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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Ups & Downs of my blogging

This post shares few ups and downs I faced during past two years of my blogging:
1 The MLM Supporters
Any talk on network and multi level marketing will be potentially controversial. When I wrote couple of posts on MLM (12 reasons why MLM cos go wrong * QuestNet reopens as Lotus marketing in Srilanka * Amway Inside story * An analysis of MLM companies) as expected there were lots of comments which criticized my stand. But then, I received couple of communications wherein someone sent detailed arguments and wanted to meet me in person and explain why & how their business is genuine and legitimate. Few wanted me to attend their presentations to understand the business properly. One thing common among these people was that they agreed that a particular company (Amway or QuestNet etc) are scams but insisted that their company is genuine and legitimate.
I am not sure if I want to take the discussions offline. I have an opinion, based on certain observations and analysis, which I publish as a post. Few will like it and benefit from it, some more will not agree and ignore it and rest of the world will not even notice it. That's the way it is-we need to accept that. To a reasonable extent I can respond to comments and provide clarifications, but beyond a limit it gets too much. Certainly I can’t afford to spend all my time and energy convincing the world that I am right. When someone doesn’t agree and insist that I change my stand I may have to ignore them and move on. Sorry folks.

It may not be bad to make friends online and take it offline. But not all will have good intentions and some due diligence will be required before trusting an hitherto unknown person and chose to meet him offline. For this reason I had to reject certain friend requests and requests from unknown people to meet me in person. When Club Mahindra suddenly invited me for their Coorg Trip for travel bloggers I had to do considerable ground work before accepting it. Sometimes it is like suspecting too much, but can't help it. Protocols are to be followed.

2. Me not an expert
I may not be an expert in most of the topics I write upon. But some readers believe otherwise and send in questions and concerns-Sometime it feels good that people are approaching you for help, sometime feels bad that you’re not able to help them (not knowing what to help or time constraint etc). Tried my best to help those who sought it, while had to ignore some.
a. One person sent a mail (with his resume) saying he is a student of hotel management and wishes to work as an intern with Club Mahindra. I have no clue what made him think I could get him an internship at Club Mahindra. Though his resume was written in such a bad English I sent it to Club Mahindra executives.

b. Someone else said she invested 30 k in reliance mutual fund and hasn’t got any communication in months. I had nothing specific to console her but assured her that probability of fraud seems very less in this case and after a quick discussion with a friend advised her to check with her broker or call reliance office to get her portfolio number. Never heard again from her-hope her investment is giving good returns now.
Many others sought help buying a laptop. (Because of this post) Responded them to my best knowledge-Haven’t received any feedback how many of them went by my suggestion.
The Club Mahindra post went beyond control-Many commented saying they feel cheated by CM and asked me how they can come out of that mess. I do not have any control over CM and there wasn't much I could do about it. Wherever possible I pointed them to other comments where readers had shared similar concerns and were considering their options, including legal ones.

3. Journos Contacting me
One Russian Lady, Reshatova Anneta approached me early last year [Read her comment here] who wanted my help in some article/report she was preparing. She said she works for russian company HR- media (www.hrmedia.ru). I verified her identity and couldn’t find anything fishy. I spent around half a day of my time and gave her the information she wanted. (Her article was something related to employment and empowerment of women in India) . This effort from my side proved to be a total waste-never heard from her again as to what happened to that article-probably it was rejected by her editor/boss or it was used for some internal purpose or she decided not to bother me once she got what she wanted.

Another lady, who identified herself as ABC (name withheld) from Hindustan Times, contacted me from Delhi regarding timeshare holidays. I gave my opinion as to why I felt investing in timeshare might not be a good idea and she promptly asked “What else people should do?” Think I didn’t give a convincing answer to her- I said something like “People can invest their capital smartly and  using the returns take one time holiday which gives lots of flexibility” Probably it didn’t convince her. Never heard again from her as well.
Few people sought my permission to use my club Mahindra articles for their newspaper/magazines-(like this comment for example)I generously permitted, but never heard from them. Thinking of it, a newspaper cannot easily quote a personal blog. If I were an editor, I would never rely on information sourced from a personal blog, because unlike a blog, a newspaper cannot easily criticize a company in its articles, unless the newspaper has enough evidence to survive a defamation case and be ready to lose advertisement revenue from that company. Also business articles seldom publish links to personal blogs-(Swati did that once [read it here] and for reasons not known to me, her column got stopped thereafter) So for all these reasons I guess those who wanted to quote my blog in their articles couldn’t do it.

4. From ideas to reality
In this post I suggested that public toilets in India can be made free (by recovering operating expenses by showing ads). A group of people, headed by Abhishek Pandey, under the umbrella of ‘soon to be registered’ NGO called Dream India projects (DIP) came up to implement that idea in Delhi. They made some good progress initially but since past one month or so there’s been no updates on that. Hope that project becomes a reality soon. Details in this post

5. Prizes that never came
Won a contest in Mouthshut.com January last year and was supposed to get return air tickets as prize- Never got that till date. (Last year abandoned pursuit after a set of email follow ups) [Details in this post]

6. Lucrative offers 
Once upon a time my Club Mahindra post used to come right below Club Mahindra official website (image in this post).(Now the position has dropped due to a set of reasons, including smart counter SEO strategies from CM, such as registering dozens of websites with club mahindra in its name). During those days I have received several offers where some people wanted me to either a. write a positive article about their company and make it come on top or b. write a negative article about their competition and make it come on top. Nothing great about those companies either-people who approached me identified themselves as "representatives" of the company. I had to reject such offers because those were not my purpose of blogging. Can’t write good or bad just because someone is willing to pay me. 

7. Stupid acts
Some of the activities I did during initial days look stupid now-During early days I didn't know if Vijaya Karnataka (a kannada newspaper) is available online. In one of the Kannada blogs I wrote a comment asking for URL of ’s website. The link was available in their blogroll or I could have even googled it-but these simple things didn’t strike me that time…
Wrote comments leaving by blog URL behind and then wondered why the blog owners deleted it…

There're some more incidents like this which I can share. Will do that sometime soon...

5 comments :

Supreetha said...

Good article. Used to read your articles, now got to know the interesting incidents related to these write ups.

Keep writing!

hari said...

I agree. Some of your commenters take your writing too personally.

I find your analysis to be objective and balanced. People can either take it or leave it as you say. It's your opinion...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Supreetha

Thanks.

@Hari,
Exactly...

Amit Sinha said...

It’s always fun to read different perspectives on the same places I am a traveler like to hear about their experiences.
Myhappyjourney

Amit A said...

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