Archive for April 20th, 2009

Flame Wars (This Cracks Me Up)

Have you been catching any of the flame wars between the two offshoring companies, GetFriday and CatchFriday?

I had a Google alert come in over the weekend and the latest just cracked me up.

See, GetFriday is the Indian company mentioned in Tim Ferriss’ book, “The 4-Hour Work Week.”

So, you know how a lot of people are upset in the U.S. (and probably elsewhere) about offshoring to India, right?

I would venture to say the anger isn’t really at the Indian’s themselves per se. They’re just trying to make a living like everyone one else in this world.

It’s more about the idea overall of sending work out of our own country that could be supporting our own citizen’s and economy.

For the last few years, where there’s been resentment by Americans about Indians taking their work and jobs, the Indians are now up in arms over the Philippine labor force taking away their foreign business because they are even cheaper.

So in a way, they’re getting a taste of their own medicine.

Or at least, they’re now experiencing what it feels like for Americans (and others) who are having their livelihoods (and their very lives) sold down the river to the lowest bidder.

I do think the Philippine agency is pretty sleazy.

First off, they plagiarized GetFriday’s tradename, albeit, not very original in the first place and itself plagiarizing from other established Friday brands.

(The whole “Friday” thing is so cliche and such a stupid name anyway; why would they even want it? Because it is a very blatant, deliberate cash grab to siphon off the original business’s established marketshare. These are the kinds of acts that trademark/trade name law protects against. But no one said those running the infringing company were very smart.)

Also, from what I’ve been observing, it’s the Philippine agency that initiated the slimy, unprofessional, unethical and aggressive mud slinging and smear campaign.

I could be wrong, but I haven’t come across any of these exchanges where GetFriday was the aggressor. I’ve only read them posting responses more along the lines of self-defense.

Comedy aside, it’s actually pretty ugly.

CatchFriday (the infringing copycat Philippine company) even brings up religious bigotry (yes, they actually go there!), insinuating that they are somehow superior because they are Christian and GetFriday is Hindu.

What on earth does that have to do with the price of tea in China?!

And if they are English immigrants, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle (er, auntie). They sure don’t demonstrate the syntax or grammar of someone who is a native.

Neither of them are true virtual assistants anyway. They’ve just coopted a term that doesn’t represent what they do in the least.

VAs are administrative experts who specialize in providing one-on-one, continuous administrative support to clients they work with in collaborative relationship.

These two firms are more accurately categorized as call centers and virtual staffing agencies. They do not in any way provide or represent what virtual assistance is all about.

But the whole dynamic of their competition with each other is very interesting.

Competing on price is a doomed premise that guarantees failure. You will never be able to be the cheapest. There will always be someone willing to outbid you and if you try to participate that way, you will have to keep bidding lower and lower until finally there’s nothing left but working for free.

On top of that, you are creating your own failure by enabling the very behaviors in the marketplace that set about your business demise: tirekicking and priceshopping.

If this is how you are engaging in marketing, it is you yourself who is reinforcing these behaviors and training clients to focus on cheap. It’s crazy!

You are not responsible for a client’s inability to afford you. It’s not your job to “fix” them. Because you absolutely can not afford to work with any client who can’t afford you (tip of the hat to whomever originally authored that line–it’s brilliant).

So I ask you, do you offer so little value to your clients that you can’t think of any other thing to focus them on than hiring you as the cheapest bidder?