Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Wagging Singapore's Long Tail

I've mentioned before that Singapore seems to struggle with Long Tail effects. Singapore's international reputation is of modernity, technology and Internet savvy; odd then that online purchasing is still rare here. PayPal-style electronic money seems even rarer with deals either occurring at bricks'n'mortar stores or cash at MRT stations. One eBay vendor that I looked at listed a shop in Sim Lim IT center as their physical store but if you check out the address, there is no sign board, no stock, just a crappy mobile phone accessories store. They'd likely done a deal to use the shop as a pick-up point. Bad idea as there were established shops selling the item for less just 2 floors down.

One slight exception is craigslist which seems to tick over at low revs and is a popular spot for expat garage sales. Now with RSS feeds on each section, you can subscribe directly to that sub-topic. If/when I buy a house, this is how I will furnish it.

I posted up an old RAM stick on craigslist the other week; it hasn't sold but I was mightily amused by the one reply I did get. Bear in mind it's worth about £8, best offer secures:

Hello seller,
My name is Engr.frank Smith,From New York, And i have come across your item on viva street and i am willing to pay you $ 700.00USD for the item including the shipping to west africa cos am buying it for my younger brother that lives in west africa and i will be making your payment via BANK TO BANK TRANSFER OR PAYPAL ACCOUNT PAYMENT and i want you to give me your full detail for the payment information like this:


Pls reply me back immediately so that i can continue with your payment right away.
Nice doing business with you
Engr.frank smith.

It's laughably bad even after years of Nigerian advance fee frauds but I wonder if this kind of extravagant offer works better here? Hard to say as greed is a universal weakness.