Posted by: Shalabh | November 15, 2008

Who moved my blog?

I did!
It’s a pity because I started to love the look and feel of this blog, and many readers were just about getting comfortable with it.

Shalabh Pandey on Asian Trends

Chasing The Storm

But trust me- The new blog is better, more feature rich and more ‘social media’ friendly- with more opportunities to comment, vote, forward and communicate. Why, you can even print posts (a long standing problem that readers of my long posts wanted) and read them on your way to the office (when you have understandably nothing to do. PS: Try only on public transport- not while driving:p )

You can also check out some books if you are inspired to do some more meaningful reading than the blog posts. And there will be a few more sections that I’ll be adding with time.

I published my first blog in 2002 (of course lasted one or two posts) and since then have sporadically contributed. Another habit of mine is to focus one blog on one topic. Since last year  I have been focusing on this blog of mine and it just started to get the link love from Google and many other like minded good people started linking to it. It’s a hard moving on, but the charm of a hosted domain that signifies your attitude rather than just your name- and the added flexibility that comes with it was worth the trouble.

If you liked the stuff here, rest assured, you’ll love it there. the storm with me-> here

Posted by: Shalabh | November 3, 2008

Podcamp Singapore 2008

Two events in two days and both pretty good.
Podcamp Singapore held at SMU was an eye opener for me- in more ways than one- highlighted below. Met some great guys over the course of two days of mingling.

Events like these could be likened to small woodstocks- people don’t come here for the free food and beer- they come to be a part of it- as organizers. They collaborate and participate for the sheer passion and get thrills out of conversing and contributing. Of course there are a few that come because their profession demands it, or for some other motives-

but in Singapore if an audience turns up on a weekend with no free food and no celeb or no discounts, it can only be attributed to passion)

I attended a few sessions and though I believe that most conferences are not meant to be attended for content, rather for networking or feel good, this one was different. Podcamp 2008 was a very “on the ground” event- no jazz, no fancy speakers, less theories- just grassroots level bonding and exchange of ideas.

Reminded me of college fests (when I was in college- loooong time ago) where everyone was a part of the event, learnt and had fun alongside- just my type of stuff.

Probably the only thing I did not like was the fact that I wanted to be a part of all the discussions but since many were concurrent, had to miss a few. But guess the institute was not available for a longer time- and I understand funding is always a problem. (Hey- I found we have a great big meeting room in my condo in the east coast area- lemme know if some passionate peeps from the Singapore Marketing, media, social media, digital media, music, natural lifestyle- want to plan out something sometime)

So back to the discussion- I’m finding out if someone had the podcasts or vodcasts for the event- if you have a ready source- please let me know where to look. Meanwhile some photos from the session:

BubbleShare: Share photosCraft Ideas

Things that stood out:
1) The fact that there were young industry professionals- confident and passionate about their fields- to me some content was ‘been there done that’ (I am always modest sometimes), but it sure did look like it suited the audience and everyone enjoyed. Joshua Nair stood out as a young student from SMU (right?) who took a session on Virtual worlds. I had to rush back home in the middle of the session but Joshua- it was not because your presentation was boring or *technical*. I *Loved* whatever I was able to attend- please send a link for me to take a look at the complete stuff.
2) Jonathan raising a pertinent question during Brian Koh’s session “Bloggers are being paid by advertisers- doesn’t that make this media like any other media and bloggers- like journalists.”

No longer original- only paid for!

An example being- no one writes anything bad about an event that one is invited to, and blog reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Bloggers fear that they might not be invited to another event if they write negative remarks. Whereas in another scenario movie reviews are 50:50. So what in the name of holy jumping bananas is going on?

My 1 minute contribution to the discussion- we should not examine/scrutinize blogs in black and white- today, more often than not, conversation tracking by monitoring companies (!) happens in black and white- either through software or manually- offering limited dimension. Tracking should be done very objectively and with a lot of time, effort and expertise. More often than not, there will be grey elements in a post- some things are positive and yet others hinging on negative – some others are out-rightly bitchy. For the movie example, movies are extremely polarizing mediums- another example being political blogs- or certain software platforms- people become very passionate or take sides- and it is easier to filter the black and white.

