Open Letter To Whom So Ever It May Concern
Subject: Anguish at the injustice
Dear Mr. / Ms. Whom So Ever:
Couple weeks ago, I was being interrupted every few seconds by a popup on my computer screen, irritating the hell out of me. Every time I tried to load a browser page, it took me to the popup page. No, it was not a porn site, but a ‘make tons of money’ scheme (in a blink) and an advertisement with an opportunity for FREE enrollment from Facebook, with Zukky baby and other smiling young men and women gallantly posing for a picture.
My work got delayed between this infuriating, wrist aching from carpel tunnel syndrome and internet taking its sweet gala time to reload. I was thoroughly pissed.
When I regained a more balanced composure, I wanted to know what the hell, this hulla with the adv was all about. What have I got to lose? It said it was FREE.
I kept clicking, entering information, registering, clicking, e-mail verifying, some more clicking, some more filling forms, some more verifying, some more clicking, some more verifying, some more… and this went on for about 45 minutes (I lost count after a while).
And THEN, I was asked to pay X amount of dollars!
Wait a minute. Wasn’t this advertised as FREE?
My antennas went up faster than a heroines’ waist size went down. Something was definitely not only fishy but prawny and crabby too. My brain was filled with a sea-food slurpy. Nevertheless, my first instinct was to shut the whole thing off, all the open browsers to lull my anger, cursing myself falling for ‘this’ lure. After all, we are raised to believe, “If something is too good to be true, it is indeed too good to be true.”
My curiosity was itching to explore further. When you have an itch, you have no choice but to scratch. It’s not a lot of money to gain access, I rationalized. Even if I am cheated, it won’t be a large sum. I decided to dissect the insides of the entice. I paid the X amount of dollars and went in. I was overwhelmed by the pictures of people with their cheques displaying their earnings, under the testimonial’s section. I was convinced my monetary risk was worth taking, in return for an opportunity to make six figures a month. I had a quick tug pulling me back reminding me – It is your hard earned money. But again, the stronger irrational lull won – the monetary risk outweighs the profits, manifold.
I clicked some more, but this time a little more watchfully as to who and where I am sending my personal information. Also, my pocket was pinched. I have every right to know where and what is going on.
After a few more minutes of form filling and clicking, there was another pop-up asking to pay X amount, the second time.
I was fuming like a bull in an arena bleeding, with a spear jetting out of its back, looking for every opportunity to knock the bull-rider on his butt.
I took a few deep breaths and to calm myself, moved away from the aggravating stimuli, Facebook.
I went straight to the kitchen, made a steaming cup of coffee and stood in the balcony, calming myself down. After all, coffee makes everything go away. (May be not. Ramdev Baba is still here after the earth quake in Nepal).
My brain and body were in twin action. They raced towards an understanding, a goal. And a realization flickered.
My critical, questioning “pulling-the-feathers-out-of-an-egg-shell” self was tweaked. Temperature in my brain went up faster than vegetable and fruit prices in summer, as the heat of coffee and contents of the cup dropped down like the mercury in a thermometer.
I am already into it along with a dip in my pocket. Let me go all the way and see what this is, I decided finally.
I went back in and paid the X amount (Every pore was bleeding, paying in $).
The process took me through all the essential details, and by the time I was finally done, I realized, FACEBOOK made me pay TWICE to learns the tricks (Half-baked) of trade of CPA (Cost-per-action/click) Marketing.
That’s not it. There’s more to this story behind the facade of equanimity and pompous magnanimity.
Overburdened by the weight of Stupid on one shoulder and Guilt from greed on the other, I decided to make good use of the money spent (on information that I could get for free through internet), that any person with little common-sense would already have. Also, there was no other way to set this straight, but to go forward.
I might as well equip myself with all the tools and turfs, before I entered the battle field, I reconciled. I began reading, lapping every word there is, and some more.
After a week of life online, capping myself under CPA fog, I emerged as a saint out of a Samadhi, to share my fresh pearls of ‘wisdom.’ There are many issues and players in the whole process. We’ll get to that in a bit but, first let’s learn what it is.
