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Malaysian Gov't Spends $600,000 On 6 Facebook Pages

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the driving-aggregate-demand-one-friend-at-a-time dept.

Government 92

gizmodolt writes "The entrenched Malaysian governing party, Barisan Nasional, has spent almost $600,000 on six Facebook pages promoting tourism in the country. This has sparked criticism from opposition parties, decrying the 'ridiculous' reasoning behind this waste of taxpayer funds and garnered widespread recrimination from Malaysians around the globe, who have made their sentiments known, quite publicly, on those very same Facebook pages."

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92 comments

Tourism (5, Insightful)

cgeys (2240696) | more than 2 years ago | (#36436914)

The summary says these are just pages, but they're actually applications and games. Those do cost a lot more to create. It also seems like with his saying "those are just facebook fan pages" he doesn't really understand how much behind the scenes work such things actually need. Yeah, some lovely video of cute cat on YouTube might go viral, but theres a small change of that with something like promoting a country's tourism. Companies also spend lots of money for marketing and those Facebook pages can be highly valuable resources to them. This being slashdot I'm sure I get responses like "if it's good enough people will come", but that just doesn't work with everything and even then you still need to make sure people know about it. There is a lot of work done behind the scenes on such things.

The $600,000 might be a little bit high, but it definitely isn't ridiculous compared to how much it can improve a country's tourism. South East Asian countries are highly dependent on tourism. There are many things I feel my country wastes money on, but this seems like a good deal. It definitely isn't waste, as it brings tourist to country and therefore jobs, money and wealth. My country spends cash on a lot more stupid things than that.

Re:Tourism (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437130)

Television ads intended to reach the same number of people globally would be pretty much guaranteed to cost more. In the end, you can't make money without spending money.

Re:Tourism (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437660)

>>>you can't make money without spending money.

Well then let the BUSINESSES (hotels, amusement parks, restaurants, etc) that stand to profit from the tourism do the spending, rather than using tax dollars.

This sounds like Corporate Welfare --- the government is providing free advertising which businesses profit from, while the working class have to cover the costs of the ads. Steal from the poor; give to the rich.

In the US the equivalent is when I have to pay for a new Football Stadium in Baltimore, so the million-dollar owners can get rich off the ticket sales. It's BS and I can understand why the Malays are pissed.

Re:Tourism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36437918)

>>>you can't make money without spending money.

Well then let the BUSINESSES (hotels, amusement parks, restaurants, etc) that stand to profit from the tourism do the spending, rather than using tax dollars.

That is retarded. Ever heard of ministries/department of tourism? A government is responsible for promoting tourism for all in an equitable basis. It's is also responsible for its regulation and protection. Without government oversight, a business on the other hand will only promote that slice of the tourism industry pie that benefits it proportionally to its economic means, benefiting the larger tourist industries to the potential impact to smaller business directly or indirectly associated to tourism.

In the US the equivalent is when I have to pay for a new Football Stadium in Baltimore, so the million-dollar owners can get rich off the ticket sales. It's BS and I can understand why the Malays are pissed.

No, it isn't. Or are you arguing if a state, say Florida or Nevada pays for TV advertisement enticing would-be tourists to take a trip there and pour money into their local businesses? C'mon, you can't be that dumb.

Re:Tourism (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#36439476)

No, it isn't. Or are you arguing if a state, say Florida or Nevada pays for TV advertisement enticing would-be tourists to take a trip there and pour money into their local businesses? C'mon, you can't be that dumb.

That is corporate welfare. There is nothing to stop these businesses to pool money together to launch an ad campaign. Why should the State pay for advertisement? It is the same local businesses who bellyache and bitch to high heavens about government spending and deficit.

Re:Tourism (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#36439746)

It may in some strange way be considered some form of welfare, but it's not corporate welfare any more than good roads or police. Tourist dollars benefit everyone in the state. There is a larger tax-base for state and local programs. Businesses benefit from increased patronage. Residents benefit from more affluent businesses. How do you think Florida manages without state income tax?

Re:Tourism (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#36440524)

Businesses benefit from increased patronage. Residents benefit from more affluent businesses. How do you think Florida manages without state income tax?

So the benefits of business profits will trickle down to the taxpayers eventually. What is galling is often the same people who tolerant of such taxpayer funded largess to the businesses argue that government does nothing well, government is a parasite, taxation is theft.

Let me tell you why the businesses don't pool their own money to create advertising. It is because of the free-loader problem. Some businesses would refuse to contribute to the pool, because they will get the benefit anyway. The only way to create such an ad program is by forcibly collect taxes from everyone and then fund it. Or you have to mandate the membership to the ad pool.