3) Preetam Rai: Preetam – I told you to find a job like yours for me. Jus jokin- good presentation and great visuals- (aside-that reminds me- he also knows a secret place in Singapore selling some fishball type delicacy made out of saliva of some animal or bird- in case that interests you) This guy dates a Japanese girl and is armed with intellectual insights on getting a Jap girlfriend that he earned by apparently attending some seriosuly academic sessions on this topic. Just leg pulling- Preetam took us through some cool twitter-ers from across Asia- very useful for someone like me- who had managed the APAC region for a while and always had trouble finding on-ground insights that I am a fan of (more than the MNC research comapny reports)- that one session itself was worth coming over for me.

4) Coleman’s session: The topic was “Blogging, Podcasting, or Youtube? Choosing the right medium.” session was conducted in an interesting format- where he basically did not present anything but attempted a  collaborative discussion- we all pitched in- and carried it forward. This kind of a thing does require practice to make organized chaos bring out the best of the wisdom of crowds- otherwise loose threads hang. But 100 marks-for the sheer thought of an innovative format. This is what I mean by a college like grassroots festival. It would have been difficult to pull through in a setting where the confidence of knowing the audience was minimal.

The points I collaborated on:

(a) All of these mediums are right mediums- and for the first time, I argued that maybe the strength of the producer might be more important than the consumer. It depends on your strengths in utilizing a medium-which medium can you tell your story in the best possible manner. As an example-If your strength is writing, you could do blogs- which are more text and if you have great audio skills you might do a podcast.

I also felt there could be a fourth medium in the list- photos/images (photoblogging or pictorial social networks like say flickr/piccassa etc)

(b) Which medium can convey the message most effectively? Anubha felt things like Tsunami or China earthquake left more lasting impressions when the story was in pictures or videos, and Preetam felt that many complex things that required demonstrations (like a product feature or software UI) are also better suited for video.

(c) The third point I contributed was “content dissemination”: If a producer (say a company with multiple talent pools) had good talent in all the mediums and assuming different mediums could convey messages equally  well..then what? (say  JK Rowling with a Harry Potter book/audio book and movie). In that case, given the paucity of resources, he could choose which medium gave them the best chance to market or reach out to the widest possible target audience. Text for example works well on today’s internet because of search engines’ text focus, and limitations on other multimedia searches.

I felt that a right strategy will emerge if these three points were kept in mind:

  • Producer strength (takes care of even things like availability of resources/budget constraints/complexity of tools etc) in using a particular medium for storytelling
  • Medium-Message cohesiveness (Do a subjective analysis- a consensus will emerge for sure)
  • Content distribution expanse/competency

After all this theorizing, Preetam had the real insight and the most potent, simple truth of life- video works best with girls in skimpy attire. After this- I am ready for nirvana.

Posted by: Shalabh | November 2, 2008

A day at Digital Media Festival Singapore

The Digital Media Festival Singapore happened on 31st October 2008. The theme was Television 2.0 (I thought 2.0s were out!)- or broadly-Internet/web driven audio visual content. I am posting about it a day later- like to spend some time on my posts. I slog on my blog (Bad one!)

Since the event was topical to my blog, and from their website it looked like a professional and cool event, I sent them an email asking for an invite (frankly never actually expecting a reply). Guess what? Wonder of wonders- I did get an invite. Thanks to William Claxton (from Itr8 I  think) and the PR agency Text 100 (Thanks Su Min for the arrangements) . A bit late though, because by the time I got the confirmation. I had fixed another engagement. But since they took that effort, and the event was of interest, I did visit and attend for most part except morning sessions.

Overall the event was well organized (a little difficulty finding the location but eventually turned out a good place). The itinerary included conference, exhibitions (mobile content and game showcase) and fringe programmes- though the conference was the big draw for me. Missed the film festival though- but noticed they put up some previews online here. These are made for internet movies/documentaries.

Here are some candid moments from the event (taken from my Fuji Finepix). Please wait for a while to load (it’ll be worth it!) For the impatient- click here

BubbleShare: Share photosCraft Ideas

There were promotional stalls in the corridor (with not- so-very enthusiastic reps)- blackberry, zapcode (I blogged about this service in Jan 2007), IBM, siemens, ST electronics… et al are some that I remember. The babe at the Epsilon stall *sarcastically* enquired whether I blogged on technology. I had a good mind explaining- but then better sense prevailed- if it did not matter to her to explain the company’s offerings or demonstrate the product to a prospective customer- it does not matter to me either.

