Rajesh Barnwal

Editor - AlooTechie

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My New Home - RajeshBarnwal.net

This blog has moved to RajeshBarnwal.net.
See you there…
Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tehelka special issue on Youth and the Internet is out

In a special issue on Youth and the Internet, the weekly news magazine Tehelka has talked about the new-new thing of Podcasting and if the Web 2.0 would kill the internet stars. An excerpt:

Will 2.0 Kill Internet Stars?

“If paid classified sites just provide what free online communities have been offering to their users, they won’t have an edge,” says Rajesh Barnwal, editor of the internet business blogsite alootechie.com. “But if it knows how to differentiate its services and provide values not available elsewhere, then it will. For instance, I’d prefer to buy an iPod on eBay, rather than from an Orkut user. I have no way to verify the credibility of the latter.”


Rajesh Barnwal, editor of alootechie.com points to the ability of podcasts to bring intimacy to news in a way that text cannot. “Imagine if someone who managed to get into the Bachchan wedding podcast a detailed account of the event! No article would be half as interesting as the voice of an excited eyewitness.”

Barnwal is cheerfully pessimistic about podcasting catching on in India due, he says, to its non-visual nature. Barnwal says, however, “I don’t see people with our limited access to the Internet giving 100 percent attention to something they listen to. The only thing people listen to is music. Do you really think people will want to listen to long, serious interviews?”

Source: Tehelka (May 5, 2007)

Interview with Rajesh Barnwal - AlooTechie.com

First the basics: Ask Pankaj & Arnab is a blog site run by two promising entrepreneurs who advise netizens on how to make money online. I get to read about the Gyan through their emailer…

Recently, Arnab sent me an email asking me if I would be interested in being interviewed for their site. And I thought why not. But then I got busy in my routine stuff and could not respond to the questionnaire sent my Arnab to me. But Arnab was not the guy to sit and wait for the hen to hatch… Suffice it to say that if ever I have to learn how to be persistent in achieving something, Arnab would be the guy I would look upto!

Interview with Rajesh Barnwal - AlooTechie.com
By Arnab on April 19, 2007

Could you start by telling us your Name, Primary Website(s), Age, Sex, Address, EMail Id.

Rajesh Barnwal, AlooTechie.com, 33, M, Delhi, rajesh[AT]alootechie[DOT]com

Please give us some information about your Qualification & Experience Background.

PG Diploma in Journalism from Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi
Former Group Head, Content, Webchutney

In your own words, what is your Primary Business?

AlooTechie is my business, passion, hobby, whatever! Right now, we are not concerned about the Revenue Model. That will come later. Our immediate focus is how best to keep the Indian online industry people updated about whatever happening in the country’s internet space. We believe that if we do it right AlooTechie will have enough readers to make it a successful business. Remember that advertisers/marketers follow the media be it TV, print or website where people are. So if you want to attract advertisers’ money, focus on attracting and retaining more and more users to your venture. And if you do it well, money shouldn’t be a problem!

If you can share with us, how much do you earn from Online Marketing Activities, and how long did it take you to get here. Please also mention, how much time you spend in a day on an average on these activities.

We are earning goodwill of the AlooTechie readers, whose number is growing day by day. And this continuous growth in our reader-base and their overwhelming appreciation are what we value most… A year ago, when I used to introduce myself as the editor of AlooTechie people would invariably ask “What is AlooTechie?” But one year down the line, their first question usually is “What is your Revenue Model?” AlooTechie.com was launched in September 2005. To say that I work 24 hours a day, seven days a week on AlooTechie will not be fair either to me or my passion (AlooTechie), for I do spend some time with my wife, Sulekha J

How did you get the idea of starting on this path?

While working at Webchutney I realized that there was no single news-source offline or online which would focus just on the happenings in the Indian online industry. Of course, there were enough websites providing news and views about what’s happening in US, UK or Australia, but India, it seemed no one was interested. So I decided to fill this gap in my little small way. And soon people started appreciating my efforts and the rest is…

What obstacles did you face initially, and how were you able to counter them?

