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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Helium policy change turns off APAC contributors

Helium.com is a content website which hosts articles on almost every topic under the sun. Helium members contribute articles, read and rate other articles and in return earn a small amount for the articles submitted by them. Sometime in 2005, Helium did lots of advertising using Google Adwords, to invite writers.

Till recently, helium.com was open to authors from all over the world. I registered at this site some 3 years ago and did contribute some 10-12 articles in total. Revenue from articles were primary motive to contribute but the other interesting factor was rating of articles-we'll get an idea where our articles stand compared to other articles on same topic. Few of my articles were ranking at top 3 while others did average to not so good. Earnings were so low and it seemed to take forever to reach minimum payout of US$25. Because of this I eventually stopped contributing, but once in a while used to login, read, rate articles.

That was only introduction-main thing I thought I'll share with you is Helium's recent policy change. Helium has decided not to accept articles from authors orginating from countries which do not have english as their primary language, so as to 'protect the quality of articles'. This essentially means users from India and other Asia Pacific countries aren't welcome to contribute at helium.

Below is the extract from an email Helium sent to its members originating from countries where "english is not the primary language"
"Helium.com instituted this policy as a result of careful consideration of its members and its publishing partners. Since our goal is to become the top-quality content site on the web, we realize that, as a US-based company, we cannot accept writers from countries where English is not the primary language. It has put those writers at a disadvantage in rating and getting the most from writing on Helium. To prevent frustrations from all writers and to limit staff time spent trying to accommodate non-English-speaking writers, we have decided to stop accepting submissions from locations that may have a negative impact on the quality of our site. "

Helium also removed all existing articles of such members and their access to site is promptly revoked. However, to be fair they retained articles for 4 weeks so that authors could take backup of their articles if they wish. Though my earnings hadn't reached minimum payout limit, (My earnings in 3-4 years were about 19$ in total, from about 10-12 articles) they transfered the amount to my paypal account. I don't have anything to complain (their site, their policy, their money) but just thought I'll bring this policy change to the attention of my readers.

Do you think writers from countries where english isn't the mother tongue have bad english? Are we diluting the quality of the website by our contributions? Aren't they denying themselve a chance to benefit from knowledge and understanding of other writers? What might have forced them into this policy change? Helium might have had their own compulsions/pressures, but what do you think on this?

Other thoughts:
* Isn't it unfair on their part to generalize things? Was it not possible to identify a more practical and sensible strategy to ensure quality that blindly turning down contributors based on their origin?

* Helium policy enforcement isn't foolproof. Since a computer can't identify origin of an user, they've blocked access (login feature) in countries where english is not primary language. But then, a US citizen who is a helium member can't login if he/she is in India while an Indian in US can create an ID and contribute as usual. Others might still be able to login via proxies or other workarounds.

* I'm not sure how serious members take Helium's rating feature. Helium members are expected to read and rate articles-two articles on same topic-but do people really care to spend several hours reading multiple articles on same topic, just to rate which one is relatively better?

* By deleting user accounts, they are losing a significant user base which was acquired after significant effort and expense. Even if they change the policy later, users will have a hesitation to sign up again. Pearl broken is lost forever.

* I was comparing my Mouthshut experience with that of helium. While Helium communicated its policy change to all affected users, gave them time to backup their articles before deleting the entries and made payments to settle dues, Mouthshut turns off users without warning, without responding to their mails while continuing to retain and earn from members' articles.

Similar: Mouthshut shuts me off * Ergo to close its print edition * Nishindra Verma on future of print media *

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Review: BPCL's Petrocard loyalty scheme

December 2010 Update: I faced some inconvenience of late, as my petrocard was deactivated for not being regularly used. No communication was sent to me, toll free numbers and emails went unanswered and fuel station attendants were unable to help. Eventually I got in touch with one BPCL official in Bangalore, who offered to help. After a personal visit to their office in MG Road and another attempt, my card was finally reset and sent to me. Good to have that official respond promptly to my concerns.

---------------------Original post-----------------------------------------------

As a regular purchaser of fuel, I find BPCL's Petrocard loyalty program most useful, compared to loyalty schemes of other petroleum companies. This post gives a brief description of this card and associated loyalty program and also gives a quick comparison of royalty schemes by other fuel companies.

What is petrocard?
Patrocard is a smart card based loyalty program from Bharath Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL). I'm using this card since past 8 years approximately. It costs Rs 250 as one time enrollment fee.