Yes dear- I am a blogging enthusiast and in my day jobs, have dealt with multi million dollar media budgets for some Fortune 500 companies. I also look for and blog on technology solutions that aid marketing. But sorry I don’t know what are Epsilon’s USPs and might settle for some other solution if the need comes. My bad luck.

Anyways back to the Digital Media Festival- and some things I liked and some that I felt could have been better.

Top things I liked about the event:

1.‘Different’ content- though some discussion topics were hinging on being dangerously hackneyed, most of the content was not very repetitive (as compared to some other events I’ve been to).One also got a perspective of producers/content creators, marketers and PR practitioners combined- which is different from the advertising centric conversations that end up happening at some of these gigs.

2.Networking: Met very different kind of professionals and domain experts. *Never* get that in most media/advertising conferences, I always get to meet pretty much the same people. Everyone is bloody trying to sell something- and in your face.

3.Mark Laudi- the host for the entire event- usually there are different ‘moderators’ for different panel discussions, but this event had the same host for the entire event- and I am not complaining- informed, witty, spontaneous, voice, stage presence- he had it all. (Mark is an award winning journalist and CEO of Hong Bao media) Actually just did a search for him and got this. No surprise then right? He is a professional.Either which ways.

4. Food! Holy jumping bananas. I got *fugging* veg bee hoon. And vegetables! (there was more though). I finally get to *eat* at a conference. I usually end up munching bread and butter, being a vegetarian (or embarrassingly request for some veggie food beforehand). Evening cocktail was nice as well. (hic!)

5. The last panel discussion (I am uploading an almost full version- almost 1 gig of data)- Web 2.0 and building Online communities. The individual presentations were also great, though the video does not feature them. Again taken from my Fuji FinePix. Notice there is minimal shaking though I was holding the camera in my hand the entire time.(just placement disorientation sometimes)

6. I met so bloody many of fellow bloggers and internet influencers from Singapore. I have many of them in my social network buddy lists, and follow blogs/tweets of many, but the opportunity to meet them and see them in action was awesome. Some of them are prolific bloggers and really take their stuff seriously.Some mentions:

  • Claudia was furiously blogging/reporting real time- super stuff.
  • Hu Shunjie: Flex developers group leader (right?) and was a panel member as well. He did some backstage interviews at the event which can be seen if you follow the link to his blog.
  • Preetam Rai: Preetam what you do is my dream job. Travel, eat, attend conferences (read parties), make friends, make merry- and teach. What the fug!
  • Jonathan Wong: He did not attend the event as a blogger, but he does blog, and going through it, he might as well have. He was a panelist and had the best babes in his presentation (anyone who followed the content please send me- though I doubt there will be many). As his introduction went- he was probably the only guy working with Microsoft who did not have a revenue target. Jonathan- you also do what Preetam does- but you probably get paid shitloads. I think my dream job just changed in one paragraph!
  • Derrick Kwa: Derrick you are one of the few spirited youths I have met. Lots to learn from you. Good work and keep it up.
  • Walter Lim: Walter- great to meet you in person. Missed your speech in podcamp though.
  • Pat: Loved your writing style and great to meet you. Very creative business card. BTW Your site says it is down now- and will be up again when you are feeling *fugged* (with the right spellings) again. Whew!
  • DK: Did not get to know you much. Should catch up sometime.

Many came armed- cool gears- not only digital (Macs, iphones galore- and mics, webcams abound) but analogue- really cool business cards. They have some really cool business cards and just *loved* Pat’s – which was quite original.Spent a lot of time with Shunjie and Preetam and rest of the gang. Derryl is an 18 year old blogger blogging about being remarkable- at his age, that’s exactly what makes him remarkable.

7. The Influencer engagement and use of social media: The organizers had live tweets tweetcasting stuff and of course had a facebook account et al. Bloggers were engaged and platforms provided for live blogging at the best positions. Though there was more scope of what I call GermFeed.

I also noticed PR agencies abound in this conference- and that was a change- maybe because most festivals/events that I am a part of, are either too big to notice all professionals (like Effies) or they are primarily advertising focused (umm Lions… Effies…Hall of fame…Media awards, you get the idea). You get basically *one* view of marketing communications, and since the era of Integrated communications/marketing is knocking hard on our work-desks, this was a good insight into the Public relations professionals.

