Sameer Agarwal

His views, thoughts, introspection and rants

Archive for the ‘web’ Category

What’s the buzz about Digital Marketing?

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Seriously. Everyone seems to be talking about it. Suddenly. Maybe it’s just the world around me. Maybe it’s just the world in me. But it seems that everyone has recently discovered Digital Marketing as a strategic area for focus. And yes, I’m using the word ‘everyone’ in the corporate sense here.

What’s so new about it I ask? Is the term ‘Digital Marketing’ being used because of the trigger provided by ‘Social Media’? Why, the internet has been around for what seems like forever now. Isn’t that digital? Weren’t companies marketing on the internet? Was that not digital marketing? What is so different now?

Maybe Social Media is what is different… Maybe it’s about mobile marketing. Well, what maybe! I think that’s what IT IS. Analyst after analyst is talking about this huge opportunity. In the B2C (no surprises here) and in the B2B space (whoa!). Sure why not. After all it’s all about user generated content. Your users are your customers. And they are building content now. And they are listening to their fellow customers and not You or the Press necessarily. So you go where your customers are. Because customer is king.

So fundamentally the marketer is doing what she ought to do. Good for them (marketer). Good for us (consumer). Just that the marketer is closer to the customer now. Not a bad thing for sure! And that I guess is the buzz about digital marketing…

But what’s so fundamentally different about Digital Marketing I ask. Nothing really. Just that the technology is different. Or is there anything more? Has the ‘different’ technology impacted the behavior, or sensitivities of the customer?

Well I think it has. The customer today is much more informed and empowered than ever. To my mind, marketers have but no choice to be completely naked before their customer today. No more fancy designer clothes to enhance your endowments…! (pun certainly intended). You are what you are – and there’s no escaping it – just do your best job to be seen everywhere. That’s quite an irony though! By that logic a “less endowed but easily available” ‘thing’ will attract more customers!

Some things never change I guess….Digital Marketing being no exception.

Written by sameer

August 10th, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Social Investing – Try

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Imagine you’re a 30 something who has some money to dabble with and are NOT an i-banker (or the likes). Actually take out the 30 something bit; you could be whatever age but meet the following criteria:

  • Have some money AND want to invest in stocks
  • Internet Savvy

If you meet the above criteria, how do you pick which stock is right for you? Do fundamental analysis? Yeah right! Do you have the skills, the time and/or the patience to do it? Well of course you could access some syndicated research, or read opinions from ‘experts’. But then, so many people are saying so many different things. What else could you do? Umm..

Well, you’ll ask your dad, or your friend who always seems to be making money in stocks, or a random colleague… a someone you trust. Now don’t lie. MOST of us pick stocks like these – do what our ‘circle’ is doing. Right?!

How about this? How about getting opinions from your dad, your mom, your pan-wallah, your friend, an analyst and another analyst, and your friend’s dad and your friend’s dad’s friends and their friends and their sons and their pan-wallahs and their sahabs and their friends? Whoa! More complex than fundamental analysis? Well not really. How about having a community of random stock buyers who share their picks and then leverage that collective opinion? After all, the stock markets (Indian stock markets being no exception) seem to react more on perceptions and emotions than anything else.

Buy that point? Go to and check it out for yourself. There are reasons I am advertising/reviewing them:

  • This concept is close to my heart. Read my previous entry in this regard – Honey I’m late again
  • I think the MoneyVidya guys have done it as good as/better than I visualized it
  • This is a useful concept and perhaps readers of this blog could get some leverage for their stock-picking from MoneyVidya

Ok so I said I’m advertising and reviewing MoneyVidya. Let me do the latter now:


  • Great UI – easy to use, intuitive
  • The copy on the site is great! Very easy to understand, concise; very professional
  • Registration process is simple; the data-capture forms are pretty neat
  • Navigating the site is pretty simple. I did not have to struggle moving from one section to another

Improvement Areas:

  • Registration/all forms on site.Clicking on Submit gets a “Web page can’t be displayed”. Refreshing/reloading the page solves the issue. But many people may give up there. Don’t know if it was just me? I was using Chrome browser.
  • “My dashboard” could have “what’s this/help” links. For example, I was clueless about how I acquired the “Improver” and “Helper” friends. Same goes for all pages – for example when you’re posting a tip it won’t hurt to explain what “Stop Loss Limit” is.
  • In the search results, it will be great to have ‘mouse-overs’ on the Buy/Sell sentiment percentages. For example, if it is a Reliance Ind 100% sell sentiment then it won’t hurt to know if 100 people think so, or just one. Also, for stocks that don’t have any ‘sentiments’ could perhaps be indicated as such. Overall, I think the search results UI could improve. 
  • It may be technically complex, but it will be great to have search crawl over all ‘searchable areas’. For example, if I searched for ‘Reliance Industries’ I expect to see buy/sell sentiments, discussions, polls; everything about this stock. Again, I think the overall Search/Advanced Search module needs improvement

However having mentioned all the improvement areas that I did, I still think MoneyVidya is your best bet. Kudos to Gautam and team (people behind MoneyVidya).

