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Register. Or, else!

Reading Steve Outing's February 20 post in E-Media Tidbits poynter was like music to my ears, if you'll pardon the mixed-up simile, writes Deepak Mankar.

business Updated: Feb 25, 2006 18:37 IST

Imagine this, boys and girls. I'm sitting in the front row of the Scout Pavilion auditorium on a Saturday morning. The stage is set for a Pathare Prabhu wedding under the watchful gaze of Sir Robert Baden-Powell, aka the 'Chief Scout of the World', and his sister, Agnes. (The Pathare or Pratihara Prabhus, in case you didn't know, are said to be the progeny of Rajput and Koli or fisher folk confluence. They came to Mumbai probably circa the 12th or 13th century and did their bit for the city. They built the Mahalaxmi Temple, for instancewikipedia). The groom is a Brahmin, though. This marriage is made in the heaven called the US of A. Only the nuptials are held in India. The rituals on the stage absorb me no end. Equally fascinating is the spectacle of the men folk from the bride's side dressed like their ancestors in silken achkans and gold-bordered dhotis toting red pagdis (turbans) from Pune and cell phones and video cams from god knows where. But soon my attention wanders as a parallel play debuts without warning around me. Characters from my past hail me and start reminiscing animatedly. Some of them I recognize. Some I don't. Not my intention to hurt anyone, mind you. It's just my selective memory's mischief. One cousin asks me if I remember her. A bit, I say. She questions the 'bit' bit. I smile and change the subject. Thank my lucky stars she doesn't insist on knowing my remembered 'bit'. My vivid memory of her is overhearing her gossip session with her elder sister and a cousin. They were drooling over Raj Kapoor and lamenting Nargis's "good fortune", by the way. PS: I found a lot of interesting stuff about the Pathare Prabhus whose number is now said to have been whittled down to 15000 or thereabouts. To know a bit about the marriage ('lagna') rituals, do visit pathareprabhu.

Haves and have-nots. In the blogosphere.

Steve Outing in his February 14 postpoynterwrites about a New York magazine storynymagabout the 'haves and have-nots' of the blogging world - "those at the top getting rich, and those part of the 'long tail' who earn little or for whom blogging is more hobby than career. He seems to be particularly impressed by a chart in a sidebar called 'Linkology', a list of "the 50 most-popular blogs worldwide based on which get the most links from other websites". The break-up of the Linkology 50 reads like this: Politics (14); Technology (10); Popular culture (8); Japanese blogs (7); Chinese blogs (5); Personal/family (3); Humor (1); Trade/business (1); and Arabic blogs (1). Steve's concluding comment is noteworthy: "In terms of the larger picture for blogging, it's encouraging to see that technology is no longer the dominant theme overall. That's an indicator that blogs continue to move quickly toward becoming mainstream. Some of the blogs in the top-50 list have readership levels that rival traditional big media."

Just for the heck of it! Surfing as fun and games.

Here's what a new Pew Internet and American Life Project study, a random telephone-based survey of 1,931 adult US Internet users (29 November to 31 December), says about the Internet: "…it is becoming a full-blown destination in itself," as Deb Fallows, the Pew senior research fellow who led the study, put it. "The 30 per cent of Internet users who went online for fun" did so probably "… just to see what is going on." [The report in pdf is here: pewinternet.] To skeptics, this may seem like a twin of mindless idiot-box surfing. To Fallows, though, the Internet is different: "It's not a passive activity that you're just sucking yourself into. You are navigating yourself around, you are discovering things, learning things."canada

Register. Or, else!

Reading Steve Outing's February 20post in E-Media Tidbitspoynterwas like music to my ears, if you'll pardon the mixed-up simile. I'm always irritated when a website offers a part of the content as bait and then asks me to register before reading the rest. Here's how Steve sums up what ought to be the 'proper' course to follow: "I'd always thought that it was smart to let people view an article when they clicked through to it via a link from a search engine or blog, then require registration when they went to explore the rest of your site. Realizing my own behavior, I now think perhaps that's not the wisest strategy. Ergo, I once again urge publishers to start deploying voluntary registration with incentives."

Free with ads. Better than $1.99 a download.

Online videos with ads rather than with a $1.99 price tag are likely to have a better success rate, says a new report from Points North Group based on a telephone survey of 800 respondents in November 2005. Users would rather watch ads than fork out money. "You'll see a phase now where media companies and Internet providers will offer the $1.99 shows, and they'll probably do pretty well at first," Points North Group analyst, Craig Leddy, told ClickZ News. "When that starts to taper off, you'll see more experimentation with subscriptions, advertising and other types of content packaging." Also: "This is really good news for media companies and advertisers because it further demonstrates that advertising has a place in the on-demand environment."clickz

Talk back. Let consumers critique ads online.

In another thought provoking post ('Comments on Ads: A Radically Good Idea')poynterdated 15 February, Steve Outing draws our attention tomunciefreepress.At Muncie Free Press, a citizen-journalism website, 'advertorials' are run along with banner ads - "basically, a story page labeled as an ad where customers or potential customers can comment." To see what it means, go here: munciefreepress. Outing suggests that there should be safeguards and rules of behaviour in order to prevent rivals trashing an advertiser's reputation.

For me, 'e-mail' is 'e-mail', never 'email' and 'Internet' is 'Internet, never 'internet'. But is 'blog' a 'weblog' or 'web blog'? Rich Gordon in his 13 February post poynter points us to a story in the Chicago Tribunechicagotribune referring to a county coroner's site as a "Web blog". Check it out.

That's all for now though there's plenty more out there. Join me again next week, same place.

Copyright (c) 2001- 2006 by Deepak Mankar. All rights reserved. Deepak Mankar, an advertising practitioner on the creative side since 1965, is also intensely passionate about the web and web content creation. Read his online articles at asiaondemand.com. Website: http://www.addgandhi.com/original/. You may e-mail him at dmankar@bom8.vsnl.net.in.

First Published: Feb 18, 2006 09:00 IST