Things I felt could be improved:

  1. The format- the panel discussions had 4-5 members each- and before the discussions they had a 5 minute slot to speak. That took like 25-30 minutes- including introduction. Now that left- like 2-3 discussion topics for the members- by the time the discussion heated up, it was time to wrap up. Would’ve preferred a more intro on-the-go followed by a hard-core debate. The guys were passionate about their companies or their vocation- either give them time to present or give them ample time to discuss.
  2. More participation from the audience. The usual speakers concern. Singaporeans are not a very vocal lot- and no not even the marketing folks it seems. Why- not even us bloggers (including myself)- we are not journalists to merely cover the event- we needed to participate virtually as well as on the ground. But then maybe again- because too little time to get into the heat of the debate.
  3. In the first case, the foreplay was too long- by the time the actual stuff happened, the mood was gone. In the latter case, the foreplay ended even before the warming up.

I did not have a business card so did not get to win an Iphone or a blackberry (damn- can someone give me the details of a creative business card designer?) but it was a day well spent- meeting good people, having good food- both for the palate and for the thought.

Posted by: Shalabh | October 23, 2008

What is GermFeeding? Explained by Google Marketing Methods

What is a GermFeed? And how did it change marketing paradigms? I coined this phrase- to explain some marketing phenomenon and I’ll try to explain it’s significance by the way Google markets its products. Or Maybe I think they do…

I like the way Google does things. As a matter of fact, I am a fan. But is everything they do- noteworthy? A look into the past and the future of Google’s Marketing…read on

Google has a *nack* of doing things in style-from developing a great search engine to developing a business model that changed the face of all advertising on this planet- to the way they market their products. Their IPO was innovative, their work culture is pioneering and everything about new products raises the bar. On everything that they do, you want to talk about it, have your opinion around it or be the first one to know about it- so you can share with others and appear uber- in all your vain glory.

THAT to me- is the crux of their marketing. Not just generate talkability- but ‘feed’ the talk. Simple- but *very* effective.

Let us trace some of the memorable stuff they did.

Circa 2005: Gmail launches- everyone in Google’s position would’ve loved to solicit and get the crowds- when the competition is with Hotmail and Yahoo- (and in a category which is like gasoline- little perceived differentiation)- you promote like mad and cross your fingers. Google says- Sorry. This is invite only! The next thing you know- it *burns* desires- what the heck- it even starts selling on ebay- people *paid* to be a part of that experience. History! That model has been followed many times since then and will continue to get followed. (Do you know of any other example where a brand tried this tactic? Please enlighten in comments)

Every hype has a life cycle. How could they enhance the “hype life cycle” ?(seems today is my ‘phrase coining’ day). How could they beat the iconic hype that surrounded their own launch?

This is how-> They make people participate in a video with gmail (Gmail M-velope) in it- and it becomes an epidemic (they should come up with better words connoting ‘good spread of ideas’- ‘viral’ and ‘epidemics’ have disastrous and somewhat distasteful- just like ‘tsunami’… Seth Godin coined “IdeaVirus” which is better- but then again- it has a ‘virus’ in it)

Many other Google products have been marketed by slowly seeping into the everyday world- by sheer distribution power and innovative underground marketing- if you use  Google Analytics (2005/2006), iGoogle (2007) OR Google feed reader- you know what I mean- some of these are propagated/seeded through Google parties/events and some of them through industry experts propagating how to use the product (Kaushik on Analytics). Some, like Gmaps and Google earth (2005) seep into everyday lives by sheer adoption by web publishers by allowing ease of integration- the product itself becomes a marketing tool here- so the base product still is a great product but its marketability enhanced by the fact that it can easily be manipulated for your own use.

This is what I would like to term as ‘GermFeed’ (Feed (tools/content and other enablers) given to the germ(concept/idea) to breed(spread/distribute) ) I know it has the word ‘germ’ in it- but germs can be good as well- ever had youghurt? Or a shot of antibiotics? A GermFeed is an enabler- (the same as bacterium in milk curd the entire milk). It could be anything- from ‘viral’ content to widgets/gadgets and apps to enablers like- tools for the blogosphere that can feed their insatiable desire to look cool, informed, share intelligently or simply help ‘pimp’ their virtual presence.

Then came Chrome(2008)- a web browser-now how do you differentiate this one? Explorer rules PCs and Google’s own product Firefox has a cult following. Not to mention others like community browsers , ‘no frills‘ browsers…and what not…

How would you usually frame the marketing content in such a scenario? Preach the features, highlight differentiation and yet retain public interest? Yet again- they develop ‘GermFeed’-a cartoon strip explaining in detail the unique propositions of the Chrome browser.

