Batista R. Harahap

Perspective Check on XL

The last few days have seen XL Ads Modifying Content Part 1 and Part 2 into discussions on Twitter and Facebook. My goal was exactly this, to raise awareness and leave the public to decide whether this is something we should fight against, or not. Either way, the purpose of why I wrote them is served.

I should say that I am in no way raising this concern with regards to defame XL or any of its employees whatsoever. Whatever the public thinks, it's theirs and I have mine. As do with any discussion, pros and cons are always there. That being said, I stand firm on my opinion that this is a low blow to subscribers and content owners. Other than being unethical, it's not worth the security risk imposed.

Let's take a look at this matter from another perspective. A perspective where distant Utopian-esque future is an ideal we strive to achieve.

XL according to Wikipedia have 40 millions subscribers with over than 22.000 BTS spread throughout Indonesia. It is currently one of Indonesia's Top 3 cellular operator but its revenue stream is declining like any other operator in Indonesia. Why? Because the mobile expansion in Indonesia is unique to our country.

Uniquely Indonesia, our mobile market is the largest market for Internet. I can tell you this not by presenting statistics elsewhere but by Urbanesia's own experience. Mobile Web demand is increasing like never before. I can say with confidence that at least 40% of our traffic are coming from mobile devices. The revenue forecast for mobile web is pretty slim while infrastructure needs to support the traffic increases.

There's a problem worth solving there. We content owners can solve it on our own like as it always been. Why am I so confident with this? Because we own the content. Content is the building block of traffic and therefore indirectly: revenue. Consuming and contributing content is what our users are doing with consuming leading the stats.

Cellular Operators like XL is the pipe where our content is streamed to those countless users out there. What I don't get from operators, you guys are loosing revenue and we content owners needs revenue to support the growing mobile traffic, so why not work out something with us instead of cannibalizing our content?

Who wouldn't be happy to distribute content to 40 million subscribers? Or at the very least, be a part in fixing the ever-broken payment landscape of Indonesia. It's difficult for us content owners to sell because payment gateways (other than Veritrans, objectively) suck. We don't have any options for payments, help us here.

So in reality, we need each other. Being a far bigger entity than us tiny startups is your privilege, you guys can open more doors instead of shutting ours. Then again, there's a gap between the two.

Honestly I don't want to begin to overanalyze anything but the gap is so wide that it needs the attention from social medias for you XL to read my blog posts. Obviously something is wrong and both parties are missing out on each other's opportunities.

Let me say it again, my purpose is still the same: to raise awareness about XL's ads practices. My target audience is not the public, it's you XL and the rest of the cellular operators in Indonesia. You guys are too humongous to even at the slightest bit to realize that you guys need content, from us. We content owners want our content distributed and generate revenue like you guys.

Hope this blog post finds all of you well. Including people who doesn't agree with me, I get it this is the Internet and you should get it too. So let's stop pretending like we don't need each other.

29 October 2013 by Batista Harahap
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