“Cost Per Action or CPA (sometimes known as Pay Per Action or PPA; also Cost Per Conversion) is an online advertising pricing model, where the advertiser pays for each specified action – for example, an impression, click, form submit (e.g., contact request, newsletter sign up, registration etc.), double opt-in or sale.” Wikki
In other words, if I made a product and want to sell it online over mobile phone, I create an advertisement and send it to someone like KissMyAds and it in turn distributes the ads to individual people to post it on their webpage. What this does is – gives the product creator an opportunity to advertise on your site for free, until a purchase goes through, from someone visiting you site. Then, you are paid a percentage or a fixed amount for the purchase. Sometimes even a mere click by the visitor can make you money. Pretty cool, right?
Yes and no. Yes, to all the people that has heavy traffic to their sites. No because, it is a game of making almonds versus peanuts by the players involved.
There are three players in the game. The guy who is selling a product, the kissmyadvs guy working as an adv repository, and he is the one that sends the advs to potential buyers and finally your end (your webpage) where the adv is displayed. In a way, you and your blog page are the TV of the virtual marketing world. The earnings each of the players make depend on a few things – how many visitors does the writer have? How much will she/he be paid for each click? Among other factors, the quality of the product being promoted on the page needs to be of high standards and quality, be it a book or a household item.
The only person who is making zilch in spite of aiding everyone make money is the visitor to the blog. This was controlled by paying the visitor for making a click (which btw lost its credibility).
However, this is just one group of people linked to the story where all seems rosy and palpable, until you dig deeper.
There is another group of people. These are the most dangerous and the most devious ones out there (Maybe not. Everyone ranks below our beloved Rahul baba).
Here is the sequence of events that occur in a second story, on the twin side of the coin:
Imagine, I am a writer. I am contacted by a guy who needs some articles for his website (high point for a new budding writer). He insists on my writing be grammarly.com worthy and plagiarism free. These demands seemed quite reasonable and logical. Then he added, the articles have to be in the niche areas (when asked for examples he said, ‘like Bollywood box office collections’), fully researched, meticulously written, with me not given any credits for writing. In other words, with all my education, learning and skill, I am a mere bonded laborer that dwells as a ghost. MY article will stand on HIS xyz website, with someone else taking credit for the writing along with making money, leeching on me and my work. Why? Interesting articles translate into more visitors, more clicks and more money.
I’d allow him to devour my blood ONLY if he would (at least) give me credit for the writing. After all, it is my time and hard-work that he is greedily feasting on, making money. All he does is create a repository of good articles to lure advertisers and visitors.
Writer gets the raw deal, while he gets the raw-silk. I was appalled to learn 50 -75 rupees is the average pay for a 350 – 500 word article, in India.
A daily wage laborer in this country makes anywhere between 500 -750 for six hrs of work. And it takes not less than 3-4 hours to write a good, well edited, grammar Nazi approved article to see light.
Can you see the appalling difference in the pay?
I am below the lowest of the lowest, pay scale wise. I do it anyways because we writerly clan cannot breathe without writing. I hang my skeletons of creativity over their money trees and willingly dwell in their world as ghostly mist, waving my magic wand weaving tales.
All ‘we’ (writers) could collectively ask for is, not a share in their net balance but a NAME to go with the writing, even if it is a ‘pseudo’ name. As long as the reader connects with the name and the thought, all is well. After all, writers are nothing to the person reading, but a mere “Screen_name,” with a cursor blinking next to it.
I think it is about time we demand for an identity and put an end to Ghost writing upholstery along with recognition and need for an increase in pay. I don’t think I am making an unreasonable demand/request.
Going back to the snare, and the picture in blue, I questioned if I want to fall into this rut, where marketing drives everything and to top it all off, a realization dawned on me. With CPA two people make all the money, while I toil away in my lonely, windowless hell hole.
And I was livid realizing Zukky baby made money even before I paid the X amount, the first time. He LURED me to CLICK every page, fill and submitted every form and made money from each of them. I know you guys are smart enough to do the math of what that amounts to in terms of money.
I was fuming. This can’t be true. I went over the details over and over again and finally bowed out with grace, as I felt bile rise to my mouth. He kicked the whole affiliate marketing and CPA a notch up and made his buck. All at a common-man’s expense. We all know the poor common man is driven by greed and is struggling to live the “Exclusive Boys’ Club,” life. Who can blame him? He is being bombarded, left, right and center with these guys in our face day and night. They are a constant reminder of what you can’t be or can be. And you exhaust your life, slurping the shit of what success is or how to achieve it or even how to live YOUR damn life.
Thank you, but no thank you.
Cheers and take care.
P.S. This is part fiction part real, part virtual part surreal, part rambling and part SERIOUS.