One of Google Fodders

Google "GermFeed' for Chrome

A neat idea- explains the product features in detail (that itself becomes GermFeed in the sense that people can manipulate that information to make their own content and distribute. But they make it interesting by the concept of a comic book- specially appealing to programmers/tech guys (nerds like comic strips- no research- I just *think* they do) who they want to be early adopters and then influence the rest of us. Neat. And classic.

Circa 2008- here comes Android- Google’s platform for mobile apps. As it nears it launch, there seems to be an eerie silence -marketing wise- Which is good, because the hype around iphone 3G was too ‘noisy’ and it was easy to fade in all that noise. But then, since it already seems to be available unofficially, and there are multiple stakeholders (Telocs/app developers) this time- the marketing surrounding the product- edges to being tacky. Agreed it might not be abetted by Google (or TMobile for that matter) but tacky none-the-less. And its out there.

Look at this video developed by an Android forum – and you will know what I mean. Content is Passe (bordering on being unpleasant) and hey- building excitement with a rap video?

Or maybe this is the marketing this time around. The platform is itself an extreme form of GermFeed– the germ here itself gives rise to many other ‘mutants’. Developers develop a product(mutant germ) on the platform (original Germfeed) and then distribute and promote it using yet other germfeeds (the video)- so they can monetize or get fame.

This deserves more posts- heck I thought I will write short posts from now on. Too excited!

Till the next time- be  part of this exercise- and sharpen the concept- can you give me a few examples of GermFeed that you might have come across? Is there something you’d like to add to this? A coffee for those with the most relevant observation (I decide;) )

Posted by: Shalabh | October 20, 2008

Panel discussion Video: Hardwarezone and hitwise

I moderated this panel discussion for an event organized by Hardwarezone and Hitwise.

How did I like it?

A bit interesting; a bit dull,

A bit impromptu; a bit plugged

Sometimes awkward, sometimes at ease

Sometimes profound, sometimes a bit deep…

But overall a good experience and what the heck-with time we can only improve. I thought I was a bit miffed and could have been better.

Enjoyed it though! Check out for yourself:

Came across this cool tool on the web: Wordle

What does it do?

Give it your website address or paste a random paragraph from your blog – it arranges them in cool patterns and generates a word cloud for you.

In their words: “Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends. “

Seems to have been created by a dude called Jonathan Feinberg (contact on site) and seems to very popular given the secondly updates (!) on the gallery

You can use either of these options to create a wordle:
(A)Enter the URL of any blog, blog feed, or any other web page that has an Atom or RSS feed.
(B)Paste in a bunch of text; OR
(C) Enter a user name to see their tags
Here’s one generated from my blog:

Shalabh Pandey's word cloud from his blog on digital marketing and media trends

Shalabh Pandey

It can get a bit addictive after a while as you try to play with seemingly endless iterations. I noticed the cloud is slightly different from the one generated by WordPress for my blog- though wordle seems to give you choices of design and word arrangements- the larger instances of words are marked by bugger sizes.

Seems I have blogged a lot on search, asia and marketing, and prefer to use words like market, online, video, tips, media etc

There definitely is a ‘cool factor’ (more than anything else- even the makers dub it as ‘toy’).

But look more closely-it offers a simple yet great tool to engage the ‘active’ social beings on the Internet and thus offers a great enablement tool for them. Everyone can find a unique and fun way to use the tool- resulting in a viral snowballing effect-from influencers to ‘sneezers’ to ‘cautious adapters’. You can showcase on your blog, on your social networking site or just as an image on your messenger.

This simple tool, once measured in the context of behavioral theories like the Social Cognitive Theory assumes profound significance.  The theory identifies human behavior as an interaction of personal factors, behavior and the environment. Though the theory was developed much before the internet, its adaptation is very much relevant for the Internet as I am discovering. Social cognitive theory is helpful for understanding and predicting both individual and group behavior and identifying methods in which behavior can be modified or changed.

The success of many popular widgets and apps can be attributed to this theory. I might be the first one blogging about this theory, but more of this shpeel later.

For this particular tool, I’m not sure if the developers realize it, but this could be further developed into a cool marketing tool by brands in a million ways- with or without involvement of the site! (Now that’s not very pretty is it?)

Try it out and let me know if there are some interesting ones you spotted in the gallery- or are there any ways you think this can be used as a tool for any of the brands you are working on?