How it works?
User loads a predefined amount into the card- Rs 500 minimum and multiples of Rs 100 thereafter. Each time a user avails any of BPCL's services (buys fuel, lubricants or shops at their convenience store-In & Out), he/she can pay using petrocard, instead of cash. Purchase value is debited from the preloaded amount available on the card and appropriate loyalty points (called Petromiles) will be credited. Over a period petromile points get accumulated to a decent size and can be exchanged for some nice gifts.

Sample calculation: For Rs 100 spent on petrol, user gets 15 petromiles, for Rs 100 spent at In & Out user gets 100 petromiles. If you're spending Rs 1000 per month on fuel and Rs 500 on lubes+groceries at In & Out, you'd get about 600-700 points. This accumulates to about 7000 points per year, against which can exchange goods worth Rs 100-120 approx. (Rs.50 In & out cash coupen comes for 2995 points-check reqards showcase for latest options) Heavy spenders will be naturally earning more and will get to exchange better rewards.

Benefits:
1. Tiny drops make mighty ocean-Over a period of few years, points accumulated will be good enough to redeem some cool items. (Depends on your usage- As a moderate two wheeler user I could accumulate points to get gifts to the tune of Rs 100 per year approximately. Car users/family users will be able to get better rewards

2. The main reason I enrolled for this program initially was to save on change. The guy at the fuel station (petrol pump or bunk as it is better known as) used to fill only for Rs 99.68 or something when asked to fill for Rs 100. With petrocard, I used to pay them only 99.68 and not Rs.100. This is no more an issue as all dispensers have provision to feed exact amount/quantity, but back in 2002-2003 I could save some money this way.

3. Helps tracking your fuel expense. Email statements will be sent detailing your purchases and points-this helps keep track of how much you refuelled, where and when.

4. No need to carry cash. Credit card payments used to attract surcharges and Petrocard was best alternative.

How it helps BPCL?
Loyalty programs are primarily aimed at making a customer come back to one's outlet only (and not go to a competitor) With over 1.6 million members in past 10 years, BPCL's petrocard loyalty scheme has successfully achieved this primary objective of bonding and engaging with customers.
Interest free cash left in the card is some advance revenue for the company.
BPCL also has smartfleet program-an extended version of Petrocard program for corporate users and large fleet operators.

But also note:
* No interest is paid on the amount lying idle in the card
* Be sure to check if the fuel station accepts the card. Some stations, at times may not accept it-either due to faulty devices or other reasons
* There will be a temptation to refuel only at BPCL outlets, because of points one would be getting. If you're skipping a nearby fuel station of another company and driving extra distance to reach a BPCL outlet, fuel spent in driving those extra distance may not be worth the points gained.
* Sometimes paying by cash will be more convenient and time saving
* Only one redemption is allowed per month
* Not all retail outlets allow redemption-You'll have to drive to a few selected outlets where redemption is possible.
* I believe points earned expire after 3 years. So be sure to exchange your points for gifts within 3 years
* Can not be used for BPCL's LPG purchase/refill
* For a minimal user it may take abount two years to recover the initial amount spent on enrollment (Rs 250)

What options do other petroleum companies have to retain customers through loyalty program?
Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) also has a smart card based loyalty program. But unlike Petrocard, no money is stored in the card, but only points. I find their reward scheme considerably discouraging, compared to BPCL.

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) has tied up with iMint for loyalty benefits. [Read detailed review of iMint card] But my observation is that very few number of outlets actually entertain iMint card. At most of the places you'll get abrupt reply that they don't swipe iMint. (This observation was valid when I tried my iMint card at several HPCL outlets in Delhi, Chennai, hyderabad and Bengaluru-things might have changed w.r.t time not sure).

Both IOCL and HPCL have several cobranded credit cards-I've not tried them-may be these cobranded credit cards offer better rewards than petrocard-not sure.

Don't think other lesser known fuel vendors-Shell and IBP have any loyalty schemes. Even if they have, it won't be viable for customers due to neglible number of outlets they have.

Gone are the days when there was an attitude-petrol is petrol wherever it is filled. Companies are trying hard to sell branded fuels for a premium. Significant efforts are being made to provide more services and convenience to the customers who come to tank up (ATMs, grocery stores,coffee shops, car wash and the likes) These add on services will have better profit margin than selling fuel. A Kannada article I wrote on this topic, which got published in Vijaya Karnataka in April 2003 can be >read here.

What loyalty program do you use? How useful you're finding them?