It is not so different from healthcare. We have mandated that Hospitals can turn no one away. Now people would not buy any health insurance because they can go to the hospital after they get sick and they will be treated. It is expensive to deliver healthcare this way. It is quite painful for the uninsured too. But the tragedy of the commons is that, there will always be welchers and free loaders. And the only way to avoid it is using a health insurance mandate or use tax money to cover all the uninsured or to allow hospitals to turn the dying uninsured patients away.

If you support government spending on tourism ads, you should at least understand the complexities of the health care issue. Hope you do.

Re:Tourism (2)

magarity (164372) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437946)

Well then let the BUSINESSES (hotels, amusement parks, restaurants, etc) that stand to profit from the tourism do the spending, rather than using tax dollars

Most localities do have special taxes just on hotel stays. These go in to the general government fund and usually are more than what the government's tourism promotion agency spends. Umm, a well-run government tourism agency that is, not one spending piles of money on a facebook profile. In this case does it sound like a hotel association could oversee how advertising dollars are best spent but then you run in to a game theory problem; hotels that do not belong to the association spending on promoting tourism benefit from tourists being more attracted to the area without having the expense. This is why a general promotion of a city/province/country is better consolidated through a tax (preferably a tax on hotels and other direct travel related activities) subsidized program.

Re:Tourism (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#36445140)

Most localities do have special taxes just on hotel stays.

I wouldn't say that.

I've been to very few nations where the government has a special "tourist tax" as that's an ideal way to alienate tourism. Rather a lot of governments profit from ordinary taxes generated from tourism. Tourists from richer countries bring in money from external economies that would not have existed otherwise.

As for Malaysia specifically, they have a 10% government tax and 7.5% service charge. I'm not sure how much of the service charge goes to the Govt. but they'll see 100% of that 10% service charge. Prices are also advertised sans tax and service charge (this is what ++ means at the end of a price in Malaysia). S down town Kuala Lumpur hotel can easily cost 300 Ringit (just shy of US$100), of course a hotel in the sticks will cost less. there are also landing fees collected by Malaysia Airports (govt owned).

Re:Tourism (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 2 years ago | (#36445506)

As for Malaysia specifically, they have a 10% government tax and 7.5% service charge.

Where do you get this info from? Hotels and restaurants employing more than a certain number of staff are subject to a 6% government service tax (raised from 5% at the beginning of this year), and most also add a 10% service charge to the bill (as tipping is not customary in Malaysia, and the government probably regulates how much is allowed for "tips" outside of what is covered by service tax so they are taking maximum advantage of this).

Re:Tourism (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#36445748)

As for Malaysia specifically, they have a 10% government tax and 7.5% service charge.

Where do you get this info from? Hotels and restaurants employing more than a certain number of staff are subject to a 6% government service tax (raised from 5% at the beginning of this year), and most also add a 10% service charge to the bill).

I got the 10% and 6% transposed.

Thanks for not being a douche when pointing out this simple mistake (HINT: This is sarcasm).

This is probably because I'm used to thinking in terms of the Oz GST which is 10% and service charges are not customary here.

Re:Tourism (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 2 years ago | (#36451758)

Most localities do have special taxes just on hotel stays.

I wouldn't say that.
I've been to very few nations where the government has a special "tourist tax" as that's an ideal way to alienate tourism.

They call it 'lodging tax' or 'hotel tax', not 'tourist tax'. Many, many, local jurisdictions around the world have them for hotels only or hotels and restaurants. Malaysia apparently calls it 'service tax'. So I suppose the question is how does the 600K compare to what was taken in by these taxes and what portion of that came from tourists vs locals who just wanted to eat out?

Re:Tourism (2)

mistiry (1845474) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437948)

The government also profits from the influx of tourists spending their money. Sales tax, gas tax, alcohol tax, cigarette tax...

Re:Tourism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36443724)

Prostitution tax? Marrying off wymin to feriners tax?

Re:Tourism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36439272)

Well then let the BUSINESSES (hotels, amusement parks, restaurants, etc) that stand to profit from the tourism do the spending

Business do spend money on advertisements to come to their specific business (theme park, hotel, etc). Business have little interest in promoting people just to come their city. They want them to come to their business (a subtle but important difference).

rather than using tax dollars.

Business (generally are suppose to) pay taxes just like people pay taxes (the GE issue is an interesting discussion to have on US tax codes). As part of that tax, it's in the governments best interest to promote their city for tourism as it brings in people who spend money and go to said businesses (see: business tax) which helps the people of said community have stable jobs.

This sounds like Corporate Welfare

Sounds more like someone who just doesn't get it. I could be more political about it, because your POV reeks of a certain one sided parroted political talking point. Smarten up. Gain some independent critical thinking skills.

so the million-dollar owners can get rich off the ticket sales.