The major challenge, I won’t call it obstacle, was how to present AlooTechie as a serious news source and not as a just another web-presence. For that I decided to be as objective in my news coverage as possible. I have received feedback that I don’t talk about my personal views on the site. But that’s a deliberate decision. And I don’t see it changing in the immediate future at least till I gain enough understanding of the industry to provide valuable inputs from my side. Here I have no qualm in saying that AlooTechie is more a news site than a blog!

What are some common mistakes people make in Internet Marketing?

Giving a damn to user-experience! I will point out just a single online practice that I noticed recently to drive my point. And that is refreshing a web page automatically when a user is mid-way reading its content! This is done to display more banner ads and also to artificially increase page-views so as to impress silly marketers who still talk about page-views!

What aggravates you most about this industry?

The absence of a third party audit to help online marketers know the exact number of users that a website has! Right now, a website can claim that it has 1 million registered users and 100 million page views a month! And marketers are clueless how to verify the veracity of the claim. I wish the stake holders would come together and do something to have our own version of TRPs (TV Rating Points) that enable traditional marketers in deciding how best to spend their money on TV.

Anything else you would like to add…

AlooTechie has just launched a Job Board to cater to the Indian online industry. We have been receiving feedback that as the internet industry is growing it’s becoming more and more difficult to hire senior level professionals. And that posting vacancies on general job-boards often attract people who have little domain knowledge or experience of the internet space. It was felt that since AlooTechie is read mostly by people working in the online industry jobs posted here might be able to yield better results! Now that we have acted on the valuable feedback, let’s see how well AlooTechie Job Board helps online companies to find the right people who could take the industry forward!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Timeband is a very poor model for Internet: Sidharth Rao

In an interview with exchange4media, Sidharth Rao, CEO and co-founder of Webchutney, has talked about the interactive medium, his company and himself. According to Rao, the online media buying business is a Rs 300-crore market. “Add to it the ad sales and marketing of Rs 150 crore. So, we are talking about a Rs 450-crore annual billing. At present, it is so fragmented that no one controls more than 8-9 per cent of it.” An excerpt:

exchange4media: What changes do you want to happen when it comes to video streaming of advertisements?

Sidharth Rao: I guess some of the agencies need to handhold a couple of marketers or couple of clients need to make a compelling case working with the right agencies and get the content of the video stream right to be able to excite others… Companies come and tell agencies to put their ad on YouTube. But it does not work that way. One needs to understand the YouTube audience and try and do something that will excite them to forward it to others.

exchange4media: But there is a section of online publishers who think that online ads should not be sold on the clickthrough basis rather on a timeband basis, like on television. In fact, that is the idea behind Desktop TV. Do you think marketers will really buy into this idea?

Sidharth Rao: I am a complete disbeliever in this model. I don’t think it works that way, neither do I think it should be looked at that way. It is an intelligent idea of making it very simple for marketers because they are habituated with the concept of timeband and primetime, etc. but it completely destroys the fact that the Internet is the most measurable medium. At the end of the day, Internet is the only medium that lets you pay for view. The classic model is CPM, there could not be a better model for the Internet than that. Timeband is a very poor model for the Internet.

Read the full interview here

PS: Sidharth has been a friend, philosopher and guide for me.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Can video games help US better compete with India?

A US university professor is urging schools to consider using video games as tools to better prepare children for the work force.

University of Wisconsin-Madison professor David Williamson Shaffer believes the use of video games to teach children might help US churn out scientists and engineers at a rate more comparable to China and India.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Barkha Dutt Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai?

“Personally, the onslaught of new media makes me shudder more than just a little bit. We have already seen (Don’t trust the Indian Media!) some media blog writers in India crouch like cowards behind fictional names and identities, just so that they are able to lash out at people who they wouldn’t have the guts to criticise to their face. On many of these sites, salacious gossip and sexual innuendo have been dressed up as journalism. The personal lives, real and imagined, of colleagues are now being dragged on to the comments section of these sites. And the worst part — it’s all being defended in the lofty name of free speech.” -- Barkha Dutt, managing editor, NDTV 24x7, writes in Hindustan Times.

