Friday, November 24, 2006

For Webex World Is Not Flat Yet

People don’t change when you tell them there is a better option. They change when they conclude they have no other option.”
:-Michael Mandelbaum quoted in The World is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman, pg 462

Today at office I was looking for some web based remote screen sharing products to help my team trouble shoot the problems in our software installed at client location in Singapore . I called a friend of mine for advice , his one line recommendation was WebEx. He was using Webex for some time and was very happy with results . I value this guy's opinion so half of the sale was done for WebEx even before i even saw their website.

I went to India page of WebEx .it was a professional looking website . i was impressed and straight away decided to evaluate the software . WebEx was one step closer to sale . They asked me to register to use evaluation version . It was a pretty much simple and easy registration which asked for very relevant questions .But halfway through the registration i discovered something amusing

The trial they were offering was only for 20 minutes. Yes only 20 minutes . They expected me to evaluate & decide about a web-based enterprise grade product in 20 minute ? How on earth this company is in business? I grew suspicious of something and i jumped to US page of WebEx . Result was exactly the as I expected ,On US website of WebEx they were offering a trial version for 14 days . you can see this in these two attached screen shots.

As an Indian Techie i was hurt to see this discrimination . if you find this offensive or disturbing and you feel like cursing MNC and Firangi folks for this discrimination .than hold your anger for few minutes, you are In for some more facts .

Webex is headed by an Indian .

Mr. Kiran Datar [according to their website , according to wikipedia their CEO is Subrah S. lyar.] .In news section of their site they have boasted about their India Connection and touted how big an opportunity India as an emerging market represent and how they have plan to capture this market with 20 minute demo . I can understand why they are proud of their India connection .A lot of indians are at senior position in various US Based IT companies .This india connection helps WebEx to close a deal fast . Fact is that they are comfortable using india for the commercial gain in US but they don't think indain Techie worthy of there server sapce and bandwidth . I find it pathetic

We live in a Flat World ,At least that's what Mr.Friedman want me to believe . A steady stream of Advertisement and promotion keep telling me that Customer is king . They keep telling me that they will move mountain to make me happy . They don't differentiate among customer on the basis of color,cast,creed, race geography or any thing. All customer are equal for them . but are they ?

We all know that this is not true. All customer are not equal some are more equal than other .

I knew it when Air Hostess delay providing me water bottle in Air India but whole bunch of them spring to action when a Firangi White man ask for something . from Smile to the amount of drink in glass ,everything is Extra large for Mr.White .

I knew it when i walk in to an uptown bar where they don't mention cost in menu and i ask cost of three things before ordering one .

Truth is i don't mind all this very much . As a human being all of us are prone to biases and its only natural if these biases reflect in our dealing with our customer at our workplace also .

Thats one reason i used to be so happy in cyberspace . At least a website never makes that discrimination. Website is totally oblivious to all that . website reflects the company policies and companies don't diffrentaite among customers. At least not on record . Specially in Hi-Tech Products , in products where your target customer is a highly qualified IT professional i don't think any differentiation will be of any help to anyone.

But some Companies do it . in a very subtle way . i found web ex in same league . its unfortunate that an Indian don't find Indian customer worthy of something which he is giving free to rest of the world . i know chances of closing a sale is less in India , i know some folks might use the service for long time by creating multiple account one after another . But still i don't think insulting Indian customers with 20 minute demo is a good step .

coming back to the quote i wrote in the start of this post . i seriously wait for the day when My country became big enough a market that comapnies like WebEx can't even think of doing these type of cheap stunt . when our customer won't tolerate this . when [like china ] we can tell companies what is allowed in inda and what is not .

I don't know who read my blog but if you happen to know someone in Webex please ask them to read this and correct their mistake . I for once will not be recomnending webex to anyone anymore .


Sanjukta said...

A young techie reflecting patriotism in his own significant way..

Very nice post.. deserves to be read by those guys.

BTW can those us guys not create multiple accounts and use it for longer period?? Is that something only indian's do?

Anonymous said...

Hi Prashanth,
I have read your comments. I wanted to point out to you that the 20 minute offer to try webex is only a test drive for the users so that they can get a feel of collaboration. For the more serious buyers, we encourage them to do a webex demo with our team, following which they can opt to try out webex for a period of 14 days.
Therefore, there is no 'discrimination', the same 14 day free trial given in the US is also offered to users here. Ofcourse, we'd like to weed out the serious users from the frivolous ones.
India is an area of huge focus & importance for WebEx US and will continue to be so. In fact they are very excited seeing the skills available here and also the market potential.
For any further comments from your side, pl be free and welcome to mail me at We'd be glad to provide you the 14 day free trial and wow you with the features, so that you recommend using WebEx to all!
-Rajesh Rajah
Vice President
WebEx India
New Delhi

Beji said...

Hi Prashant,

I was about to comment I don't know anybody at Webex that the second comment arrived. It definitely goes to say they have good customer services and handle feedback well. Rest is the customer's descretion.
But may be you are right it's time we stop giving options.... and may be that will change things.
Great post!!

MA Incorporated said...

Hey Prashant,

Good post and I must comment Rajesh did a really good job by replying to this quickly. The question is that The discremination is still not over. I am not sure why he used the "anonymous" identity for himself.

