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Business Buzz: Oversaturation of Facebook groups

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: One of the great benefits of Facebook is that due to the sheer number of people using it, it has become a marketer’s dream to easily and cheaply connect with potential customers and to market products and services with great results.

But has it now reached the point of over-saturation?

A classic case in point is the use of online groups and fan pages as platforms for real estate and classified ads here in Phuket. I spent an hour or two just searching for different items and options, and was amazed at what I found.

There are now about 34 groups and six pages just for Phuket Classifieds. These groups range from having as little as 476 members, to the most popular site having almost 19,500 members. For those that can remember, there used to be just one expat buy and sell group in Phuket, and because of that it was very efficient because all of the buyers and sellers ended up in the same place.

Now that many people have started their own group, it has diluted the overall usefulness, as people now have to waste time posting or searching in numerous groups to find anything.

Even more saturated is the Phuket real estate scene. I stopped counting after a while, as page after page, and group after group, was returned in my search request. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of these sites, and people have even created normal profiles under real estate names, which adds even more to the oversupply.

For the early birds and trend setters, this was a very successful form of marketing, but what has happened now is the lazy, unoriginal marketers and latecomers have decided that they should set up their own groups, in effect diluting the whole sector’s communications. I am guessing that the theory was that by being in control of a group, marketers thought they would get more exposure, but the reality is that this had an overall negative impact for all involved, both buyers and sellers.

So what does this actually mean in real terms?

Quite simply, as a seller you are now just part of a huge amount of noise. For the average person, this has become annoying, so Facebook searches have certainly lost appeal. People looking for classifieds or real estate now have to work much harder to get the quality answers that they are seeking.

So, in reality, a lot of customers have changed to different search methodologies, or resigned themselves to the fact that they must search through more groups than ever before. If you are careful with how you phrase your search enquiry, you can also do some qualified searches to get rid of a lot of the rubbish.

From a business perspective, this has meant that to stand out you now really need to be different and know what you are doing. The days of the easy post and quick returns are over, so more technique and marketing finesse is required.

I guess the interesting question will be what Facebook will do about it. Given that it now means businesses may be forced to spend money on Facebook ads to stand out, the likely answer is nothing. However, given that they want to be the premier search platform, they may have something up their sleeve to keep users happy and engaged.

Simon Wetherell is a social media expert and lawyer. He trains businesses and individuals on how to profit from the social media industry. For more information: PhuketOnlineMarketingSchool.com or call 095-085 3355.

— Simon Wetherell

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Thailand producing over 4 million face masks a day

Maya Taylor

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Thailand producing over 4 million face masks a day | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

An increase in production facilities means Thailand is now producing 4.2 million face masks a day, leading to a growing surplus. A report in Nation Thailand says Internal Trade Director Vichai Pochanakit says producers in China are once again exporting the raw materials needed for mask production.

The Thai government is now looking at ways to manage a daily surplus of more than 1 million face masks. It currently purchases 3 million masks a day from 16 factories. Of these, the Public Health Ministry takes 1.8 million and is now understood to have amassed more than a month’s supply. The Interior Ministry gets 1.2 million masks a day, with officials now in talks to distribute extra masks to organisations that may need them, such as airlines.

Officials have also decided to extend Thailand’s ban on the export of masks until at least February 2021. An exception is being made for certain categories of masks, including those produced under Board of Investment tax incentives specifically for the export market, those that filter out chemical particles, and masks exported to embassies in foreign countries.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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“Come and see” – Ministry invites diplomats to see coconut-picking monkeys in action

The Thaiger

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“Come and see” – Ministry invites diplomats to see coconut-picking monkeys in action | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Atlas Obscura

The monkeys, and the Thai government, are hitting back at accusations macaque monkeys are being exploited, even abused, and forced to pick coconuts for commercial farmers. Some larger western retailers say they’re going to pull Thai coconut products off their shelves after being lobbied by animal rights activist that the coconuts were picked by abused and over-worked macaque monkeys.

The Thai Commerce Ministry, coconut farmers and the “monkey school” trainers are dismissing reports, and a dramatic video from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal), that the coconut-picking monkeys are maltreated. So they’re organising a tour for foreign diplomats and the media to see the monkeys at work and decide for themselves.

The permanent secretary for commerce, responding to the reports, says the monkey owners don’t abuse or exploit the animals which have been “humanely trained” to pick coconuts. He has instructed attaches in foreign Thai embassies to provide an explanation to retailers in other countries who have expressed concerns and even instigated boycotts.

“The ministry is ready to invite foreign diplomats to visit coconut plantations and see how the monkeys pick coconuts so they will realise this is not animal cruelty.”

