Here is some investigation and edition one of the reader (Taimur)  did,

I agree completely with Shahzad that Techcrunch is a good example for GreenWhite to follow. At the same time, I also agree with HeloKitty, that this particular article falls well short of that standard; it is neither investigative nor informative

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Analysis : chOpaal haggling it out with its users

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Ok this is some thing interesting and open for Debate, its just wonderful how with the advent of Social platforms, an organization can not just throw out a marketing gimmick and stay behind closed doors without expecting any lash back.

So chOpaal decided to take a jab at its competitors on price and got into an intense debate.

Here is some investigation and edition one of the reader (Taimur)  did,

I agree completely with Shahzad that Techcrunch is a good example for GreenWhite to follow. At the same time, I also agree with HeloKitty, that this particular article falls well short of that standard; it is neither investigative nor informative — rather it appears deliberately inflammatory. Helokitty (you need a better nick) can’t be blamed for viewing such a post as a troll, designed to start a flame-war.

Re: ChOpaal. To give the devil its due, ChOpaal is, without any dispute, the first such product in Pakistan. I know the founder — Dr. Umar Saif — whose innovative spirit is laudable! SMS buddies was actually started by some of his students after seeing the success of Chopaal..

After reading this article, I did look around for some information regarding Chopaal and buddies and found the following information: ChOpaal is a third-party VAS — an independent network brand much like Twitter. On the other hand, buddies is NOT an independent VAS service. Instead, the Confiz team sold out the products to multiple operators, who launched the service with different names, brands and price points e.g. Ufone buddies, Warid Buddies etc. Worryingly, each service also has a different model and a different price point. For instance, Ufone SMS Buddies is charged at Rs. .50 for a group of 20 (+ Rs. 15/month subscription). Warid Buddies is charged at Rs. 1.0 for a group of 10 (a rate clearly too high for such a competitive market)! ChOpaal, on the other hand, has the same model and price point on all 5 operators — true to its model of an independent VAS service. I actually couldn’t find any other third-party VAS service so successful in Pakistan — kudos to ChOpaal!

As an independent service, chopaal has complete control over its branding, pricing and service model. Buddies, however, seems to have lost that control to the operator. I couldn’t even find a central site for the “buddies” service. I also found out that buddies actually does not work on all 5 operators — I certainly couldn’t use it on mobilink. chopaal works on all 5.

Now that’s an investigative piece :-)

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10 Comments

  • Interesting. Nice observation.

  • It would be nice if Chopaal showed some sportsmanship instead of taking cheapshots at the competition. They’ve outrightly lied about being cheaper; they aren’t. I have a lot of respect for Chopaal but this makes them look desperate (read more of their comments in the same thread, you’ll know what I mean!)

  • 1. For one, this is a really cheap publicity stunt by green&white. This is the kind of posts to increase traffic that sunk green&white earlier … Have some respect for yourself if you want to become the No. 1 technology blog of Pakistan.

    2. As much as I hate SMS Social networks, I think the claim that chopaal is making is right. They are at least 15 times cheaper than both Pring and SMS Buddies. I checked and double checked. You get 15 credits (15 messages) for Rs. 0.50 on chopaal, and get only one message for Rs. 0.50 on Pring and SMS Buddies. SMS Buddies, in addition, charges Rs. 15/month subscription fee … I am not sure what Nash is on about. I suspect he is the CTO or something of Pring (a disclaimer he needs to add to his statement). And Nash, if you are the CTO of Pring, PLEASE MAKE THE DAMN THING WORK! Your stuff is just broken …

  • I feel sorry for Pring and SMS-buddies because even after copying it from ChOpaal, still, they could not make it any better or affordable service! ChOpaal is back now!

  • @Helokitty,
    First, please read the article and it’s content again. And do point me where I am blaming Chopaal for any thing? My discussion point was that this new media and social interactions has completely turned on its head how organization interact with their customer.
    Secondly, it’s not appropriate for some one who does not even have the courtesy to reveal his name to come calling other cheap.
    And believe me if my aim is to increase the traffic of Green and White i know a thousand ways to do that I am not an SEO guru but still know my way around.
    I appreciate that you came and commented but do keep the emotions out if you want to have a constructive discussion.

  • @Helokitty : I dont think so this is cheap publicity by G&W : I think they brought up a public conversation to more people and asked about their opinion. I think Chopaal and its team should be thankful to G&W, which did free consumer survey for Chopaal asking people to voice their feedback on the direct marketing message. Also , they helped spread the message to larger audiance

    @Qazi : I think , let people anonymously comment : This is fine as long as people speak out the truth
    @Chopaal Team : Considering there is fierce competition in the space, and direct churn is valid marketing strategy. However, i would have adviced not to use the direct name of competitiors. Just watch the advertismenets by Zong , UFone –> which mockup others advertisements and we enjoy: Just watch the advertisements for few days and you will learn how to use indirect communication;
    @SMS Buddies / Pring :- If your traffic increases, this would be natural. Bad publicity is still a publicity. I am sure, most people have searched competitors and must have tried them for a while as well :)

    In short, this is a great post and people should be open to discuss. Its good that you get lots of comments from people across various domains. Qazi, it would be great if you can ask various stake holders on the comments : like Techcrunch covered the foursquare response when facebook launched is squre check in :)

  • I agree completely with Shahzad that Techcrunch is a good example for GreenWhite to follow. At the same time, I also agree with HeloKitty, that this particular article falls well short of that standard; it is neither investigative nor informative — rather it appears deliberately inflammatory. Helokitty (you need a better nick) can’t be blamed for viewing such a post as a troll, designed to start a flame-war.

    Re: ChOpaal. To give the devil its due, ChOpaal is, without any dispute, the first such product in Pakistan. I know the founder — Dr. Umar Saif — whose innovative spirit is laudable! SMS buddies was actually started by some of his students after seeing the success of Chopaal..

    After reading this article, I did look around for some information regarding Chopaal and buddies and found the following information: ChOpaal is a third-party VAS — an independent network brand much like Twitter. On the other hand, buddies is NOT an independent VAS service. Instead, the Confiz team sold out the products to multiple operators, who launched the service with different names, brands and price points e.g. Ufone buddies, Warid Buddies etc. Worryingly, each service also has a different model and a different price point. For instance, Ufone SMS Buddies is charged at Rs. .50 for a group of 20 (+ Rs. 15/month subscription). Warid Buddies is charged at Rs. 1.0 for a group of 10 (a rate clearly too high for such a competitive market)! ChOpaal, on the other hand, has the same model and price point on all 5 operators — true to its model of an independent VAS service. I actually couldn’t find any other third-party VAS service so successful in Pakistan — kudos to ChOpaal!

    As an independent service, chopaal has complete control over its branding, pricing and service model. Buddies, however, seems to have lost that control to the operator. I couldn’t even find a central site for the “buddies” service. I also found out that buddies actually does not work on all 5 operators — I certainly couldn’t use it on mobilink. chopaal works on all 5.

    Now that’s an investigative piece :-)

  • :) Taimur, appreciate your digging deeper into the details will make them part of the post. Need to do some thing for more community based contributions, instead of one man blog.

  • @Taimur : I guess it would be wrong to categorized the post as inflammatory. It may be categorized as inviting debate, as oppose to affirmative article taking a stance.

    I am not a user of the these Services, but i was interested in listening to people opinion as scholarly debate from marketing perspective.

    @Re Choopal : I Don’t know if we can have someone comment on number of SMS , user adaption on various competing services ? I guess, its going to be Winner Takes All ; segment.

    @All :- Please be open to criticism, debate as it would really help learn and improve

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