The Digital Skeptic: Facebook Has Many Mouths to Feed in Global Market
What happens, Krishnan told me, is that as services such as Facebook try to charge fees, something very un-American happens: All sorts of third parties flock in seeking a cut of the action.
"A lot of mobile carriers have included
You can see Krishnan's point right there at the bottom of the screenshot he sent me; users can either pay 99 rupees to promote a post if that cost is baked into a users' mobile phone charges; or 30 cents -- that's just 16 rupees -- if they use PayPal, a credit card or other service such as Western Union (WU) to pay Facebook.
Is this some sort of scam? I wondered. Absolutely not, I was told.
What's happening is most Facebook users in India are mobile users. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India says a full 908 million Indians, out of a total population of 1.2 billion, rely on their mobile phones to communicate, compared with 33 million with wireline access.
The problem is, of course, mobile phones don't take cash. They must rely on electronic means to top up and, in turn, a networked banking system that essentially does not exist in India. According to the New America Foundation, despite a major government-sponsored effort to promote a modern bank infrastructure, only half of Indians have access to banking facilities. Indians rely mostly on a hodgepodge of third-party methods to buy stuff with phones. They include operations such as Obopay, YES Bank, Paymate and Paytm, just to name a few.
Each of which seek a cut of every dollar they touch -- which makes it darn tough for Indian consumers to do business with Web-based services such as Facebook.