Similar product/Service reviews: mGinger * iMint * RedBus.in * Club Mahindra timeshare membership * Chennai times quotes me on fuel price hike *

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ergo to close print edition

Ergo, a 5 days a week free tabloid in Chennai from THE HINDU Group, has decided to close its print edition from next month. Ergo was being (and is, till this month end) distributed for free across several locations in Chennai city- mainly in IT parks, targeting youngsters and IT professionals.
Ergo Logo Ergo is about 2 years old (if I am not mistaken) and had soon gained acceptance and popularity among its target audience because of its uniqueness. Compared to regular newspapers that run into several pages with hundreds of articles, Ergo stayed focused on short and brief articles and information that was relevant and interesting to its readers. It had everything informative and interesting- cartoons, news, travel, fashion, sports...

I felt little sad on hearing that they are closing the print edition. Reason being, it was because of Ergo I could see my name in print after long gap of few years. Had almost stopped writing for newspapers but with Ergo, I had a very high success rate- most of the articles I sent got published. (Read: Steve on evolution of internet * Wayanad trip * Binsar Trip * Ramanagara Rock Climbing * AWPT pet care)
Ergo editor writes about closing print edition
Recession is termed as the reason for discontinuation of print edition. Running a newspaper is an expensive business- Nishindra verma of DNA was telling that it takes just a few crores to start a TV channel, but hundreds of crores to start a newspaper. though Ergo might not have consumed hundreds of crores (as they might have used THE HINDU's resources and network for printing, information source etc) money was certainly needed in good amount. Since it is circulated free, advertisement revenue is the sole source of income, which might have dipped significantly, partially due to recession, partially due to fall in circulation. (Even otherwise when we pay 2-3 Rs for a newspaper, actual production cost will be 10-15 times that amount, but compensated heavily by advertisements)

Primary target audience for Ergo was IT professionals. As far as I know several IT companies have banned Ergo from their campus- exact reason for this is not known- but two possible ones are: 1. Loss of productivity- Companies might have felt their employees are spending too much of office time reading Ergo (and solving Sudoku!) or 2. Housekeeping: If a building has 1000 people and each collects one copy of Ergo, end of the day housekeeping staff will have to collect and dispose 1000 copies of Ergo from the office desks- (usually employees don't bother to take it home)- this is naturally an unnecessary burden on the companies.

Ergo team could have tried a paid subscription model before deciding to close down print version. But I feel people wouldn't have cared to subscribe for something they are used to getting it free all these years. In paid subscription mode they would have lost as much as 80-90% of their reader base, making it unviable from logistics and advertising perspective.

One small solace is that Ergo will continue online at www.goergo.in. Going exclusively online saves heavily on printing and logistics expenses. Thus the content (articles, news, cartoons) will still be available for interested readers. But online version is no substitute for reading a printed version. To me as a potential contributor, seeing my name in a website is not as exciting as seeing it in print. In online mode they'll have to try hard to retain reader base and stay distinguished from similar sites. All the best to ERGO team. (Sadly several companies have blocked Ergo's website too)

And then, heard DNA is preparing to launch its Chennai Edition. More competition ahead.

Similar: Nishindra Verma on future of print media * Workshop on broadcast journalism *
Logo from Ergo website, second image via Mohan BN
August 20th Update: I'm not seeing any major changes in Ergo website, except few new articles

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chennai times quotes me on fuel price hike

Belated post. Two weeks ago, 6th of July, Saturday edition of Chennai times carried an article about fuel price hike, in which my opinion was quoted. Got an unexpected phonecall from TOI person asking for my opinion and whatever came to my mind at that time I just spoke out. Looks little silly if I read my own words now- could have given a slightly better and well prepared response if I had some time to think and frame my response.
Chennai times on fuel price hike
They also got my surname terribly wrong. (last time when TOI issued a clarification for publishing my photo without permission, they referred to me as "her"- Details here). Hope to see my name and gender appear intact in TOI next time, if it happens.

btb what's your take on the fuel price hike?

In other updates, Hyderabad based Prism had quoted me on begging menace sometime back. just completed 4 years in my first job

Other articles in print: Steve on evolution of internet * Wayanad trip * Binsar Trip * Ramanagara Rock Climbing *
Navigate to About me-My articles in print for more.
Similar: Nishindra Verma on future of print media * Workshop on broadcast journalism *

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lock On...ಈ ಬ೦ಧನಾ...