How about flipping that around. Letting sport teams to build their own stadiums but let it be a 100% tax free zone. No taxes on employees who work at the stadium (ie. no income tax), no sales tax, no building permits or fees, etc. We'll leave property tax in there to let them have policy/fire coverage. But we'd also enact a law the government for charging tax to out-of-state visitors who spend money at businesses near such venues. After all, the government didn't bring them in, private money did. They shouldn't have any right to tax them. See how absurd that picture is yet? Probably, but for all the wrong reasons.

Re:Tourism (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#36439582)

How about flipping that around. Letting sport teams to build their own stadiums but let it be a 100% tax free zone. No taxes on employees who work at the stadium (ie. no income tax), no sales tax, no building permits or fees, etc. We'll leave property tax in there to let them have policy/fire coverage. But we'd also enact a law the government for charging tax to out-of-state visitors who spend money at businesses near such venues. After all, the government didn't bring them in, private money did. They shouldn't have any right to tax them. See how absurd that picture is yet? Probably, but for all the wrong reasons.

Why should the stadia be 100% tax free? They will be treated just like any other business. No special privileges. If the mom and pop coffee store pays taxes, the stadia owners can pay the tax too. If the employees of the landscaping company pay income taxes the stadia employees can pay the same tax. Just treat them like any other business, with no subsidies.

The corporate owned media has completely brainwashed Americans into thinking that the corporations have to be coddled and allowed unlimited tax-deductible expenses in the elections, and be taxed at negative rates, given huge subsidies and then spend tax dollars to advertize for them, only then they will create a few mimimum wage jobs. We have the lowest corporate tax rate in the last 60 years, and it is not creating jobs. Bush administration was very lax with enforcement of all regulations. It did not create jobs.

It is high time we Americans stop subsidizing the corporations and ask them to earn a living on their own.

Re:Tourism (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 2 years ago | (#36441218)

I personally think that if rich countries dropped all subsidies and made corporate/political connections illegal, the world economy would go to shit...

For a while.

After everything had gone to shit, manufacturing industries would prosper, innovative industries (not patent industries) would prosper.

Ok... my point is that the "working man" in the west has a problem. His costs are way higher than that of those elsewhere. We don't need to concern ourself with charity - it's self-defeating at the moment. What the "working man" wants is a level playing field.

Subsidies are _only_ in place generally because higher living costs require them. (Note - I do realise they can be used as a political tool too). Without higher living costs, subsidies wouldn't be necessary. If living costs were even globally, there should be no subsidies.

Re:Tourism (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#36439604)

The government has an interest in doing the advertising because it means more tax dollars.

Bringing in more tourists could create more jobs, so while there is a corporate welfare aspect to it, it isn't that simple.

Re:Tourism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36442968)

It is, but it's bigger and less evil than "corporate welfare".

When the economy of your entire country is dependent on foreign tourism income, it becomes a matter of importance to keep that income up. It's easy to say the government should stay out of it, but if tourism slipped and failed, it could bring down their entire economy.

Re:Tourism (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#36445110)

Well then let the BUSINESSES (hotels, amusement parks, restaurants, etc) that stand to profit from the tourism do the spending, rather than using tax dollars.

Who profits from the 10% service tax in Malaysia. Look up who owns Malaysia Airports and tell me who profits from every visitor. The government of Malaysia would be earning more in tax from this then it spends.

Using tax dollars to encourage a tourism industry is exactly what tax dollars should be spend on, if an industry can be fostered and in Malaysia, that is certainly the case.

I don't know about where you live, but in the real world the governments job is to encourage economic growth.

Re:Tourism (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#36445758)

Who profits from the 10% service tax in Malaysia. Look up who owns Malaysia Airports and tell me who profits from every visitor. The government of Malaysia would be earning more in tax from this then it spends.

That's actually 6% tax, 10% service charge. But my point stands.

Re:Tourism (1)

mozumder (178398) | more than 2 years ago | (#36446236)

A tax driven economy IS a business.

Government IS a business. In fact, it is no different from any other economic entity - it's just a lot larger.

You act as if a new football stadium in Baltimore doesn't benefit the person that never attends a Ravens football games.

Economics isn't a single-variable function. Every action of every entity in the economy affects everyone else in the economy.

Re:Tourism (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#36449208)

>>>You act as if a new football stadium in Baltimore doesn't benefit the person that never attends a Ravens football games.

It doesn't. Especially as someone who never goes to Baltimore (me). It's no different than if the government volunteered to build Microsoft a new factory. It's corporate welfare for the rich; and the working class has to shoulder the burden.

Re:Tourism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36501054)

It doesn't. Especially as someone who never goes to Baltimore (me).