Written by sameer

March 23rd, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Marketing Gimmick…. perhaps for a noble cause?

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Khojguru seems to be yet another classifieds/city listing/yellow pages site. I say “seems to be” since my five odd minutes of surfing on this site could not tell me much. Anyway, not so much a review on the site, but a thought on how Anurag Agarwal, perhaps the founder of the site, is trying to promote it.

What do you do when you’ve hardly any differentiation in your product and when you haven’t been able to position it right. “Isko sab pata hai” (meaning this knows everything; that’s the tag line on the site), par isse mujhe kuch nahin pata chalta hai! (but this hardly tells me anything!).

Take a guess. Do you give freebies to everyone who joins? Do you do an ad blitzkrieg? Do you sponsor events? Huh. All that’s old!

Khojguru promises to donate Re 1 for every registration on their site to the National Defence Fund. Given the high voltage patriotism after the recent Mumbai attacks, this sure is going to  persuade a user to spare a minute for registration. Think about it – Re 1 for every registration – I’m sure if they reach a critical mass, they’ll get back at least 10 times for every user. Neat, hmmm!

PS: Don’t ask me if this persuaded me to register ;)

Written by sameer

January 6th, 2009 at 10:33 am

Posted in Thoughts,web

Tagged with , ,

How wise are crowds really?

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A lot has been said about the wisdom of crowds, and how the ‘crowds’ built Wikipedia. In fact, to a large extent this assumed ‘wisdom’ is the premise of everything that’s happening in the Web 2.0 space.

Josh Catone of ReadWriteWeb makes a good point of having some rules to get the best out of crowds in his recent post (as a follow-up to a similar post last year).

  • Crowds should operate within constraints
  • Not everything can be democratic
  • Crowds must retain their individuality
  • Crowds are better at vetting content than creating it

These rules may make a lot of sense because we all know the “herd behavior” and how “dumb” it can get at times. But like most other things in life, there is no best way of doing ‘it’, and surely “one size doesn’t fit all”. Now ‘that’ is an art more than a science, so know the rules, but don’t always play by them I guess…

Written by sameer

May 27th, 2008 at 11:11 am

Web 2.0 in the organization

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Someone asked this question on LinkedIn and I was surprised to see responses like – “who has the time to blog” and “its and extra overhead” etc. Here are my two cents on the topic (that I posted as a reply there):

Completely echo Andrew’s thoughts. Just to add – knowledge workers need to ‘ask’ and ‘tell’ to be more effective in the way they do their work. Also, they are only interested in contextual knowledge – that means they only want to know what ‘they’ want to know. Given all these ‘common-sense’ observations, it makes sense to deploy contextual tools – and what’s better than Web 2.0.

A blog can be used effectively for internal communications and believe it or not, knowledge sharing. They are far better than “best practice documents” produced in a ‘standard’ and lengthy format, tagged un-intuitively. There are examples galore and I can respond back if someone disagrees. We have used these techniques very successfully at HP.

Afterthought.Some people have mentioned that it’s an overhead given they already receive 50+ emails a day. My only comment on that is that Blogs = Less Email. Think about an org announcement that needs to be sent out to all employees over email. Contrast that to it being available on the blog. Go figure the bandwidth saving! More – employees can subscribe to the feed of the blog and view the notifications at their own convenience. Lastly, everything put on the blog is available literally forever, whereas “email is where knowledge goes to die”.

Written by sameer

May 10th, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Posted in web

Tagged with , , , , ,

All I want is Everything…

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It didn’t take me more than a week to get what I wanted (check my previous article on this). I am on WordPress now, and that too on my own domain. It really is a 5 minute installation. The customization took some time, and that too only because I’m sort of fussy about the finer details. I’m loving it!

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May 10th, 2008 at 2:52 am

Posted in Feelings,web

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Web 2.0, no 3.0. Wait there’s another name!

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Bernard Lunn calls it the “Mainstream Web”. He believes that the Mainstream Web is all about revenue, fixing the one big weakness of Web 2.0! Read the full article here.

This seems to be an apt reply for an earlier post I made in this regard. Well that’s social networking for you – it seems to have answered my question. Or has it!

Written by sameer

April 29th, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Posted in web

Claim your blog in the world!

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VerveEarth allows you to plot your content (blog, site) on an interactive map of the world. Down to the street. Check my plot here. A tool like this comes with several possibilities, the most promising perhaps that you can meet other bloggers in your neighbourhood!

Written by sameer

April 28th, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Posted in stumbles,web

Track and Compare Blog Trends

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Check out – Trendpedia, a blog search engine and trend tracking tool. Discovered this site here (a complete description of Trendpedia is available)

Written by sameer

April 28th, 2008 at 11:52 am

Posted in stumbles,web

Net Neutrality

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Stumbled across this documentary on Net Neutrality – “a provocative and worrying take on the future of the internet with some interesting historical precedents”. (quoted from this article by Dave Snowden)

Save the Internet Rock the Vote

Written by sameer

April 28th, 2008 at 11:16 am

Posted in stumbles,web