---- Not a serious post. Just mentions unbound imaginations around a simple observation ----

The IT park where I work has introduced a new measure to bring in some decipline among vehicle owners. They've started "locking" any car or bike which is parked in wrong places or parked in wrong way. Owners of such vehicles will have to pay a penalty and get the lock removed before they can drive home.

Usual way of locking a vehicle is immobilizing it by using a chain or something so that vehicle can't move. As an exception, I found two 2-wheelers locked in an odd way recently. Either due to cost cutting (why use two separate chain and locks for each vehicle) or with an intention of hitting two birds in one stone, the security guard ties both of these vehicle together instead.
 two vehicles chain lockedProbably this will serve the purpose (of making the owners realize their mistake and pay a fine), but there are chances that it won't.

The way two vehicles are tied, they are free to move together. That is, if both vehicle owners decide to drive side by side, they can comfortably drive out of the area. Since the vehicles were parked together almost at the same time, there is a remote chance that the owners know each other-say boyfriend girlfriend pair or two guys or two riders who know each other and came together. So if they chose, they can drive out together (can be tricky-they will need to drive slow and drive close, but not impossible), without paying any fine and also get to keep the chain and the lock as bonus! (It can be removed later by unscrewing few vehicle parts through which the chain passes)

So what do you think might have happened? The owners knew each other, met and chose to drive out together? May be guard realized his mistake after seeing them riding away? Or nothing of that sort happened (either they weren't smart enough or didn't know/couldn't wait for other vehicle owner or were honest in admitting their wrong parking) and they paid the fine to get the lock removed? Was the security guard smart to lock this way? Or was he just careless and stupid?

Similar: What will the winner do with Aishwarya Rai's skirt? * Why take off shirts at temples? * Chennai Roadies *

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mitsubishi Great driving challenge-my views

Sometimes back I read about the Great Driving Challenge by Mitsubishi Motors (Hindustan Motors Limited) and was thinking about it. Have received several requests by participants seeking votes to qualify for next stage which ensured that I didn't forget this event and eventually made me blog about it. First time I heard about the event I was excited and was even thinking of giving it a try. But after I read the specifics, I was disappointed. The whole event looks like an on road version of a reality show or 4 wheeler version of MTV roadies, than having anything to do with driving skills and racing. Participants get to try their hands on wheels only in the last stage-till then it is only about personality and voting. Most of the energy and efforts are spent in mobilizing your friends and contacts to vote for you and impress the judges with your attitude and compatibility etc, all of these having nothing to do with driving skills.
Mitsubishi Great driving challenge banner
Shortlisting of top 100 pairs (phase 3) happen purely based on number of votes received and how interesting couple's profile looks. Only in final phase-phase 6, just 3 couples will get to actually drive. (More details on selection process here) So best of drivers are very much unlikely to qualify unless they have good looks and large public support.

Also early registrants will have more time to gather votes- a disadvantage for those who register late. Would have been fair to let everyone register first, then keep the voting counter open for a specific duration, so that visitors can compare all pairs and vote for the best. (being fair to all participants doesn't seem to be the intent- hidden agenda is to let people promote the event as much as possible while making an attempt to get votes)

It is a great PR exercise by Mitsubushi. Media publicity, publicity given by participants desparate for votes and google juice received through all those links (promoted to garner votes) is going to boost their online position. Adding a poll is a very clever thing contest organizers can d0-desparate participants will unknowingly promote the event at their own expense, time and efforts trying to gather votes.

Anyway I do not have any rights to criticize them, just that my idea of driving challenge was different. Mitsubishi is trying something different and executing it very well. Let us see how well it goes. All the best to all participants. Some people I know (some of them virtually only, haven't met)- Kenney Jacob Harsha Koda and Siva are competing. You may visit their blogs for details and vote for them if you wish. Anita Bora has also blogged about this and has expressed her interest-not sure if she's found a partner and has registered. (Update: Looks like Anita isn't participating, Harsha Koda has made it to top 100)
Mitsubishi Cedia sports with great driving challenge logoIn case you're keen to participate or wish to vote, you've just 2 more days to act. I don't have a partner and didn't quite like the selection procedure, hence it is ruled out for me.

Logo from competition website. Car image from Kenney's blog.

21 July 2009 Update: Rupesh who identified himself as from Great driving challenge campaign team has commented on this post and has made an effort to clarify few things- his comment can be found here and my response next to it.

Also another friend of mine commented offline that this will be a great bonding exercise for participating couples. Agree on that. It will bring them closer.