Ignoring for a moment that I agree with you in so far as the benefits to society do not out-weigh the costs, you are both wrong and a liar. Wrong because of, among other things, it can attract tourists and their cash (but again, I agree with you that the payout does not out-weigh the cost). And a liar because, well, did you forget that Otakon is in Baltimore, just a few blocks from M&T Bank Stadium?

Re:Tourism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36437760)

Television ads intended to reach the same number of people globally would be pretty much guaranteed to cost more. In the end, you can't make money without spending money.

That's true. With a non-fucked system of finance you have upward mobility. A low-income worker could trade their labor for money, live within their means, save money, build a little savings over time, and have some money they could spend to get started. They could use that money to take a risk and try to get something going, improve their lot in life, get out of the lower financial classes.

HAHAHAHA, not anymore! Thanks to inflation they can steal the value of your money without ever taking it out of your account. So much for living frugally and slowly building wealth over time. The ultra-rich? Hah, they don't give a shit about inflation. You think they have a big vault with piles of cash? Nope. They have assets. The value of real hard assets changes WITH inflation. It is the poor who don't want to be poor anymore who are hardest hit by inflation.

America: hardening class into caste, step by careful deliberate step. It looks like mismanagement until you realize how amazingly consistent it is. Until you realize there are some things that never happen.

Re:Tourism (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 2 years ago | (#36438130)

Thanks to inflation they can steal the value of your money without ever taking it out of your account.

Anarchists, Luddites and others have been saying pretty much since people have been banking. The tea party seems to have picked up some of that same 'anti-banking' spirit that challenged George Washington when his administration created the First Bank of the United States.

Re:Tourism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36437462)

Speaking of, have you heard about the pomegranate phone [pomegranatephone.com] ?

Sometimes it's worth the $600,000.

Re:Tourism (3, Interesting)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 2 years ago | (#36438560)

The $600,000 might be a little bit high

It's quite possible to overspend, even if the spending itself is for a reasonable purpose, and even if the amount of money is not all that high in absolute terms.

I'm trying to keep an open mind about this. Let's say $30k is a reasonable salary for a Flash programmer in Malaysia. So that's 20 man years development time. I've been searching for the pages, but it's difficult to find them using the names from the article (which is not a good sign):

The Flash game seems to be here [facebook.com] . Didn't feel like starting it, given that it asked to post stuff on my wall and send me email. Sorry about that - but maybe someone would like to give it a spin and let us know?

Is that really all they have - some plain text and photo galleries, plus a simple Flash game? Or did I not find the right stuff? Finding that should be easy though - otherwise it's hardly useful for it's intended purpose of convincing tourists to visit Malaysia. (I purposely searched for this marketing campaign and didn't find anything which would attract me to Malaysia - that can't be a good result for a country which I'm sure is an interesting place to visit...)

It really does look like a ripoff.

Re:Tourism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36444530)

$30k Singapore dollars would be a bit on the high side for a Flash programmer in Malaysia, let alone US dollars, but the government linked executive that owns the development house doesn't come cheap, nor does the under table payment to his friend at the government department that gave him the business.

Re:Tourism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36445044)

I'm from Malaysia. If people here are not happy about how the government blew RM1.8 millions (USD 600,000) on mere Facebook pages it's because Malaysia has a history of rampant corruption and taxpayer money waste. A few million here, a few million there on projects that are either never completed or turn out to be of such poor quality it's just plain depressing to see your hard earned money being wasted that way.

We're talking about a developing nation here. Salaries are low, much lower than you realize. A fresh grad IT gets paid USD 8,000 a year. With a few years of experience, it can reach USD 15,000 and pretty much tops at USD 20,000 for the best ones. So put that in relation to 6 FB fan pages, at a cost of USD 100,000 each and you will understand why people are unhappy: there is just no way all that money was spent on making pages, applications and maintaining it. As usual in Malaysia, the bulk of the money went straight into somebody's pocket. Government-paid (I should rather say taxpayer-paid) projects are usually awarded with little to no public tender and ends up contracted to companies closed to government officials. These companies routinely over charge for their services.

A few weeks back we had the RM50 millions government email program to give each of Malaysian adult a free email address. A service based on Microsoft Live platform. Turned out the government would have to pay RM0.5 (USD 0.2) for every email delivered. 16 million adults in Malaysia. Each email delivery would cost the country RM8 millions (=USD 2.6 millions). 50millions + (8millions * # emails). It was justified by the government as cheaper than printing and mailing letters to each malaysian (RM1.5 each according to gov figures). While that is likely true, it doesn't change the fact that RM 0.5 per email is way too much. Also printing and postal mail employ people, who pay income tax in return, which is healthy for the economy. The emails sent by the MS Live Platform doesn't.

