Had a bit of a surprise email in my mailbox this morning regarding the way TropicalPenpals.com is compared to other sites. Surprise wasn’t that TP is different but its nice to get some positive feedback, do get a bit of negative from time to time but most of that is just insults that lack any content or reason maybe the Tanduay talking who knows and even more important who cares.. But the positive stuff is important as well as constructive criticism e.g. people complaining the website is too slow which is why it will move on its renewal date to somewhere with a better connection. But generally on the blog side there is little criticism, less than expected to be honest. The email though today came from a fellow Scot who brought up a few good points.
If i had taken most of the advice given to me by foreigners or from websites (livinginthephilippines.com) im sure i would be working abroad and only visiting when i could.
The thing about other sites such as the one above is that there is a lot of negative guys running or directly involved in the site. They are either touting their sales on what to buy, where to build or 101 other things they directly make money from. Now recently you have probably noticed sales items appear on TP but they are not feeding on the fact people thirst for reliable knowledge. Things like the T-shirts etc. are sales items, property rentals is because people keep asking and I will advertise things I find useful but more often than not I make nothing on them at all. Such as the events that appear every week they are “Free” TP takes no revenue from the adverts its done so people know what is going on. The real estate side is a new venture and will become commercial over time but you won’t find it splattered all over TP and more than likely you will find the sales/buying prices are cheaper than everyone else as we aren’t adding huge commissions or hidden prices (e.g. adding an extra P1m to a sales price which some realtors do in Cebu). It will actually be based round good service and fair pricing. It will be pitched as a business as people should be able to get a fair deal but at the same time I don’t want people assuming I am trying to abuse peoples trust which is why terms and conditions will be very openly available. I want to remove the “Kano” price or “OFW” price and replace it with the real “local” price not only on real estate but will be looking to build up a comparison list.
What is a comparison list? Well basically it will need YOU to help fill it in as I want to put a Google map live with the information that Expats are either paying rent for or the buying/sales price of houses including number of bedrooms,bathrooms,sub-division/local position. So that people arriving can actually get a real picture of the cost of rentals and how much is too much for a house/land. If you look at Minglanilla for example land less than 1/4mile from me is worth around P2,000 but currently online for P5,000 by realtors. Poor location, overpriced and no doubt the realtor is skimming off the top as well as taking 5%
Anyway getting back to the point of this article the email hit a bit of a raw nerve for some of the other sites/forums as the information they have is out of date or setup in a way that they are pitching sales. Now you may think what is wrong with making sales? well a lot of it down to the way they do it. They will stop other people who do similar things from advertising or getting involved in the topics by banning, bullying etc. Livinginthephilippines.com is a prime example when I got in a discussion over pigs with someone that resulted in aggressive emails from some old guy in Canada who “knew better” yet when I explained the facts he went quiet but obviously if I put it online it would be deleted same reason I got the email privately and to try and shut me up.. It was followed by an email from another expat mind who had seen what I posted about the pig business here and said about the expat who send me the aggressive email saying he was surprised they had let the topic post stay up and that it hadn’t had some crappy reply, to which I just sent over the email. Expat’s here a while generally leave the forums and other sites you will see most of them browse the net but a lot of the negative stuff created by these people that sell on living like a king in the Philippines forget to add that they make their money from “YOU”. The people doing real business here have either moved away from forums/sites and got on with their lives doing stuff themselves or have listened to a lot of others who sold them duff information.
Don’t get me wrong there are a few good people out there but that’s the point its “few” and generally they are the quiet as arguing with other expats is counterproductive and there is no benefit to it.
Just came across your website and its good to see that somebody younger has set up a website, rather than the usual OAP!
This is a very good point as well as OAP (Old Age Pensioner) are generally running most of the bigger Philippines sites and its the age which has given them a head start on TP and the other sites that have developed in the last few years. Age on the internet counts not themselves but their website ages. TP and no doubt others will catch up and probably push well past in the future but it all takes time. We have been aggressive here in improving our rankings not for profit just the fact I hate people being lied to, exploited or abused to the benefit of others. One thing the other sites should learn though is being full of information is fine but more importantly is remembering to admit when you are wrong and putting it out there as well. I am not 100% all the time and I will write up things I got wrong or that have changed e.g. the net-cafe articles you will see snippets being added over the next few months as I have changed its original setup because the market was all wrong.. but that was my own fault for listening to an Expat “expert” who too late in the game I realised didn’t know anything about what he was saying. Luckily hasn’t lost me money as the machines are still all working and the prices have already bottomed out so no loss just need to change our setup to accommodate the different clients.