Monday, October 10, 2005

Blogs, traffic and the rest.

You know whats funny - this search on Technorati which kinda surprised me with a rather low number and then I remembered that Technorati is taking way too long to update records nowadays - so I used Google Blog Search to find out what the others are saying about the institute that shall not be named (not for any legal reasons but because I don't want to add to their repute - so instead of Eye Eye Pee Yem lets call TITSNBN cutting out NBN we get TITS - so from now on we'll call 'em TITS - no then again that will be doing disservice to that part of the anatomy, so lets see EEPY for Eye Eye Pee Yem - see its sounds a lot more palatable already). Of course, certain search words lead us to very interesting results - This Google search when you add 'fraud' to their name. Because a search for just their name will not lead us to the more investigative sites until the second page, but page 3 has the nicer ones (cross-linking between your sites to go Google Page-rank, anyone know someone at Google)
Anyway - the Google Blog search thread was actually the most interesting - I know the guiys at DesiPundit have updated their records on the matter to the best of their ability, but by god the number of people getting involved must be making this into a PR disaster for the Ponytail, because little dark secrets of his institute are all now coming out slowly, and like it or not there are enough journalists who are Bloggers, so I hope one of them has the guts to pick this thread up and expose the Ponytail, because knowing the Ponytail he might start spreading little stories of how bloggers are big idiots and know nothing.
So far, none of the blogs have said anything particularly defamatory - unlike some of the comments left by the Ponytial's acolytes. But if this matter keeps spinning the way it has I will be surprised if nothing does get said, because some people are getting rather edgy. Guys if you read this, keep your cool (I am the worse person to dispense this advice given that I have written some rather ugly emails to former girlfriends and all, but it would be well heeded).
However, I must admit that this is by far and away the biggest thing to happen to the Indian blogosphere ever - and I have been amazed at the number of Indian bloggers around. I know that Blogging in India is still a rather upper-middle class thing, persued by what - around 2500-3000 people on a fairly regular basis - of which around 1500 or so are listed on Indibloggers. And most Indian bloggers are rather well-educated left-of-centre 20-30 year olds (A small request to Vulturo, why don't you guys conduct some sort of survey on Desi Bloggers, so I can stop making such generalisations? And I will change the look and feel over the next weekend - any tips on where to get a nice, clean non-blogger template). Anyway, that hardly fits into my capitalist economics and right-of-centre political views, but I guess I have my readers - who put with the 1000-odd words that I (and sometimes the Snake) churn out every week. But somehow, I end up agreeing with Vijay Krishna when he says that the Ponytail has done Indian Blogdom a huge service. Ironic, ain't it!
Hey, Snake, why don't you chip in on this, you can get some killer dirt on the ponytail knowing your connections, and methinks that the mainstream media will have to write about this. Some phone calls have to be made, but we can forget the Times writing about this - because the last time they took a stand they lost a Rs 60-70 crore account (the Tata's), I don't think they want to lose this Rs 30 crore one as well. But, I do know for better or for worse, ToI (maybe HT) should write about this.
Anyway, I should be getting home now. I guess the trains should be empty.


Kaps said...

just noticed that IIPM is No. 5 in technorati search

Anonymous said...

Big waste of time, my dear K, to go on an on about IIPM. There are scores of such institutes. Case out the Manipal region and other engineering colleges in nooks and crannies. Remember, with millions of young people spewing out of schools, such institutes will mushroom.
Instead, go get guys to tie up their tubes so that a supply side check is in place!

Patrix said...

IIPM is up to #2 now on Technorati. Ouch!

shyam said...

Repeat after me: Run with the shady crowd and before soon you'll turn into one too. This is not doing the Indian blogosphere any good, in fact it is making it look like a huge wannabe clone of the western ones who are forever looking for the next big witch hunt and giving free PR to the PTM, who'll end up saying that people are so envious of the institute that they are now resorting to slander. The posse of gung-ho bloggers running around looking for their next fix is one of the greatest things that ail blogging these days after spam blogs.

In my opinion Gaurav should not have quit, there will always be people around who don't like what you say and if your line manager's said all is well, that should have been the end of the matter. The stupid goons from the institute should have been allowed to burning the their lappys (which, I don't think they'd have done anyway), a fat lot of good that would have done to their reputation as a 'world class' institution.

Incidentally, nobody's talking about the legal proceedings, if the case would stand any merit in court and how the existing cyber law and the defamation crap can be applied. JAM's story, as far as I can see, is completely above the board, if PTM would drag them into court, it would not survive even a single hearing.

Gaurav has a bit of a problem though, since he does mention stuff that is based on hearsay and saying things like "IIPM is a more serious matter because it actually screws around with people's lives and careers" without attribution, cites or elaboration means that it pretty much fits in with the definition of slander, whether you like it or not. If you really want to touch touchy stuff and get away with it as a blogger (at least to a certain degree) stay anonymous, because the existing laws are quite hazy and blogging being 'the next big thing' does not exclude it from the same laws.

The more traction blogging will get as an activity, the more it will be prone to stuff like this. If you can't live with it, then you have no business doing it in the first place.