Also read:
Rally for the blind * Credibility of online contests * Self drive car rentals * Predict trajectory of this accident * Mission aborted: Himalayan 4x4 Jeep safari * Forgotten factor: Safe braking distance * Tata Nano Superdrive * Ford Figo Discover Smart Drive * Ford Endeavour TDCi MT review *

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Business through missed calls

November 2010 update: NASSCOM is using missed call feature to collect feedback from the participants of NASSCOM Product Conclave in Bangalore.
Refer to the two image on the left. (When Nasscom tweeted that one can give feedback by calling these numbers, I asked if feedback can be registered through a missed call...In their reply, NASSCOM confirmed that that feedback can be registered via missed call

Original post

Some of us give more missed calls than paid calls. Its often used as a cost free way of passing a specific signal (like I’ll give a miss call once I reach home). It’s not just individuals- even business houses have started adopting the idea of miss calls. This post shares few observations and thoughts in this regard.

Saw the below display in namma Bengaluru's DVG road few weeks ago. While we're used to services of JustDial (or Getit helpline or the likes) and the likes who give you business information on telephone, wherein we spend money on phone call, this board suggested that we just give a miss call for any information (assumably they'll call back). I'm out of touch with Bangalore to some extent-not sure how popular and effective this particular service is. Tried calling (I mean miss-calling) the number, but it was engaged. Wanted to know if they directly give away the requested info or force people to listen to some ad first. They need to provide more lines if they really wish to receive more miss calls and serve people. (Their website is also not working)
business through missed calls
Long back, I remember reading about a tea vendor in Chennai, who takes orders through miss calls. If you need tea at your office, you need to register with him first, and then give a miss call whenever tea is needed. The vendor would see your miss call and send his boy to deliver tea. Very effecient system.

Smart people (Or people who prefer not to spend on phone calls) use missed call feature in different way to communicate different messages. Simplest one is to give the signal (like I've reached safely or start now or the result is positive etc, something mutually agreed upon between the two parties). Advanced usages can vary depending on creativity of people and how kanjoos they are to make a phone call. Some possible combinations:
*Different meanings based on number of missed calls: 1 miss call means "book only 1 ticket", 2 miss calls means "book 2 tickets" etc
*Different meaning based on time of missed call
*Different meaning based on combination of miss calls-landline+mobie or mobile1+mobile 2

Person to Person calls: Long back, there was a concept called Person to Person call. If you wish to make a call to Mr.X in US, operator would make the call, check with the receiver if Mr. X is available and is ready to take a call from you and connect you to him only if the receiver is available. The idea was probably not to make people spend money on international calls when the recepient may or may not be avaiable. Call will be charged only if you talk-else no charge. This system can be very well termed as landline version of missed calls- not sure if clever people misused this service those days.

Toll Free numbers: Sensing that customers/prospects do not wish to spend money on phone calls, lots of companies have set up toll free numbers. Anything that comes free, many are good at misusing. Several times people call these toll free numbers without any serious business-their intention will be to have time pass or to flirt with call centre girls receiving the call. Despite this inconvenience and financial burden most of the companies continue to provide toll free numbers for the benefit of few genuine callers.

I think it can be expensive trying to give miss call to Virgin Mobile users. As they earn for incoming calls, chances are high that they'll receive any call at this first opportunity and try to talk as long as possible.

Another use of miss call feature is to listen to caller tunes of the other party. Have an understanding with him/her when not to receive the call and listen to nice songs for free

Earlier only mobile phone users used to get miss calls. Now with caller IDs very common in landlines, anyone can give miss call to anyone...

I'm sure mobile companies are very much aware that customers are misusing missed call-Hope they won't start charging for it one day.

Clear understanding between the two parties is very critical for effective use of miss calls. Else a mis-communication can happen and the cost of the same will certainly be much more than cost of calls saved. How to give missed calls when a person has switched off or is out of range? Several service providers give miss call alerts for such instances. At times it can be tricky to differentiate a failed call attempt and an intentional missed call.

One thing I seriously wish about missed calls is that all reality shows should use missed call facility for voting, instead of overpriced SMSs. (assign one number to each candidate and count which number receives highest number of missed calls) But I know that's gonna never happen.

Please use this opportunity to share your thoughts on miss calls. Have you tried any innovative ways of using the miss call feature?