Posted by: Shalabh | October 11, 2008

Recession? Digital Media World says- “No sweat”

Recession just a hype for digital media

Recession just a hype for digital media

The dark clouds of economic uncertainity are now approaching Asia- reminds me of this Credence Clearwater Revival classic:

I see the bad moon rising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin.
I see bad times today.

Dont go around tonight,
Well, its bound to take your life,
There’s a bad moon on the rise.

That’s the general sentiment- with most Asian economies. Japan took a dip and most developed Asian economies are now talking about an imminent recession. There has been carnage on stock markets and pessimistic forecasts are abound.

It’s strange- as I heard someone saying “…when the US sneezes everyone else catches cold”

Singapore,  Southeast Asia’s richest country, is believed to be slipping into recession, and almost everywhere there seems to be a “recruitment freeze”.

However- here is the silver lining- The digital marketing and media world is more resilient, and as a matter of fact, in these times, this seems to be one panacea for agencies and brands alike.

Mediapost mentions a healthy growth in the first half of 2008 in the US- Search advertising seems to be the hotbed- what with most advertisers realising that online is the medium to deliver measurable and effective refturns on marketing investment. Remember this is inpite of the fact the financial category ad spend has taken a dip this year.

Verbatim:And while spending on other media formats is flat or declining compared to a year ago, Nielsen estimates that online ad dollars overall increased 13% in the first half of 2008. Enjoying the biggest increases in ad spending are kids and family-oriented sites as well as comparison shopping sites, at close to 30% gains.

Another news by the Hollywood reporter headlined “Online ads defy slowing global economy” says-

Despite the damage inflicted by the financial crisis, turnover with advertisement banners, sponsored links and other online advertising format will grow.


US- 13% to $18.6 billion still by far the largest market in the world

Europe: Developing fast and is forecast to grow 31% in 2008 to $12.4 billion.

Japan: Will surge 15% to $4.5 billion, while China will leap forward 46% to $1.6 billion

Jason blogs on “5 reasons why digital marketing will thrive in recession”

So what’s the big deal then? Why the hullabaloo about recession? Neither the forecasts nor the past 6 months show any signs of worry for the digital marketing/online advertising world.

This the time for brands to embrace a mature digital marketing space and be one up on the competitors. Now is the time for them to set up specialist units focused on digital marketing. Now is the time for agencies to recruit the best talent there is and demonstrate efficiency for their clients and competitors alike.

Agencies specially more so- many have been viewed as opportunistic digital media embracers- jumped on the boat in 2000s and abandoned at the first sight of decline..and then coming back to position themselves as forward thinking digital media embracers starting 2005. And then again, at the first sign of a financial crisis, they freeze!

In a panel discussion that I was invited to a few months ago, I asked a question to the panel- comprising of agency and brand side representatives: “What if your media/marketing budget reduces to half? Where will you continue to spend?” The unanimous answers from client side was “Digital/Online marketing”- not only continue to spend, but they would probably allocate more spends to online and make their online marketing initiatives more effective.

Do you see a similar trend happening elsewhere? Have your clients reduced their budgets? Has your agency been proactive enough in attracting and retaining digital talent? Anxious to hear your comments.

Posted by: Shalabh | October 2, 2008

Topmost search properties in Asia Pacific

I had blogged about the search market in APAC almost 8 months back, and had an analysis on the disparity between dollar numbers and search volume.

Comscore released another research recently (excerpt here) on the top search properties in Asia Pacific.

The Asia Pacific search market is extremely diverse- what with many non English speaking countries and local language search engines ruling the roost in different countries. Not only this, even usage behavior varies from country to country. On user behavior- take a look at this fab eye tracking study (Not sure of the exact source, but compiled from various Korean websites)

Eyetracking search user behavior in Asia Pacific

Eyetracking search user behavior in Asia Pacific

So- while Google searchers tend to concentrate on the top left hand of the pages (thus making top rankings very important), MSN and Yahoo search users are more broad and more in depth seekers (or maybe people are conditioned so much about Google ranking processes that they feel only the top results are relevant -remember this is eye tracking not actual clicks)

Naver is quite interesting considering practically the entire page is read, but specifically the top entire section (top 2-3 results) is popular- and then you see a gradual decline.

Hence in this market, Google still coming on tops in this survey is a big win for Google- but in the non English speaking countries, Google is still not the top engine (not in the tables below- throwing some general knowledge there)- and that is where it has to improve its standing.

