? What a good deal. Well most of the time, the employment pool are people from 3rd world countries. They are unskilled and are paid very little in their hometown any way. They dream of getting a good pay in the big cities. And in some cases, they are girls hoping to get a rich man to take them in (read: as wife, if not, mistress) in the big city.

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