Now add these RM1.8 million for the FB pages... And look at the quality of the work... The Tourism Malaysia FB page can't even get 25k "likes"...

Re:Tourism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36445594)

Let's say $30k is a reasonable salary for a Flash programmer in Malaysia. So that's 20 man years development time.

Bear in mind that this article is quoting in USD.

USD600,000 = RM1.8 million

You are right to say that $30k is a reasonable salary for a Flash programmer, but you need to quote that in ringgit, which is about USD10,000, which is 60 man years development time.

This is from a country where the government is still refusing to spend money on making basic necessities like electricity and tap water accessible in many rural communities.

Re:Tourism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36446108)

This is from a country who is still refusing to fork out money to make basic necessities (electricity, clean tap water, education) accessible to many rural communities.

This is also from a country who did NOT put out any of these projects out for public tender. This $1.8-million-for-6-Facebook-Pages story is only one of many, many similar multi-million-dollar projects that have been handed to companies with no real history or reputation for being able to deliver, and coincidentally is found out to be partially owned by "someone in the family".

Re:Tourism (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#36445030)

The $600,000 might be a little bit high, but it definitely isn't ridiculous compared to how much it can improve a country's tourism. South East Asian countries are highly dependent on tourism. There are many things I feel my country wastes money on, but this seems like a good deal. It definitely isn't waste, as it brings tourist to country and therefore jobs, money and wealth. My country spends cash on a lot more stupid things than that.

Malaysia spends a lot more then that on tourism campaigns, TV ads here in Oz alone would cost more then that.

But as you said, it would be quite profitable. Every hotel in Malaysia charges 10% government tax as well as 7.5% service charge so that's quite a little money spinner for the government. Not to mention that Malaysia Airports are owned by the M'asia govt, so landing fees are also a nice earner.

Malaysian not only has a lot of competition for tourism from it's more established northern neighbour, Thailand (who hardly needs advertising) but it now facing a lot of competition from other SE Asian nations such as Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Malaysia does not have the advantage of being as cheap as these nations (average hotel in Kuala Lumpur is about 300 Ringit, or ~US$100) so it needs to get recognised.

Re:Tourism (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#36445780)

Every hotel in Malaysia charges 10% government tax as well as 7.5% service charge so that's quite a little money spinner for the government.

A wee bit of errata here, the tax is 6%, the service charge is 10%.

Costs a bit more than it sounds (1)

gizmodolt (1072226) | more than 2 years ago | (#36445350)

It is indeed true that you need to spend money to make money but perhaps I should put the value of these figures into a Malaysian perspective:
1 USD is currently 3.03 MYR. The figure is 1.8 Million MYR, in a country where a Big Mac costs 6.95 MYR (2.23 USD). Yay, low cost of living.

A mid-level Malaysian web developer [jobstreet.com] might get paid around 3,000 MYR (990 USD) a month, so 11,880 USD is my estimate for his/her salary, not 30,000 USD as estimated elsewhere. If all that cost went into development (as an over-simplification), this translates to 600 man-months of work. A team of 60 developers for 10 months, or a team of 10 developers for 5 years? Hmm.

I can only speak for myself, but I believe the issue most of their citizens have with this is the apparent 'inefficiency', rather than the actual initiative to investment in tourism.

Not a waste (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36437028)

It's not a waste at all when you're spending other people's money, leveraging that cash flow for personal gain.

You're not in the business of government, are you?

Re:Not a waste (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36437196)

It's not a waste at all when you're spending other people's money, leveraging that cash flow for personal gain.

You're not in the business of government, are you?

besides i thought these ching-chang-chongs never questioned their collective hive mind gov't. oh wait that's americans. n/m.

remember america. you are free to do anything, absolutely anything ... as long as its popular and approved by media and gov't. just take all your actions in large mindless groups so you can be part of the borg. mmkay. whatever the hell you do don't use unapproved drugs since they might make you wake up and realize what a sheep you are.

from bill hicks: "Two of my friends and I went to a ranch in Texas and took what Terence McKenna calls a heroic dose, five dried grams (of psilocybin mushrooms), let me tell you, our third eye was squeegeed quite cleanly. Wow! And I'm glad they're against the law. Cuz you know what happened when i took 'em? I laid in a field of green grass for four hours, going My God, I Love Everything! the heavens parted, God looked down and rained gifts of forgiveness onto my being, healing me on every level, psychicially, physically, emotionally, and I realized our true nature is spirit, not body, that we are eternal beings, and God's love is unconditional and there is nothing we could ever do to change that, it is only our illusion that we are separate from God or that we are alone, in fact the reality is, we are one with God and He loves us.

