Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Thursday, December 22, 2005

How are online Pinoy retailers faring?

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva, INQ7.net
A recent study on Filipino online retailers that have survived the dot-com crash has shown that it takes more than patience and luck to sell goods online.
A combination of branding, advertising, and technology can spell the difference for some online Filipino retailers, according to a study titled, "Business-to-consumer online commerce in the Philippines" by Asian Institute of Management student Anna Mendoza.
Mendoza presented results of her study at the recent One Internet Day event organized by Janette Torral, founder of DigitalFilipino.com.
The study showed that there are now five active Filipino "outbound" online retailers – KabayanCentral.com, Divisoria.com, TuroTuro.com, TitikPilipino.com, and myAyala.com.
While KabayanCentral.com was the first to focus on selling Pinoy items online back in 1998, the study concluded that myAyala.com proved to have the best formula for attracting more business, despite its later emergence in 2000.
MyAyala.com is the online retail Website equivalent to the brick-and-mortar of Ayala-owned malls.
Mendoza's analysis showed that myAyala turned out to be the top online Filipino retailer by the study’s nine "key success factors" in online retailing.
These key success factors are brand awareness, online presence in advertising, credible reputation, customer satisfaction, reach and coverage, product selection, convenience, company strength, and price.
MyAyala dominated in five out of 9 key success factors, according to Mendoza, leading her to conclude that people still prefer to buy from click-and-mortar firms with a well-established reputation in the real world.
The study also found some interesting facts: a search on words like "Filipino, music, video, books, cd" would most often lead people to Divisoria.com, followed by Kabayancentral.com.
Brand awareness courtesy of online and offline advertising puts the online retailer myAyala way ahead of pure online retailers. "MyAyala is the conly online retailer that has a brick and mortal counterpart and has also the most number of mediums of advertising," Mendoza added.
An extensive selection of products does not translate to more visitors and eventually customers, the study said. MyAyala has clearly dominated in the area of customer satisfaction despite more products found in Kabayancentral.com’s virtual shop.
MyAyala has also been rated as the best in terms of customer satisfaction and support. It was also found to be pricing its products lower than the other online retailers studied. The company however offsets this with high shipping cost, Mendoza said.

Computerized system eases tax payments in Makati

By Michael Punongbayan, The Philippine Star
Beginning January 2006, Makati residents can pay real property taxes in any of the 13 barangay halls which are now equipped with computers directly linked to the treasury department of City Hall.
Mayor Jejomar Binay said the city’s computerized tax payment scheme will soon give taxpayers the convenience of paying real property taxes at their own barangay halls or in nearby barangays.
Through a computerized process, taxpayers need only to provide relevant and necessary information about their property and their tax due is immediately computed.
Binay said the system also allows the instant issuance of official receipts, which are printed in a matter of seconds.
Taxpayers, he noted, can pay their barangay halls or the one nearest their barangay a visit on the scheduled dates of payment.
"We have now expanded the coverage of the electronic tax payment scheme. Previously, it was only the residents in the barangays who can avail themselves of this service," Binay announced.
"Now, everyone can pay their taxes electronically and no longer need to go to City Hall," he said believing that Makati City’s computerized tax payment scheme again makes life easier in the country’s financial capital .
The treasury department said next year’s schedule for payments are as follows: Barangay Bel-Air on Jan. 3 and 4; Dasmariñas on Jan. 5; Forbes Park on Jan. 6; Magallanes on Jan. 7; Urdaneta on Jan. 9; and San Lorenzo on Jan. 11.
Tax payment schedules for Barangay Guadalupe Nuevo is on Jan. 12; San Antonio also Jan. 12; Bangkal on Jan. 13; Pio del Pilar on Jan. 16; Poblacion also on Jan. 16; Tejeros on Jan. 17; and Comembo on Jan. 17.
Payment centers are open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are expected to be crowded but orderly since treasury department employees will be guiding taxpayers.
"Realty tax payments used to take at least a day to accomplish. But after we computerized the payment, we significantly reduced it to two to four minutes," Binay said.
In the past, he said taxpayers had to go to City Hall, line up, and wait for at least one day to pay their tax obligations.
The Makati city government’s computerization program was pilot tested in 2003 and has now been expanded to cover 13 barangays.
Binay said the city government is now working on introducing paperless transactions in all public services.
"We hope that in a few years, people can transact with our city government at any time and in any place. This will also make our services more efficient," he said.

