Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Examining The RM 1.8 million Six Facebook Fan Pages Case

KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — A whopping RM1,758,432 was spent on developing six Facebook pages to promote Malaysian tourism, the Tourism Ministry said today. 

Deputy Tourism Minister James Dawos Mamit said this today in reply to a question from Anthony Loke (Rasah-DAP).

Each Facebook page cost RM293,072 — Cuti-Cuti 1 Malaysia, Citrawarna 1Malaysia, Karnival Jualan Mega 1 Malaysia, Festival Pelancongan Seni Kontemporari 1 Malaysia, Kempen 1 Malaysia Bersih and Fabulous Food 1 Malaysia.

The Citrawarna 1 Malaysia page has so far attracted 20,292 Facebook fans since it was launched on May 21.

Mamit said that the RM1.8 million included costs for designing, flash programming and coding, testing and debugging, uploading and launching the application, system server deployment and campaign management.

“You need RM1.8 million to run Facebook pages and applications? A six-year-old can start a Facebook page.

“If Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen has problems getting people to help start Facebook pages, DAP headquarters can help her out, we have people who can develop these things at no cost,” Loke told reporters later at a press conference.

Loke said that unless Ng explained the reasons behind the “exorbitant” costs for the “social media branding” exercise by her ministry, he would lodge a report to the Malaysian Anti-Crimes Commission (MACC). - The Malaysian Insider


I was briefly involved in freelance web design process cycle with one of my ex-colleagues that was done as way of making an extra buck out of it and we actually have a rough idea how much these kind of service would cost, depending on requirements, the hosting facilities, the content required, and the time needed. This is then factored with the number of additional people required to complete that work. Back in 2008, we had done this kind of work before, and given of the need to have it ready by a month, we had a few extra hands in India side to help us out. And of course the final cost would wary on that.

At first, when the minister said that it cost RM1.8 million in total for those six Facebook pages, I was at first thinking that the minister has actually no idea of how much is the production cost of developing those pages. It's likely that since there's not many savvy people in IT in that department, it crossed my mind that they have no idea that it would be that high or otherwise. 

As what Anthony Loke was saying in Parliament, any person can create a Facebook fan page without a cost or even a small fee just to get it done professionally. A web page can cost more than that because there is also the annual cost of hosting (depending on the size) and domain name fee, creating other features and so forth. If you are creating a Facebook Fan Page (since it accommodates more than 5000 fans), you don't even need a domain name, no need database and a hosting since Facebook already has it already.

For those who are unsure how a fan page is created, you can view one of the sample guide sites on doing.The first link is a basic how to create a Facebook fan page, while this link has much details and tutorials on doing a fan page.

I decided to do some search via Facebook's search function and Google and it turns out that by entering those entries it turns out to be that some are not really Facebook fan page, but actual pages itself. For instance, confirmed non-Facebook pages are: 1Malaysia Green And Clean, Fabulous Food 1Malaysia, while Citrawarna 1Malaysia is confirmed to be a Facebook Fan Page. I suppose that the Tourism ministry website is also being counted on the RM 1.8 million work that is, since the last update was just today.

Thus, whatever that James Davos was replying in Parliament is not entirely accurate and can be tantamount to misleading the Dewan Rakyat on the information given. One argument about that thing was that he said all of those pages are Facebook fan pages, whereas it turns to be not all. For the cost factor, after looking onto the entire content, the cost for RM 293K per page is acceptable for the three non-Facebook pages, because it requires flashy content, high storage capacity, ability to update information on the go, search engine optimization and the number of people required to work on the website. 

So RM 293K X 3 = RM 879K.

The cost of working on 3 Facebook Fan pages is little fishy here, should cost a fraction of RM 293K. If that is the case, after calculating the above, I suppose that the balance of the RM 1.8 million spent would be on the advertising marketing campaign, in order to promote these six websites.

Unfortunately, at this time, there has been lack of information on the breakdown of costs. We don't know at this time whether there are at least two companies involved in working on those pages. One for design pages, another one for aggressive advertising. The one for designing pages was identified as Impact Creations Sdn. Bhd. There are several references to Tourism Ministry and Impact Creations, with several items related to like:Tourism Minister's Friend Admits Links To Company (referring to Juni Ewe). The rest can be seen on search results: 

Unfortunately, I didn't really agree entirely to some other people who wrote on this matter, including Paula - who wrote it 5 hours ago. But what is interesting on the matter is that politicians from both fronts (e.g Anthony Loke and Khairy) have been pushing for Ng Yen Yen to reveal for it opens the interest of everyone to find out more about the thing. And there must be an emphasis that the answer that James Dawos Mamit gave is not accurate in entire.

1 comment:

  1. Wow.. do you think is money well spent? hmm.. 1.8million is too expensive for 6 tourism flash powered websites, not to mention ordinary Facebook page lol..


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