Now if that isn't a hazard to this country ... you see my point. How are we gonna keep buildin' nuclear weapons -- you know what I mean?! -- what's gonna happen to the arms industry when we realize we're all one?! Hahahaha, it's gonna fuck up the economy, the economy that's FAKE ANYWAY! Which would be a real bummer, you know. You can see why the government's CRACKIN' DOWN ... on the idea of experiencing unconditional love.

Isn't it interesting that the two drugs that are legal, alcohol and cigarettes, two drugs that do absolutely NOTHING FOR YOU WHATSOEVER ... and drugs that grow naturally on this planet, drugs that open your eyes up to make you realize how you're being FUCKED EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE ... those drugs are against the law. Wow! Coincidence? I don't know. I'm sure their intentions are pure."

As compared to commercials? (2)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437056)

Facebook pages make as much sense as all those stupid Wisconsin state tourism commercials I'm inundated with. The idea behind both is that you spend money to promote tourism which generates money. Not that I'm likely to go to Malaysia due to a Facebook page, but then I dont respond to advertisement in general.

Re:As compared to commercials? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36437580)

In that case the Malaysian advertising actually paid off: the seemingly ridiculous expenditure of $600k for 6 facebook pages made the front page of slashdot, where you and many others can read and respond to it. Would you have ordinarily been looking for or paid any attention to information on tourism in Malaysia? Probably not.

Win!

[I'm sure that's what the marketers are saying to their clients]

There is one born every minute, (2)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#36438044)

but then I dont respond to advertisement in general.

I have heard this before - and very much doubt I would find anything the least surprising about where you live, what you wear, what you eat and drink, the car you drive, or how you stock your medicine cabinet.

Re:There is one born every minute, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36438188)

This is true. I've been one of those "advertisement have no effect on me" people, but on introspection I realized this was false. Example:

I had a cold sore outbreak the other week. Previously, I wouldn't have thought about buying a treatment for it, instead simply suffering through it or at most using some sort of bog standard skin balm.

However, I've recently heard about Abreva through commercials. So I looked up cold sore treatments, found out that Abreva appears to be the only anti-viral treatment that's ever been approved for it, briefly went over the literature, and bought some.

This simply would not have happened if not for the advertisement.

Re:There is one born every minute, (2)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#36438426)

I live in a house, was built in the 50's, I choose the area because it was lower cost then the area I wanted yet still offered a reasonable commute to work and nice landscape (lots of undeveloped hills and woods). I wear pants and shirts, dont know or care what the brands are. I buy the most comfortable at the best price I can find. I tend to cook my own food using "produce" (I am unaware of a name brand potato). Dont really have much of anything in my medicine cabinet other then some old prescriptions, I take what the doctor says will help.

Re:There is one born every minute, (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#36445282)

I live in a house, was built in the 50's, I choose the area because it was lower cost then the area I wanted yet still offered a reasonable commute to work and nice landscape (lots of undeveloped hills and woods). I wear pants and shirts, dont know or care what the brands are. I buy the most comfortable at the best price I can find. I tend to cook my own food using "produce" (I am unaware of a name brand potato). Dont really have much of anything in my medicine cabinet other then some old prescriptions, I take what the doctor says will help.

You've missed the GP's point.

People who say they don't respond to advertising are often just oblivious to the fact they do. The last part of that statement.

I take what the doctor says will help.

Have you investigated the medicine for yourself. When the doctor gives me something, I'll generally do a Google search on it, at the very least I'll read the packaging. I live in Oz so the doctors are generally trustworthy, but it never hurts to have a cursory understanding of what you're taking (99 times out of 100, what I find online backs up what the doctor said, but it still gives me a better understanding).

Also what about over the counter medicines such as pain relievers?

I do respond to advertising. I generally hate advertising so I respond negatively. As a response to advertising, I've stopped watching TV, listening to Radio and reading Print. As a response to on-line advertising I've installed adblock and flashblock. As a response to advertising, I'll go out of my way to avoid products who's advertising annoys me.

This puts me in the minority of people.

Advertising is not intrinsically evil, however it's mostly used in an evil manner. I'm more in favour of opt in advertising. I've signed up for several mailing lists for the express purpose of knowing when they are having a sale (Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, might notice a pattern here), I think advertising would be better if it were sought out rather then pushed on us. Google ads have the right idea, if I'm searching for "shovels" chances are a hardware store is just what I'm looking for, if I'm watching the TV, I don't give a crap about vacuum cleaners, jewellery, cheap furniture and what ever crap is getting peddled. (which is why I don't watch the TV any more, too many annoying ad's). Also google ad's are unintrusive, no flashing lights or noises trying to distract me.