I'd be really surprised if big media writes about this at all. This is still a tiny storm in an even tinier Indian blogging tea cup. Even the animosity the IIM grads at the Times Insight Group might have towards the PTM might not help a story being cleared by the higher mortals. The rest of them won't even understand what the fuss is all about. Remember Sun merging with Google?

thalassa_mikra said...

Codey, I disagree with you. No one is looking for a witch hunt here. But intimidating someone for what he publishes in his blog (legal recourse is absolutely fine) is unacceptable and I think the bloggers are doing the right thing to protest the matter. How is that wannabe?

And I don't agree that all publicity is good publicity. In fact, if that were so, the legal notices wouldn't have materialized in the first place.

And honestly, I think you are being patronising in assuming that all those who wrote posts criticising IIPM are "gung ho bloggers looking for their next fix". Most of us are not baiting for controversy, and write regular blogs, but do take the occasional stand when necessary.

Suhail said...

TOI? Huh! You don't know the Mediaah! issue( or what? where they sent legal notice to Pradyuman. In that case, the writer as well as many of his readers too were from the press, yet not a single MSM journo carried it. I doubt if anyone will pick up this one.

Suhail said...

oops!..sorry abt mediaah comment. Scrolled down after commenting..and there I see.

shyam said...

Like I said before, if you touch slime, expect to be smeared by it. Did you seriously think people who run such dicey propositions will sit and take it easy when you call them out? They won't play nice. Either you accept it as a hazard in writing about them and deal with it than to scream "they pinched me" when they react, which means you don't take it too seriously in the first place.

If you really want to think that blogs are going to be a part of the main information cycle (maybe as a replacement or as an add on to the mainstream), then you have to accept that it also exposes them to the same rules and problems that the mainstream has to deal with too. Reporters being threatened and beaten up is nothing new, it is a job hazard. Happens all the time, they know it too.

Why do I call them wannabe?

Because of passages like these: The Blogosphere wakes up, takes up the issue. Bewarned folks. You don’t get away easily when you resort to cheap and foolhardy tricks.

This is the tone I've seen countless times before at Powerline, LGF, DailyKos and MoveOn.

I could probably find more instances of self-flagellation, like it happened during the time of the Mediaah closure. Does anyone remember what's come of it? Has your world changed after that? Even the great slimes of India stunt has done little than to make a handful of Indian bloggers happy that they've done something. And speaking of taking actual stands and media criticism, how come Sevanti is always asking for help/funding for The Hoot, which does a actual media criticism and commentary than run around posting salacious gossip. Do any of the lot whose hearts bleed for freedom of speech/expression contribute much to it?

And really, if you are serious about taking a stand, why don't you take a look at the legal merit of the notice. If it is indeed rubbish, take it court and get it thrown out than sit atop an emotional wave. What better deal could the bloggers get than to make the PTM look real stupid?

I agree that all publicity is not good, but there is an entire industry that thrives on turning it around. Legal notices are like dust in Gurgaon, there is just way too much of it and most of it ends up in the dust bin. Mostly, it is just a low cost weapon to get stuff done without too much effort. Ask any of the legal departments of media houses, you'd see a long line of them which they get practically every day. Nothing new there.

About the gung ho bit, refer to the point about The Hoot again.

thalassa_mikra said...

Just because reporters get threatened and beaten up all the time does not make it OK. It's not acceptable occupational hazard.

And why should my belief in freedom of expression compel me to donate to Sevanti's website? I think that argument is absurd.

As for the so called legal notice, how and under what circumstances can it be "taken to court"?

Codey, I'm as cynical as the next person, but you seem to be charging at the windmills here.

shyam said...

Well, there should ideally not be accidents on the road, crime and so on, but they do happen, does that mean you stop living? You do not. When you poke powerful/rich/nasty people where it hurts, it brings about reactions too. I did not say it was okay or acceptable, but very much the truth. Like it or not, it will keep happening.

The Hoot comment was aimed at the gung ho blogger bit you'd asked me about. Just a pointer to how cases where glamourless causes don't get much help or attention. Right now it is "blogger loses job due to blogging" all over the place and this feeling of ganging up to set things right.

About the legal notice, don't take your content down, don't apologise, PTM's lads would probably (if they are serious) then take the case to court citing their woes, fight on from there. Right now it is still in the "hey, I did not like what you wrote, take it down or I'll sue you" territory.

I'm just a realist after having been in places good, bad and ugly. Things are not quite what you assume to be once you see them from the inside.

Windmills are really nice exciting things to charge at, sometimes you get hooked on to the sails and that changes your perspective :)

K said...

Well, lets make matters fun now. I'm writing about this for the publication I work for. And unlike the blog I will try and be a bit better balanced.

Anonymous said...

hope so k hope so; coz i am of course forwarding ur comments to my friends so they know what will be your drift.

anyway, which publication do you work for? you've talked about b-school survey and about how ur b-school survey seems to be the perfect survey in this world (tch tch k). wow! must be the perfect publication...

tk cr k, tk cr...

K said...

What is this another threat?

Anonymous said...

Excellent, love it!
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