You may like to use services from other web based screen sharing utility providers too. GoToMeeting and GoToAssist are coming up with really great solutions. Unfortunately many businessmen do not undertand the power of word of mouth as none of them is ready to accept the affiliation from my website where I am not only promising them better business but I am not demanding any money for that. Organizations like Intel have partnered with my website.

Amit said...

BTW can those us guys not create multiple accounts and use it for longer period?? Is that something only indian's do?

well sanjukta, thats what you call a prejudice!! ;) a lot of people are prejudiced that users from western countries like US & UK are all law abiding & honest while the users from eastern part like india, china & other asians are cheats!!

Vishesh Bajaj said...

Hi Prashant

I am sorry to say that I have a little different opinion. I am not saying who is right and who is wrong, in fact we have very less factual data to comment on any thing. With due respect to all of my indian friends (I being the part of that group), we have to understand why they have put this kind of restriction. They are a professional sitting selling their product to make money, and they would do maxmimum for region from where they are getting maximum business. (Irrespective of color, caste and religion). And, you also know that people in India misuse these kind of trial accounts.

I think they have every right to protect their product. Let all of us prove to world that we are also in competetion with US, UK, Japan and other countries in terms of buisness revenue, honesty and ethics. Then we can defintely crib about we not being treated as previlege customers.

This kind of discrimination would hurt all Indians including me and you, but we are also at fault.

Hey Prashant, on a lighter note there is one more shade to it. This also means that we are so sharp to understand their product in just 20 mintues, and they are too dumb to understand it in 14 days.

Vishesh Bajaj

Ankur said...

its an issue made out of non issue. Dont like them dont buy them. There are many options available. There are many free options which provide a lesser functionality but enough for what u need. Try remote assistance option in the MSN messenger. then there is

Anyways piracy is not all that bad,,we depend on windows for office use simply because of the pirated version we use at home..What do u think, MS does not know it??cant stop it?

Amit said...

And, you also know that people in India misuse these kind of trial accounts.

An absurd prejudice, thats what it is. Because as I see it, all of the software cracker groups are europe & usa based, none in India! So??

And Prashant, I agree with Ankur, there are many other options available. You can also check out RealVNC. Its free edition is quite basic but does the job for me and many others! :)


Thanks Everyone for your support

@Mr.Rajesh Rajah ,

I am touched by the swiftness you have shown in replying to my post . but at the same time you are defending your stance. i have only two Question for you

#1 Sanjukta has rightly asked that even people in developed countries like US can and do misuse these free trial account. why this risk is worth taking in US and not in India . and I think given our limited exposure to IT &Sw we will surely take some time to get comfortable with it . i think this qualify us for more than 14 days trial not less

#2 Do you have same 20 minute demo rule in china . if no Why ?

@vishesh:: i don't deny their right to protect their product but to Bar every one from one country and allowing everyone from another is like painting with a very very wide brush. and i don't think any one on earth is smart to download-install-set up a session-evaluate-decide in 20 min .

@Amit : thanks for the support buddy

@Nitin :Thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment . issue is not of choosing a product issue is how an organization deal with India . I know about Instacoll since it was in Beta and than i knew when it was shipped bundled with some server from IBM /HP . this is not an industry standard and not enterprise grade support by any strech . so i can't go for it .

umesh patil said...

We don't have to give options to anyone as it depends on them when they think they'll change it. I like the photographs on your blog.

mayank said...

"A 20 minute demo"....what the f...
I guess they dont see India as their market

Anonymous said...

I don't know what their marketing strategy is but as everybody think they are not the only player in market and simple thing will happen that they will lose competition to other.....

Don’t worry Mr. Singh they will get their lesson!!

Malika Kutub said...

Dear Prashant,

I am Malika Kutub from The PRactice and we represent Windows Live and MSN India.
I have been reading your blog for quite some time and have discovered that you follow technology quite closely.

I was wondering if we could share news related to MSN with you on a regular basis.

Do let me know your thoughts on this.


Malika Kutub said...

Dear Prashant,

I am Malika Kutub from The PRactice and we represent Windows Live and MSN India.
I have been reading your blog for quite some time and have discovered that you follow technology quite closely.

I was wondering if we could share news related to MSN with you on a regular basis.

Do let me know your thoughts on this.



Thanks Ms. Kutub .
I will be happy to discuss that

Please drop me an email at pacificleo-at-gmail-dot-com

Anonymous said...

It looks like waste. No American even bothered to answer this.

karel said...

Yugma at makes for an interesting alternative -- they have no limited free trial. Their basic product is free forever. they just launched in 12/06. You can invite up to 10 people to your session for free. Do a google blogsearch and you can read what people are saying. it's pretty cool. cross platform too.

Anonymous said...

i would recommend you to check out - the open source web meeting tool (startup based in US and India)

Anonymous said...

Try out Expert Audio Conferencing and Web Conferencing Services from ConferIndia... ConferIndia is a fastest growing conferencing service provider in India with a focus on superior client servicing... its not free but value for money!

Anonymous said...

I agree, Webex sucks in India... they had a long monopoly in the Indian Market and had been really milking its customers (who unfortunately till recently had no choice)... now there is this new vibrant Audio Conferencing company which is realistic and determined to give customers good value! I had tried them and continue to use them...