Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I received an invitation from Admin of FreeMalaysiaKini to visit its site. So I visited it and one email from readers commenting the 1Malaysia project caught my attention.

Click HERE if you want to read it too.

The thing in that article that really make my jaw dropped is to know that the government would be charged RM0.50 for every e-mail sent.

If this true, then someone with access to the Prime Minister must advise him now to disassociate the government from this project. In my 1st article I was supporting the idea of nationwide email project purely based on practicality and costs, but if this 50 cents per email go on, then I have to entirely agreed with the author that something stinks is blowing in the wind.

I don’t know how come an email could cost up to 50 cents per sending. Whereas I am an avid supporter of Barisan government, I still cannot find any angle whatsoever to justify a 50 cents email. Therefore in the interest of my beloved government and the people I write for, I have to say that necessary changes need to be implemented quickly before this project will become one of the dominoes that lead to the downfall of Barisan Nasional.

When the government announced that it would cost RM50 million, I am also of the opinion that the cost sounded too expansive. But since the alternative suggested by the opposition (natiowide wifi) was even more stupendous, then I was then had something to write in support of this project.

Furthermore, RM50 millions actually sounded very reasonable if the email is free. Since at the time of writing the first article I was not aware about the 50 cents thing, I was then assuming that it would take a couple of months if not 2-3 years for the company to start reaping the profit from the project. Hence I figured it’s understandable why Tricube’s Board or Directors would want to tell the world the project cost RM50 million (even though I doubt such figures could be justified). It's the old propaganda tactic similarly deployed by dominant players in the internet industry such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo as a future justification to push advertising down consumer’s throat. That's okay I guess, considering in the end we still enjoyed a free email services.

Then there’re other reasons why the project could cost RM50 mil. Since security is the most crucial aspects of this project, then maybe the actual cost could be more than RM50 million to build a secure servers to host the system. In the United States, sensitive military servers are build not only to withstand cyber attack (i.e hacking) but also physical damages caused by something as big as hydrogen super bomb. Therefore these military grade servers are usually installed underground or deep inside a mountain with bunkers, artillery and men with guns guarding it. One fine example of this is Wikileaks where it is currently served up from hard drives spinning deep inside this nuclear-bomb-proof bunker in Bahnhof's ultra secure facility in Sweden.

Also, it also takes lots of money to develop a system which can withstand hacking. In the United States, one of the usual steps taken whenever a new system is being developed is to offer a reward to any hackers to hack into the system so that security vulnerabilities in the system could be discovered. Some hackers in the US even registered a legitimate company where they get paid up to USD10,000 just to test the system. Google also did this is 2010 when it offers to up to USD3,133 to people who can hack into its Website and online applications.

But with 50 cents per email guaranteed to be paid by the taxpayers, Tricube no longer can get my understanding on what could lead to that RM50 million. If fact, the only groupd of people who’re silently happy about all this is probably the opposition, praying day and night that Tricube will sucked billions of taxpayer’s money so they can capitalize the issue during 2013 campaigning period.

Maybe the government ought to think this over. With 50 cents per email, I don’t think the email will inspire the general population to use it. The failure of this project would add salt to the injury already inflicted to the Prime Minister image. If this project failed to inspire the nation, it will not be Tricube but the Prime Minister who will suffers the most. The word “1Malaysia” attached to the project itself already gave wrong impressions that this project is the brainchild of the Prime Minister. If this thing goes down, the Prime Minister could go down with it too.

My suggestion to Tricube (which I’m sure will be a waste of my time because none of Tricube’s board of directors are going to read this article) is to go slow but steady. Taxing the BN government 50 cents per email seems to me like a rush to make profits. It projected a bad idea that the company is trying to reap as much profits as possible in less than two years. Why Tricube dear? Afraid that the BN government will be toppled in 2013 eh? No? So why the mad rush!?

Slow and steady is the key to long period of profits to come. Even if it’s impossible to make it entirely free, then at least taxed a fee of around 10 to 20 cents per delivery. At least with these numbers the company could argue that it’s cheaper than buying stamps at Post Office.

I think in order to reduce the burden on the system, all emails should only be in ASCII text format only. This is the only practical way to speed up the delivery and avoid spamming. Spamming never existed when the internet was in text mode in early 1990’s. It was only after Netscape introduced a way to deliver multimedia contents over the internet that advertisers began to send colorful brochures online which evolve into today’s spamming.

Tricubes ought to forget any attempt to compete with Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail in terms of multimedia contents delivery. Tricubes simply couldn’t win. Other local companies such as ‘Cari’ , ‘Murai’ and ‘WebPortal’ had tried offering their own free email service before and still failed to out maneuver the email giants of internet.

The only thing which could make Tricube’s email competitive is in term of (a) cost effective (b) security and (c) accessibility.

Security here means that the laws must be amended to make all 1Malaysia email stand up in Court as evidence. Therefore the system itself must be secure enough to ensure that all emails come from Mr.A did came from Mr.A and not an impostor. As I already explained in my first article about this, security features and the recognition by Court of Laws will be the most appealing feature in 1Malaysia email. In due time all vendors in Malaysia will want to have their own email address so that they can add credibility to their online business. Subsequently as online business progress, all vendors will eventually embark on a policy to transact with buyers who also have a 1Malaysia email address. Ensuring that the identity of the senders could be traced is another feature which will deter spamming and other internet fraud.

Accessibility here means that the 1Malaysia email must be the most accessible email in Malaysia. I would like to suggest that the email could be accessed not only via home computers but through ATM machines and SMS services as well. This way all important notices could be accessed even when there’s no personal computers or broadband around. Unfortunately, the ATM machine and SMS services only works in ASCII text mode, which is okay because that's what I had suggested.

In terms of profit, Tricube can generate its millions ringgit income in due time. If every single loving soul in Malaysia had their email in Tricube’s server, then every single soulless company in Malaysia would beg to pay to advertise. In this case, Tricube will hit a jackpot because only Tricube can advertisement by displaying the banner at the login page or in a seperate HTML frame. Other non-paying companies could not advertise directly by sending emails to consumers because the email is in ASCII format.. well not unless they’re willing to advertise in text mode alone.

I could think of hundreds of ways for Tricube to make tonnes and tones of money and all these are based on idea that the emails should be absolutely free from the consumers point of view. Of course I wouldn’t want to tell it all here. That would be too taxing for me to write.

In case Tricube’s Board of Directors wants any authority to proof that my idea could work, then I suggest them to study the history of SMS. We in the Watcher’s Group had study the SMS evolution as part of our profiling program. Actually this entire article is based on our profiling of SMS emergence as the most powerfully tools of communication aside from internet.

The reason why SMS popular so quickly is because of three factors (a) cost effective (b) security and (c) accessibility. SMS was preferred by billions of people around the globe because they can feel secure knowing that the SMS send from Mr.A’s numbers is almost certainly came from Mr.A’s phone. An then the reason why MMS failed to topple SMS as means of communication is because SMS in ASCII text mode offers more accessibility (compatible with all types of Phone and can even work where there’s no GPRS) and cheaper than MMS.

As we can see, these three factors alone will ensure that SMS will continue to dominate our lives leaving behind MMS and 3G to eat dust.

If Tricubes could emulate the attractiveness of SMS in 1Malaysia email project, then rest assure of the profit it can generate.

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