Sounds like... (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437074)

... "social media" experts are to blame.

Re:Sounds like... (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437590)

Please, if you have to use quotes, could you at least put that "experts" in them too?

Re:Sounds like... (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#36445340)

Please, if you have to use quotes, could you at least put that "experts" in them too?

What if they were experts, say in engineering or economics as opposed to social media.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#36446184)

The combination of "social media" and "experts" just sounds like the combination of "homeopathic" and "doctor".

Re:Sounds like... (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#36446846)

The combination of "social media" and "experts" just sounds like the combination of "homeopathic" and "doctor".

How about:

Robert Homoeopathic, Medical Doctor?

Re:Sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36448232)

Still doesn't make sense. Quotations should still cover all three words.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437816)

If you have a pair of tits, are under 40, and have a facebook and twitter account, you can make a living marketing yourself out to the media and businesses as a "social media expert".

What's the big deal? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36437090)

At least this expenditure helps the country.

Here in the USA we spend $600,000 on a singe bomb to drop on a singe third world shack. These bombs are specially designed to minimize damage to neighboring third world shacks, but the people injured and the relatives of the dead will likely hate America for the rest of their lives.

I think we should divert 60% of our military expenditures to pointless facebook pages or social programs and paying off the debt.

By the way, facebook pages are a pain in the ass to code for. Not hard, but a gimped pain in the ass.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36437356)

Correct AC is correct.

And, BTW, in Soviet Russia government spends YOU!

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 2 years ago | (#36442392)

These bombs are specially designed to minimize damage to neighboring third world shacks

No, I think you'll find these bombs are specially designed to explode and kill people and break stuff as job #1, with 'try not to kill and break stuff that wasn't on the mission plan, but if a few more brown orphans grow up to become terrorists, that's just acceptable losses' as a distinct #2.

They don't actually contain marshmallows and puppies, you know.

Like me! (1, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437122)

When my government asks me to 'like' it on facebook, then it's time for the revolution.

Re:Like me! (1)

chispito (1870390) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437396)

When my government asks me to 'like' it on facebook, then it's time for the revolution.

That easy, huh?

Re:Like me! (1)

mustPushCart (1871520) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437898)

You can do that by liking ''s Revolution!!! help us reach 500k fans!!!'.

you will be thrown in jail for treason and stuff though.

Re:Like me! (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 2 years ago | (#36438296)

When my government asks me to 'like' it on facebook, then it's time for the revolution.

The number of "friends" other than political stooges, would be very telling.

Not that much actually (2)

Damnshock (1293558) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437292)

My company works mainly on building apps/making campaings on social networks and I can assure you those numbers are not that expensive. It is more that we would have asked for them but within the same digits range.

As usual: the "average Joe" doesn't realize how much things cost to do...

Regards

Re:Not that much actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36445634)

Bear in mind that this article is quoting in USD.

USD600,000 = RM1,800,000

$30k is a reasonable salary for a Flash programmerin ringgit, which is about USD10,000.

This is from a country where the government is still refusing to spend money on making basic necessities like electricity and tap water accessible in many rural communities.

Re:Not that much actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36448286)

Is it not that expensive in the context of where you live/work, or are you providing that expert opinion/assurance in the Malaysian context?

I hate Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36437388)

I sincerely hope that Facebook has a major data breach soon and people's passwords and all data is set free.

Re:I hate Facebook (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437626)

What do you need a data breach for?

Besides, what do you think would happen? An outcry? By people who deliberately and voluntarily tell the world how much time they spend on the can? Please...

Re:I hate Facebook (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437928)

Agreed - Facebook pretty much is a data breech by design. Time and time again in the last few years we've seen news reports of some huge privacy faux pas on FB's part and yet they're still as popular. Why do we need FB to lose people's data when they're already selling it off to the highest bidder?

Government and web (1)

snsh (968808) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437450)

What government puts on the web usually works out to 1/3 propaganda (see the wonderful things our fearless leader is doing), 1/3 vanity (stuff that that gets made without asking constituents first, because you know the constituents will just say it's a bad idea), and 1/3 actually useful stuff (putting up FAQ's, exposing data).

Re:Government and web (1)

xhrit (915936) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437606)

...and 100% pork. I wonder who's friend in Malaysia owns a web development firm?

Re:Government and web (1)

KarrdeSW (996917) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437644)

What any organization puts on the web usually works out to 1/3 propaganda (see the wonderful things our fearless leader is doing), 1/3 vanity (stuff that that gets made without asking constituents first, because you know the constituents will just say it's a bad idea), and 1/3 actually useful stuff (putting up FAQ's, exposing data).

Fixed that for you.

