Greetings! I appreciate the thing you have going with Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. It is almost every techie’s dream to own an organisation (not organization, since my Safari autocorrect is set to British English apparently) like yourself. Most of the places where I love to hang out online, and which keep me connected to my friends, family, and brands, are basically owned by you (and then there is Twitter). I see how responsibly, and coolly you have been conducting them, or so I would like to believe. (So what if some of my friends have gotten harsh beatings from their girlfriends on “Last Seen at ~”. Sorry, can’t help but try to be funny wherever I can; artist’s liberty, you see.)
Let me jump to the point of the matter. I wrote this letter after this post by you. This is a slightly long letter (because it is not a tweet), but if you read through it, you will find a breakthrough business move, I promise. And that will earn you unbiased goodwill and approval, this also I promise.
With great money comes a huge obligation to not look like a greedy person, and altruistic as you are, I understand that your intentions with internet.org are not being taken positively at many a places, especially at India. Why, you ask?
Here is what internet.org roughly promises.
Free access to basic amenities of the Internet. Like WhatsApp, Facebook, Flipkart (Flipkart have backed out, but were a part of the original “testament”) etc.
These are some of the services that internet.org would give free access to. Yes, these are some of the basic things which we do online. But, do you begin to see a pattern here?
Facebook apparently would subsidise the cost of the Internet, because, of course it would translate to more users getting online to use Facebook (as it would be free for the users), which would translate to real dollars for Facebook. Now, agreed that it might not be an entirely profitable / breakeven situation for Facebook in the short run. But the major flaw with this premise for the overly idealist Indian masses is as thus:
If tomorrow, I plan to launch a social network, which wants to take the world by storm, will I be able to get as many number of users as Facebook, which is free to use, because it basically owns the Internet in my country?
So what should internet.org do now? By Merlin, I have a totally game-changing move. The move would be to :
Subsidise the Internet instead of freeing selective services.
Yes, so if I pay $30 for my current Internet plan, let me be charged some $25 for it maybe? (and by the way, India already has one of the most affordable data plans in the world! For around $5, I get a 3G data pack, sufficient to supplement my browsing and messaging needs. Beat that!) It will make the Internet more affordable for me. And you have a slight chance that I and many like me might hop onto Facebook as well in the process. If you take a sample space of entire population of India, this might earn you more goodwill, this might be the better thing to do for the greater good, and this might make me love Facebook as an organisation even more!
I guarantee you much much better acceptance of this plan, and a smoother deployment as well.
Unless, of course, if the only thing you and Airtel / Reliance are after is world dominance!