Update: 2007 December I'd seen a taxi in Bangalore, with a writing- MISS CALL TAXI xxxx xxxx (Number to call) Not sure if they also meant-"give us a miss call if you want a taxi"

Update: October 2012: Huggies has launched an ad in which they're asking people to give miss call to a number 08800144444, to get free samples (they'll call you back to collect your details)

Related posts: Ladies who used to call me daily * SMS and Win??? *

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Defense against Ants

Though I like animals in general and pet animals in particular, Ants are an exception. They are hailed for their hard work-of collecting and storing food in anticipation of difficult times. But I don't like ants, because instead of “collecting” their food from a nearby supermarket, they STEAL it from my kitchen. They attack my food materials and render it useless, by infecting entire packet while all they can eat-their entire army put together is probably 1% of what the packet contains.

Most of you must have had bad experience of dealing with ants-it may not be a menace with modern homes but ants are a common problem in village homes and even city homes which are a bit old-this post is a quick collection of some preventive measures and Ant removal techniques, when they attack your food items (Mind you-labeling sugar jar as ‘salt’ isn’t one of them). Suggestions and ideas in this regard are welcome.
ants on a rope
If you thought ants attack only those food items which are sweet, then you’re mistaken. They feast on wide range of food products- Raw Noodles, rice grains and so on.

DDT based Lakshman Rekha was a popular product (which I do not use) to keep ants away, but I guess ants have developed immunity against it.

Innovative Preventive measures against invasion of ants and other related thoughts:
  • Just in time procurement: Whatever Japanese industrialists invented, can be implemented right inside our homes. Just in time is a manufacturing methodology which suggests purchasing raw materials just when needed, thereby eliminating need to maintain high inventory. Though buying your food item in small quantities just when required denies an advantage of wholesale prices and makes you do frequent visits to store, it ensures that ants do not get a chance to claim ownership on your goods.
  • Keeping infested items under hot sun is the easiest way to get rid of ants. Due to heat they escape to a shady area within minutes. If the infested food items are expensive or very large in quantity to discard, it may make sense to shoo the ants away, clean properly where feasible and use it. But the thought that these ants might have camped there for days, adding their body waste and other impurities, makes it difficult to convince ourselves that we can re use it.
  • Change location: Ants take several hours to locate a food item and another few hours to march their army towards the same. Couple of times a day, move the food item from one place to another. By relocating their target, you’ll buy several hours of time.
  • Ants make their way through plastic bags and even supposed to be air tight containers-so extra tight containers are essential. All steel containers are the best-plastic containers are highly vulnerable as we may not close it tightly or the gap between lid and the container might be enough for an ant to squeeze in.
  • Haven’t seen ants attacking food items kept inside refrigerator-so that can be one safe place to keep it, but again, space inside the refrigerator will be limited.
  • Giving them a bait or trying to compromise with them will not work-if you keep a small qty reserved for ants, they consume the one on offer and attack the main consignment as well-so double loss. So no revenue sharing or seat sharing agreement with ants- its either them or you.
  • Water is an effective barrier-they can’t swim and cross. But difficult to make use of this idea.
  • Just like we have mobile signal jammers-which prevent mobile devices from receiving signal, wish some scientists invest an ant jammer-which ensures that ants fail to detect a possible food item by smell or other parameters. (Don’t think they search visually) We already have devices which attract mosquitoes and electrocute them.
  • I’m not aware of any counter animal that can be used against ants (For example, if rats and rodents pose a menace we can have a pet cat which will reduce this problem). So ants need to dealt manually.
  • What are the best ways to make an ant get lost? Any idea?
  • Are institutes like CFTRI (Central Food Technology and Research Institute) doing something about this issue? Can be an interesting assignment if they wish to take up the challenge.
  • I've only seen them carrying solid food. Won't they need some liquid food too? How do they transport and store water and other liquids?
  • Since ants store food for future, I am sure they would have enough stock to survive the recession phase. If somebody can study their storage habit (for how many days they're storing in advance) we may get some idea when ants anticipate recession to end? Also if I had an opportunity I would recommend ants to change their strategy-instead of stealing and storing, they should focus on being self sustainable, by learning how to grow/produce their own food.
Its only in movies we’ve seen alien creatures taking over our plannet. But if we’re not careful enough, ants will slowly take over our kitchen-so we need to unite and defend ourselves.. hehe.

These were some of my random thoughts on ants. Feel free to comment and add your thoughts regarding this.

Also read: AWPT Pet care centre * Cute squirrels of Agra Fort * Making Tomato rasam in easy steps * My dog marcus *