Excerpt- Top 10 search engines in Asia:

Top search properties in Asia

Top search properties in Asia

Google almost a third of the share and Yahoo almost a fifth.

Alibaba classifying as a search site is strange , and even if I understand the logic right,  pray, where is ebay?

Top countries by search volume in Asia:

Top countries by search volume in Asia

Top countries by search volume in Asia

China rules in the volume by countries and not surprisingly. In a country where scale achieves different proportions altogether, the volume of searches is no exception. Interestingly, top 3 properties are Chinese- Sohu, Tencent and Baidu. Not counting the Chinese language versions of the international sites and even Alibaba- originating from Hong Kong, China (right?).

What is your reading on this and do you think users search differently in differrent countries or even by different portals?

Posted by: Shalabh | September 26, 2008

Internet entrepreneur wannabe? Super hilarious video!

I usually don’t post so frequently, but what the heck- this video is worth the effort.

Found it on Charles’ blog on social media and thought it was an absolute gem. How many times have you come across these ads in the newspapers claiming to make you rich and famous through the internet? Their websites are one long painful never ending sales pitch and the offsite pitches are like statistics- they hide more than they reveal.

This video is a spoof – but almost perfect- the way they used to hardsell on mail order TV- and now moved on to the internet.

I loved the way the credits in the end say “Fax your email address now!” and the creepy gum chewing bloke!

As these judges say on some of these reality shows- Mind Blowing!

Posted by: Shalabh | September 26, 2008

Blockbuster Viral video secrets- through 3 viral videos

Someone once asked me as to what are the ingredients to make a ‘viral video’? “That’s like asking a movie director” I said “…what are the ingredients for making a blockbuster. Or asking a top author- the secrets of writing a best seller.” So is there a secret?

Truth be told- nobody knows. Not Spielberg, not Rowling (and definitely not Stallone). It’s like jazz music I would say- nobody quite knows what is the exact definition, but for a jazz fan, you know it is jazz when you hear it. It’s like that chapter in Blink that elucidates how the top tennis players themselves cannot explain what makes them serve like the way they do. They just do it! And even they can’t do it right every time (Do a search on Nadal and Federer double faults)

There could be tips and tricks at best, and I would say its not the ‘what’ (is the formula or the plot) but the ‘how’ (is the story told).

Came across this video on the power of gadgets (with an ‘i’ prefix, mostly)- suspiciously looking planted but what the heck, enjoyable neverthless.  Now- this video did not follow the ‘top 10′ tips and tricks and yet has the potential of making it to the ’15 minutes hall of fame’ (mashed up two phrases here).

What i mean is- no sex, no ridiculous stuff, no numa dances, no lonelygirls, no dance evolutions and no ninjas (no not even ninjas!). Yet is strikes a chord (Why do things always strike a chord? Why not a rope or something? OK Bad one…)

Here it is: Watch it and lemme know if you think this has the ‘viral’ potential? What are your tips for making a video viral?

There might be Apple involvement somewhere (nothing ‘in your face’ in the video- just a wild guess- call it a man’s instinct :p), but even if there is, what the heck- I am spending my time blogging about it literally in the middle of the night. Ain’t I?

On the same lines, here’s another one that I had featured on my ‘other’ blog, “unplugged contemplations” in January 2007- also pasting here:

Both the videos do not have the raunchy-ness or shocking-ness or some other ‘ness’ attributes associated with these kind of videos, but for want of a common thread (or fiber or strand or filament), they have:

Fun element (emotional connect)

Good production quality (content and presentation)

And are targeted at a niche (Everyone will love them, but they strike a chord (again!) with a community- and its that niche community that passes them around)

One important mantra- your viral video or viral stuff or viral campaign should strike a chord with a niche segment– sounds doggingly duh! but not many understand (common sense is uncommon an all that); take for granted or forget to apply.

That apart, since both of the above videos are related to gadgets, it is important to take note of this post from Maati– the community of natural lifestyle-ers, specially those passionate about organic products and solar products.

The thing about this is- It is again a ‘viral video’, if you may, but it is not ‘funny’. Excellent production value though (not an absolute essential, but helps) and attracts a niche community. It basically raises some very valid points about excessive consumerism and how the gadget obsession is not helping the environment, to say the least.

So what are your tips? I showed you mine- now you show me yours.

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