Rip Off

Its quite incredible to me how people are quite comfortable ripping other people off. Last night, I accidentally stumbled upon a report on offer on several websites for the amazing sum of $3500. The report was about the CTRM software market (everyone scratches heads and says – The what market?). This is actually the software category that I cover as an analyst and so I was interested in this report that must originate with a competitor – naturally, I wanted to know who that competitor might be. Well, firstly, the report appears to be for sale across a number of websites that offer reports, it’s authors well hidden behind a mass of different company names. The language used to describe it told me three things almost immediately;

1. The authors do not understand the subject (gleaned from a look at the illogical Table of Contents)

2. The authors have trouble with English (gleaned from the description that misses whole joining works like ‘and’ for example)

3. The authors had copied or plagiarized our CTRM market Sizing report – easy to do as our report is a FREE download.

So I am forced to conclude that something we provide for free has been copied, edited and altered a bit and now stands for sale at $3500 by whoever ripped us off.

Apparently, this is a business model followed by a number of people. A colleague of mine told me how a group of hackers took free applications for the iPhone and other smart phones, hacked them, re-packaged them and sold what was free apps for a large fee. They do well apparently these rip off people…..

A few days ago, I was googling myself. Now I know that sounds egotistical but…. I am marketing my books and I was simply looking to see how many links and articles etc. where readily findable pointing to my books. Inevitably, I came across a couple of file share websites that offer electronic copies of two or more of my books as a free download. To my utter amazement, I actually found a discussion site in which a person is asking where they can get a copy of my first poetry book – Weird Tales – as a free download. The answerer pointed them to a file share site where, sure enough, it could be downloaded. All this to avoid paying 99 cents? Yes, 99 cents from Amazon in electronic format. So there is another way I am being ripped off. On the other hand, if someone wants my book that badly, they should ask me and I will be happy to send them a copy so long as they post a review. It was just that people want to avoid paying 99 cents for my intellectual property that I find quite ridiculous.

Of course, the whole world seems to be engaged in ripping other people off but when people like Vladimir Putin set such a great example of ripping their own people off for billions and billions of dollars, I guess everyone else wants in too?

I know of factories here where workers are paid minimum wage and then cash in hand to make it up. It is a win-win isn’t it? The workers get 100% of the money they earned above the minimum, stay enrolled in social security and healthcare so they win. The owner pays less payroll taxes and therefore makes more profit and pockets that so they win too. Then there is the woman who takes child allowance as a single mother while living with her child’s father who pretends to be living elsewhere so they can cheat on benefits. They both win too. He makes a wage, she gets great benefits.

But the problem is that in fact we are all losing. Every cheat and rip off merchant who thinks they are winning needs to step back and see that actually, we all lose. In the examples above, the loser is the state. It receives less revenues and pays out more. So it has to figure out a way to get more revenues which inevitably means more taxes on things like beer, gas, cigarettes and of yes – CO2. This gets passed on throughout the economy so food goes up, goods go up, energy is more expensive and … well, we all understand how it works I guess.

But then, Life is a rip off isn’t it?

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