Number of Internet Users in China grew by 30% in 2006

The total number of people using the internet in China has risen to 132 million, while the number of people accessing the web on high-speed broadband connections has increased to 52 million.

China has the second-largest population of net users in the world after the US, which has 207 million citizens online. According to Guardian Unlimited, China’s internet population increased by almost one-third during 2006.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

NGO Helps People to Donate Old Clothes to the Needy

Delhi-based non-governmental organisation Goonj is running a movement called Vastradaan to solve a basic problem of clothing of a large section of the society.

“We all know that there is a large population, which has enough material (old clothes) to give, and we've a much larger population who needs this desperately…The problem is that many of us either don't know who to give to or tend to wait for disaster to donate,” Anshu K Gupta, founder and director of Goonj, has said.

While talking about Vastradaan, Gupta says, “The concept is very simple. You give us clothes and we will match it to the needs of people from urban India to Rural areas and Slums.” (Link: IndianNGOs)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I am willing to fight for the rights of all bloggers: Perez Hilton

X17 Inc, a paparazzi photo agency, has filed a $7.6-million federal copyright infringement lawsuit in US against the gossip blogger Perez Hilton, alleging that he has used 51 photos without permission, payment or credit. Brandy Navarre, who co-owns X17 with her husband, Francois Navarre, says she is tired of constantly reminding Hilton to credit X17 and has finally given up.

Hilton's attorney, Bryan Freedman of Century City, believes what Hilton does is not copyright infringement but a fair use of newsworthy images. It's one thing to take somebody's copyrighted work and turn around and sell it but to alter the work to achieve a satiric or humorous end is entirely different and is allowed under the law, Freedman claims.

Clearly, photographs are copyrighted and afforded protection; on the other hand, wide berth is given to the press to report on newsworthy events, says Century City copyright attorney David Nimmer. In this context, a photograph could be considered a newsworthy event, Nimmer adds.

But X17's attorney, John Tehranian, doesn't see it as fair use at all. Hilton, he says, “is basically free-riding on the labor and efforts of X17 and its photographers who stay up all night and roam the city, and he simply right-clicks and posts their photos.”

Perez Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, says, "My position is that I don't think what I am doing is illegal, and I am going to vigorously defend myself. I am willing to step up to the plate and fight for my rights and fight for the rights of all bloggers."

“Perez is not being targeted because he's an affront to paparazzi everywhere,” says technology expert Matt Lum, whose company, Hoodlum Productions, provides technology expertise to both Hilton and X17. “He is being targeted because the entire industry is undergoing a shift that was arguably brought on by blogs like perezhilton.com, which took stargazers from a weekly or nightly television fix to an hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute, entertain-yourself-at-the-workplace enterprise.”

“The way that Americans get their news and entertainment these days is a whole lot different from waiting for things to get printed, and that's what's at the crux of this whole ordeal,” Lum adds. “When he says he is fighting for all bloggers, he really is.

Hilton, who says he earned less than $50,000 last year and expects to make in the six figures this year, is known for the dizzying pace at which he updates his site, sometimes posting two dozen or more times a day.

Source: Los Angeles Times via Perez Hilton

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jessica Simpson plans to launch Website to promote her Breasts

Singer–actress Jessica Simpson plans to unveil an in-depth, educational website that provides visitors with a detailed, virtual journey in, through, and around her breasts. This will be part of an ambitious, multimillion-dollar campaign which she has launched to promote awareness of her breasts.

According to Simpson, breasts are the leading cause of film careers among women ages 18 to 35. However, if agents and producers fail to screen them early and often, the resulting lack of public awareness could lead to a rapid deterioration of sexy roles and, eventually, a premature end to one's career.

"I just want to do my part to ensure that my breasts aren't ignored," Simpson has been quoted by Onion as saying. (And with this blog posting I am doing my part that her best assets err breasts are not ignored!)

Wish I could cover unveil this story on AlooTechie.com :-(