Tourism in Malaysia (2)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437628)

[T]ourism has become Malaysia's third largest source of income from foreign exchange and accounted for 7% of Malaysia's economy as of 2005. As of 2009, Malaysia ranks 9th among the top most visited countries in the world, after Germany, although the vast majority of Malaysia's visitors are from neighboring Singapore.

Tourism in Malaysia [wikipedia.org]

Facebook has 600 million users.

How much global exposure will a $600,000 add budget buy in you print, television and other media?

Re:Tourism in Malaysia (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#36439700)

And very importantly those 600M users probably have a significantly higher wealth profile and thus ability to travel internationally.

I think its pretty cheap actually. (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437850)

I think its pretty cheap actually. If the advertising brings consumers/tourism to there country. What difference does is make? TV ? Radio? Internet? Last time i checked advertising isn't free.

Ha! That's nothing! (3, Interesting)

kikito (971480) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437880)

My country has spent 600.000 *euros*

a) On a *single* static website (yes, static, only html + javascript + css)
b) Whose single purpose is basically *defending copyright*.
c) When the unemployment rate has recently surpassed 10%
d) And the site isn't even good looking.

Judge yourselves:

http://www.culturaenpositivo.es/ [culturaenpositivo.es]

That's how we roll in Spain. Malaysians are just aficionados.

Re:Ha! That's nothing! (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#36439362)

Well, my government has spend billions of dollars to determine that the government spends too much money and that will be a problem someday when our credit runs out. We are spending billions more to redefine that as a *big* problem. And we didn't even get a website out of the deal.

Re:Ha! That's nothing! (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 2 years ago | (#36443766)

We have the same shit in France, but they're so pathetic we can at least make fun of them.

Web presence is expensive (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#36437882)

I mean this is no big deal. The US government spent $18 million on recovery.gov.

Its nothing to do with developing games.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36438382)

Its nothing to do with developing games costing a lot.. its all corruption.. http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/mobile/malaysia/article/ad-agency-says-was-asked-for-bribes-to-win-tourism-contract/

Every country does it.. including the US but you just don't see it easily here.

Not a bad deal (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36438676)

The US spent $500,000 and all we got were shrimp on treadmills. [go.com]

Re:Not a bad deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36448282)

Actually, the treadmill portion was to measure the shrimp's health. It is much cheaper than drawing blood. The study wasn't the treadmill, it was about water quality. It took me all of 15 seconds to find that out. But of course, it has become a trend, like Weiner's weener and folks like you will fall into said trends en masse. Cheers.

Amateur hour? (1)

gadget junkie (618542) | more than 2 years ago | (#36438966)

Harumph. here in Italy, the state-owned site www.italia.it ran up to 45 millions Euros (about 65 mil USD). Sorry, site in italian. trust me.

The Malaysian project pricetag was reasonable. (3, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#36438994)

If you want to see real contractor rip-offs of the public, you should look at the US, where it has become an art form.

I once was invited to a meeting in which a state agency (state withheld to protect the clueless) discussed the next plans for a system it purchased from a major government contractor with an emergency two million dollar federal grant. The agency wasn't a bad agency, mind you. In fact it was a fairly good one, but used to operating on a shoestring. They had no idea whatsoever what things cost, and suddenly they had two million bucks dumped on them that had to be shoveled out the door faster than the speed of thought. A politically connected federal contractor landed the contract and delivered on time and on budget, but the system wasn't really useful unless it was integrated with the agencies various activities.

So I was asked to come and discuss how this could be done. In truth I think I was invited down so they could pick my brain for for free, because it turned out they didn't have *any* money left over from the two million they'd blown on initial development. Even if I'd offered my services pro bono, they wouldn't have had the money to pay my expenses. After the initial presentation, I asked the disgusted state IT guy next to me how much his department would have charged to build the system they'd just bought for two million. His estimate was sixty thousand. Mine was sixty-five.

I've always thought that the whole situation must have been a set-up. The grant was dumped on an agency that had no idea how to procure technology, and they weren't given enough time to put together a reasonable RFP or to obtain competitive bids. It was a perfect sting. Had the extent of the waste come to public attention, some hapless state manager would have taken the fall. People love to crucify bureaucrats. The politician behind the earmark would point his finger at his political enemies at the state level, and his (I am presuming) contractor cronies would truthfully say they had done everything they had contracted for.

The lesson is that while government is often infuriatingly slow, beware of any project where there's pressure to spend taxpayer money before it disappears. Never spend public money in a hurry. "Shovel-ready" equals "graft-ready".

bahaha 404... (1)

boniggy (1753428) | more than 2 years ago | (#36451268)

The page just 404'd on me. looks like someone got their nutz in a vice over this one and pulled the page.
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