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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

‘Earning money from somebody else’s efforts and investments!’ There is something extremely fishy about that!

Everybody who knows LinkedIn well, is very much aware that it is loaded with all kinds of ‘wise’ statements from famous earthlings, like Shakespeare, the Dalai Lama, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs and Richard Branson.

Unfortunately, for many people it is better to recycle a corny statement from a famous and successful sage, than to develop an original and though-provoking statement themselves. They hope that some of the glory and splendour of their sages illuminates themselves, which of course… hardly happens.

A few days ago, however, there was an advertising statement on LinkedIn that attracted my attention, for the simple reason that it presented a quite painful truth in a  straight-forward, thought-provoking and easy-to-understand way:

Advert of Wetp@int on LinkedIn, used as the
foundation for this blog
Picture courtesy of: Wetp@int and LinkedIn
Click to enlarge
It is true…

Airbnb, Uber, Facebook and Alibaba are in fact freeloaders on somebody else’s efforts, talent, creativity, capital investments and risks. And so are Google Blogger, WordPress, Instagram and LinkedIn and numerous other successful content and service mediation sites. 

Sometimes such sites cause their users even unacceptable risks and personal misery: especially in case of Uber Pop and Airbnb, which actively promote de facto forbidden practices, thus offending a series court judgments in different European countries and elsewhere. Airbnb and Uber earn the money, while their hosts and drivers take the heat from the local law enforcement. 

All these sites and companies, based on at least one brilliant idea and founded upon a mixture of conviction, perseverence and (in some cases) lack of conscious and funded by smart investors (“I’ll give them that”), put to practice how one should privatize the profits, while socializing almost all the efforts, risks, expenses and even penalties: the house wins!

Simply too many people believe in the (often) fairytales of:
  • eternal friendship, while sharing every experience, event and thought concept that they have (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp);
  • becoming a successful writer or blogger, by posting their content for free on a blogsite (Google’s Blogger, WordPress or Amazon);
  • becoming a successful retailer (Alibaba);
  • creating a successful second career and new wealth as taxi driver or maître d’hotel, when their real career is faltering (Airbnb, UberPOP)

I in particular understand the truth behind this LinkedIn advertisement very well indeed. 

At this very moment I am writing my next blog to implicitely promote Google’s Blogger site for free and turn it into one of the world’s leading sources of original content in the process. At other moments I am frantically clicking on the ‘refresh’-button, in order to see the rising number of visitors per day. It is my personal Pavlov-reaction and I am fully aware of that.

While I abolished every illusion about Blogger making me rich or even earning me a decent income, I still like the concept that Google Blogger offers me endless amounts of free hosting space, without any hassle; in exchange I write for them the free content that they need to remain popular and influential and a firm base for their adverts. 

Although it is not a financially rewarding deal for me personally, it offers me an intellectual reward to do something with my talent that I really, really like. Google is very aware of such notions, you better believe it…!

Nevertheless, there is still something extremely fishy about my deal with Google and about those numerous other deals between private citizens and small companies on one hand and the ‘big enchiladas on the Internet’ on the other hand. 

While I and most of my millions of colleagues on Blogger don’t earn one penny of income with our countless writing efforts and constant flow of fresh content, Google reels in the mega profits, through advertisements and paid search results.

And that is almost the same with the other brands mentioned in this particular advertisement at LinkedIn: Uber, Airbnb, Alibaba and Facebook all make excessive amounts of money and profits, with in comparison extremely small investments; investments in only a zillion terabytes in hosting space and a few thousands of employees worldwide.

While those terabytes of hosting space and that personnel are definitely not for free, their expenses truly pale in comparison with the consolidated investments in: 
  • all available Uber Pop-taxis; 
  • all available Airbnb hospitality rooms;
  • all available inventory for sale on Alibaba.
Not even to mention all the necessary efforts to create the billions and billions of pages of original content, that can be found for free on Blogger and WordPress.

Would all these efforts actually have been paid for at fair value by Google and Wordpress, these companies would not have earned one penny. Fortunately for these companies, however, these efforts have hardly been paid for by them…

And that is undeniably fishy… 

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