NTC proposes anti-monopoly policy for RP ICT industry

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva, INQ7.net
THE NATIONAL Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has finally drafted a long overdue proposed competition policy on the convergence of telecommunications with information and communications technology.
Posting the 32-page consultative document in the agency's website (www.ntc.gov.ph), the proposed policy aims to set regulatory policies for the evolving Philippine telecommunications industry.
The lengthy "consultative" document said that the NTC is now taking a more pro-active stance as it attempts to propose four major policies promoting more competition while keeping incumbent players happy.
Apart from outdated regulations, the NTC document noted that recent technological innovations, such as voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), have prompted it to revisit its own policies to suit the changing telecom industry.
The NTC also said that the current regulatory environment is giving unfair advantage to dominant players who have engaged in "unchecked behaviors" like predatory pricing, vertical price squeezes, and other unfair market practices that have killed or silenced competitors.
The NTC however poses questions to explain its proposed policies on competition. The agency asked, for instance, whether or not it should encourage more competition or strike a balance of power in an industry that has become cutthroat.
One interesting policy posed by NTC is the unbundling of the so-called last mile or "network elements." This proposal was first made in 2000, the agency noted.
As telephone companies have engaged in the same business as Internet service providers, dominant carriers now have control over the last mile and have in most instances favored affiliates over independent Internet service providers, the NTC said.
Unbundling or opening access to carrier networks is relevant at this time with the emergence of VoIP now allowing value added service (VAS) providers to offer voice services, the NTC document said.
"Without an unbundling mandate that would open access to VAS providers to carrier networks, there is a risk that the VoIP rules [of the NTC] will only be rendered inutile," it said.
The agency however acknowledged that the move to "un-bundle" the carrier's network would inhibit development of the industry, which ironically depends now on large investments made by dominant players.
The NTC also proposed to impose stricter policies on dominant players versus non-dominant players. The agency said such a regulatory practice is now accepted in countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and European Union countries.
"The additional burdens imposed on dominant licensees [players] are designed not only to promote competitive safeguards to non-dominant licensees, but also to facilitate entry of new service providers," the NTC said.
It also proposed to allow "resale of services" in the Philippines, a practice in the United States. Resale of services will allow the entry of newer players that lack the capital to build their own networks. At this time, carriers themselves sell services to local clients at wholesale or discounted rates.
Finally, the NTC said that it intends to also enforce a different pricing regulation that would require dominant players to seek approval from it any discount or pricing promotion. Non-dominant players, on the other end, are only required to give the agency advance notice.
The proposed changes to NTC's policies are aimed at addressing its lack of resources to effectively act as a regulator of a changing industry. Past regulatory lapses in policy flaws have undermined its job as a regulatory body, the NTC said.
Win Subik

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Solon blames broadband technology for proliferation of porn

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva, INQ7.net

A lawmaker who was also former chief of the National Telecommunications Commission blamed the advent of "cheap, high-speed Internet access" for the proliferation of pornography and so-called "cybersex" activities.

While broadband Internet access has ushered in e-commerce, Catanduanes Representative Joseph Santiago said this innovation has also fostered pornography and felonious, organized cybersex operations.

Serving as vice chairman of the House committee on transportation and communications, Santiago cited recent studies showing that 25 percent of broadband users listed downloading pornography as a reason for upgrading from a simple dial-up Internet connection to broadband or digital subscriber line.

He said that about 19 percent of all Web traffic today and about 25 percent of all Web searches are pornography-related. These figures were based on traffic through the top five Internet search engines, including Google, Yahoo!, MSN, America Online and Ask Jeeves.

Early this year, Santiago said that over 200,000 Filipinos may have been lured by cybersex rings based on the registry of one popular Internet site peddling online sexual activities.

Operators of web-based pornography often lure men and women, and even children, to perform live sexual acts for a fee before cameras, which then stream images directly to the computers of paying Internet users.

The Philippines has about 11.8 million Internet users as of 2004, data from International Data Corp. (IDC). By 2007, the country's Internet users are expected double to 20 million

Monday, December 19, 2005

BSA sees decline in RP software piracy

A crackdown on software pirates and the government's public awareness campaign on software piracy has limited illegal use of computer software in the country to 71 percent, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) said Tuesday.

Tarun Sawney, BSA’s director of anti-piracy for Asia, said they expect the figure to go down further due to closer cooperation between the BSA and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

Sawney told IPO director general Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. that continuing raids of IP inter-agencies, such as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Optical Media Board (OMB), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are contributing to the decline of software piracy.

He said more than P19 million worth of software have been seized since the crackdown of the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy team started in September.

The BSA , meanwhile, urged the IPO and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to monitor the use of pirated software among call centers and other industry associations. -- ABS CBN NEWS