Search for Idols

Indian Idol Anu Malik The reality TV show “American Idol” has triggered a new trend – Idol search! TV channels all over the world are searching for idols – or talents. This search is not only limited to the television screen, but it has also proliferated onto the stage in various forms. Although the primary objective of this kind of shows is to screen for talent,  in reality (excuse the pun) it is nothing but an entertainment show. The excitement, the drama, and the occasional emotional outbursts, are all part of the show. Undoubtedly, such shows do bring many talented men, women and children to the limelight, but is this the right way to do explore talent?  In many cases, the exploration turns to exploitation – especially for the young participants. They have to go through a grueling screening process, sustain a tremendous pressure to perform, and then handle a barrage of criticism from the celebrity judges.  I know in one dance show, a young girl couldn’t take the judges criticism anymore and had a nervous breakdown resulting in a paralytic fit. In several instances the young competitors sacrifice their education to continue the show. But the tragedy is, in most cases the winner is not judged by the celebrity panel whose criticism these young participants have to encounter, but rather by the audience through cell/mobile phone text messages (SMS). And in this process, the wireless carrier mints money. I am sure the show also gets their share of this income too.

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The Elusive Alexa Rank and How to Improve It

Alexa ranking is now the defacto standard for determining web popularity – the less the rank number the higher is your popularity. For example Google has the highest rank – 1. Most online advertisers use Alexa rank as the key metric to decide whether to spend their precious advertising dollars on a site.

However, the way Alexa computes a sites rank is  by measring how many visitors are viewing your site using a browser that has an Alexa tool bar installed. In other words, if a visitor do not have the Alexa tool bar installed, that visit does not count at all. Well, apparently there are are other variables used in computing the rank, but most webmasters and SEO pundits agree that the Alexa tool bar is the key instrumentation used in computing this elusive number.

One of the best ways of improving a web sites Alexa rank is to convince your visitors to download and install the Alexa tool bar (quite an unobtrusive element though) on their browser.  So if you are reading this now, download and install the toolbar and help improve my rank. However, if you are using one of the less popular web browsers like Google Chrome, then you (and me) are out of luck.

The other less effective ways are things like, installing Alexa widgets on your site, increasing the number of incoming links, use techniques like posting on Asian forums (apparently Alexa is more popular in Asia) etc. Google the term “how to improve Alexa rank” and you’ll find tons of advice.

But I think the only way to make it work for you is to get tons of traffic to your site.

ETV Bangla New Schedule for USA

ETV BanglaETV Bangla has changed its broadcast schedule in USA. They claim that the schedule is now follows the current Kolkata broadcast schedule only with the time shifted. In other words a show at 8.00pm in Kolkata will be broadcast at 8.00pm Eastern in USA. Although, now we have the privilge of watching the current shows instead of  a huge lag, the popular serials have now fast forwarded quite a bit with lot of story being lost in the process. The scheduling also doesn’t seem to be stabilzed – we often have to experience erratic programming.

The second issue is that the advertisements seem to have increased quite a bit. A short segment of broadcast is followed by a prolonged advertisement most of which are irrelevant for US market (I don’t think we are interested in Baygon Spray or Glucon-D).

The third issue is that ETV does not bother to update their listings with Direct-TV database and hence it makes DVR (aka Tivo, PVR) recording a major problem. I had once sent an email to ETV, and they did update it once. But that’s it.

Let’s hope ETV gets their act together soon and make our subscription worth it.

How to Bring Traffic to Your Blog or How to Make Money with Your Blog!

Make Money on your Blog and WebsiteAnybody who is even the least interested in making money with their blog has done a google search this title phrase and have landed up with thousands of articles, posts, advertorials, videos and other material that provide a hash-up of few different techniques that can bring in the greens. But when you look at them with some curiosity, you’ll see that almost all off them give you a bullet list of techniques that can bring in traffic and can potentially bring in some dough. You’ll learn about SEO techniques to improve search engine rankings, you’ll know how important it is to have in-links to your site, you’ll discover what article marketing is, and how to effectively use the social networking and bookmarking sites (Facebook, Orkut,, Reddit, Stumbleupon etc. etc.). You’ll know the benefits of enlisting your blog to multiple blog networks and directories, tricks to improve Alexa rankings and the secrets of setting up RSS feeds for potential subscribers. All these techniques are good and work to some degree to bring in traffic to your blog – but believe me, millions of bloggers are doing just the same. Traffic is king to any blogger, and whatever published technique exists today are being tried over and over again. The problem is that the search engines (google, yahoo etc) and traffic ranking sites (like Alexa) keep on changing their strategy frequently and hence many techniques become stale. Continue reading