The Bangkok Post reports that Pramual Pongthawaradej, a Demo­crat Party MP for Prachuap Khiri Khan province, the Chair of a House subcommittee tackling falling coconut prices, says they’ve approached owners of coconut milk plants to justify their practices to PETA. They’ve also asked the Department of Agriculture to provide details regarding the use of monkeys to pick coconuts.

A video from Touronthai shows an operating monkey-school posted 4 years ago…

But Somjai Saekow, an owner of a monkey school which trains macaques in Surat Thani, says… “the practice of capturing monkeys from the wild to pick coconuts ceased a long time ago”.

“Currently, monkeys are bred and raised before being trained. They are not forced to pick 1,000 coconuts from trees everyday, and they don’t work every day.

“Coconut-picking monkeys are mostly males and their abilities vary. The owner of the monkey receives 2 baht per a coconut picked.”

“Foreigners may not understand our livelihood. Also, humans are not built to climb up a coconut tree to pick fruit. They will be at risk, compared to monkeys which have the natural ability to do so.”

An owner of monkeys in Surat Thani, denied the claims of poor treatment or abuse of the coconut-picking monkeys.

“There is no cruelty. Actually, they are looked after well. They are fed well with rice, milk, and fruit three times a day. They are treated like family members.”

PETA claims pigtailed macaques in Thailand were treated like “coconut-picking machines”.

“Following PETA’s investigation, more than 15,000 stores will no longer purchase these brands’ products, with the majority also no longer buying any coconut products sourced from Thailand monkey labour.”

PETA said it had found 8 farms around Thailand where monkeys had been forced to pick coconuts for commercial export.

“Male monkeys are able to pick up to 1,000 coconuts a day.”

“Other coconut-growing regions, including Brazil, Colombia and Hawaii, harvest coconuts using humane methods such as tractor-mounted hydraulic elevators, willing human tree-climbers, rope or platform systems, or ladders, or they plant dwarf coconut trees.”

“PETA went further by calling on “decent people never to support the use of monkey labour by shunning coconut products from Thailand”.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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PETA reveals ‘abused’ monkeys used to pick coconuts in Thailand

The Thaiger

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PETA reveals ‘abused’ monkeys used to pick coconuts in Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: PETA

A boycott is in full swing amongst western retailers to pull Thai coconut products off their shelves following allegations that the coconuts have been picked by monkeys who were ‘abused’ to learn how to pick coconuts. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals director, Elisa Allen, claims the macaque monkeys are “snatched from the wild” and cruelly trained to climb up coconut trees and pick up to 1,000 coconuts a day.

“These curious, highly intelligent animals are denied psychological stimulation, companionship, freedom, and everything else that would make their lives worth living, all so that they can be used to gather coconuts.”

PETA says that the Thai pigtailed macaques are treated like “coconut-picking machines”. A new investigation into Thailand’s coconut industry reveals the monkeys are confined to cramped cages, chained, and forced to work. PETA reports that the monkeys are used by commercial farms that supply 2 of Thailand’s best-known coconut milk brands, Aroy-D and Chaokoh. Both brands are exported EU countries and the US.

In the UK, Waitrose, Ocado, Co-op and Boots have now announced they will stop selling some coconut products from Thailand. A spokesperson for Tesco told the BBC… “Our own-brand coconut milk and coconut water does not use monkey labour in its production and we don’t sell any of the branded products identified by PETA”.

“Following PETA’s Asia’s investigation, more than 15,000 stores will no longer purchase these brands’ products, with the majority also no longer buying any coconut products sourced from Thailand monkey labour.”

PETA has shared a video narrated by Downton Abbey star Peter Egan. According to PETA, the video shows ‘monkeys pacing and circling endlessly on chains… confined to cramped cages with no shelter from the rain… forced to climb trees and pick coconuts for milk sold by major brands’.

PETE claims it had found 8 farms in Thailand where monkeys were forced to pick coconuts for export around the world. Male monkeys can pick up to 1,000 coconuts in a day. It’s thought that a human can pick about 80.

“Other coconut-growing regions, including Brazil, Colombia and Hawaii, harvest coconuts using humane methods such as tractor-mounted hydraulic elevators, willing human tree-climbers, rope or platform systems, or ladders, or they plant dwarf coconut trees.”

The group said it has uncovered “monkey schools”, where the macaque species monkeys are trained to pick coconuts, fruit, as well as ride bikes or play basketball for the entertainment of tourists.

“The animals at these facilities, many of whom are illegally captured as babies, displayed stereotypic behaviour indicative of extreme stress.”

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