Spam visitors to your site – Good or Bad?

Quite often, when you’ve launched your own blog or site, you’re pretty much interested to know how many “hits” you are getting. You deploy Google Analytics to track stats for your site. And suddenly, you see your hits soaring up. Happy? Wait…

Have you checked your Google Analytics report and see that the top referrer to your site is either one of these:

  • semalt.com
  • buttons-for-websites.com
  • fbdownloader.com
  • darodar.com
  • 7makemoneyonline.com

Sample the below:
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Attended a workshop at office, facilitated by Sarandeep Singh last Saturday – what a session it has been!!

Personally, I liked the way Sarandeep delivered the workshop, full of real-life anecdotes and examples, never making a dull moment and 9 hours passed like a jiffy! This was unlike trainings and workshops where you start yawning and felling sleepy halfway through. The workshop was good enough to keep your interests alive and at the end of it, there was one or the other  takeaway for everyone to keep.

A very good session in a long time!

I personally liked Sarandeep as a person. Couple of things struck a cord and I can feel some wavelength matching. Sarandeep also does some work for society and at the end of the session, before leaving for home, I did asked him if I can associate in some way or the other with his social initiatives and contribute.

Looking forward to it! 🙂

Feels proud to be associated with a group which is working selflessly towards the well being of the Himalayas and the natives. Devil On Wheels or DoW (http://www.devilonwheels.com/india) is an aggregation of like minded travellers who are bound together with the common thread of love to the Himalayas and essentially spreading the word about Responsible Travel.

DoW has been working for the J&K flood relief from the very beginning along with other organisations who are there with an aim to provide assistance to affected people without any return. The best part is, the entire operation is run on the donation of items rather than cash (which could have been mismanaged) and through roping in corporates, they have been able to make an impact.

Do read the story below as published in Hindustan Times, original link: Digital soldiers emerge heroes in Kashmir flood rescue

In Kashmir’s massive flood rescue operations, a group of digital volunteers – some based as far away as the United States and Singapore – has emerged as unlikely heroes, whose selfless service on social media has helped save thousands of stranded people across the devastated Himalayan region.

The Twitter account, @jkfloodrelief, set up by the group is among the foremost platforms curating and disseminating relief and rescue information from other users and putting it up on their handle and dedicated website http://www.jkfloodrelief.org. So useful is the information provided by the group that even the Indian army and the National Disaster Management Authority have been monitoring their updates and acting upon them.

Initially, before communications broke down, the group, working across time zones, depended on the relatives of those stranded and contacts on the ground for information. Their experiences during similar disasters in the past – Uttarakhand floods and Cyclone Phailin – encouraged them to start their efforts early and keep them more coordinated. When telecom networks crashed, the group still managed to relay information through the army.

“Our goal is to update on priority needs for relief, donation collection centers, and donation transportation logistics for public awareness on what to help via donations, where and how, and therefore, avoid mismatching of what is needed vs what is offered,” said Hemant Purohit, a 27-year-old computational social scientist on crisis informatics at Kno.e.sis Center in Ohio, United States. The center has set up a dedicated ‘Twitrus event’ which identifies the most used hashtags and most active users, bringing their tweets together in one click.

The group’s efforts supplemented those of the army which used social media extensively to coordinate its relief and rescue operations.

Meanwhile, the army has set up a dedicated WhatsApp group connecting all important stakeholders. All information received through social media channels are passed on to this group. Their efforts led to the rescue of a heavily pregnant woman on Tuesday.

frantic calls

“Initially we didn’t have a plan in place on to address these (messages on social media requesting help). So, we put in place a WhatsApp group with all major stakeholders and started sharing these messages there to properly facilitate help,” said an Army official explaining how the Indian forces are using social media.

Purohit tweets and retweets late into the night about relief and rescue efforts. His colleagues, some based out of Singapore, do the same, in between managing their regular jobs.

[b]The group is amply supported by voluntary organisations and corporates such as Twitter India, Kno.e.sis Center, Google India, Cipla, IndiGo Airlines, DeVil On Wheels, Biocon, and Emami.[/b]

“Goonj has supplied close to 2500kg of relief materials, Emami has supplied 560kg of feminine hygeine products, Cipla has supplied 126 cartons of meds, Indigo is supplying a large amount of basic essentials like soap, toothpaste, toothpowder, biscuits, etc. from Mumbai and is on standby to provide foodgrains, Uday Foundation has sent 200kg of relief that includes kids’ clothes, woolens and medicines and Biocon is on standby to provide insulin vials,” explains Bhavana Upadhyaya, another core member. [b]DeVil On Wheels has helped the organisation build connections with on-ground volunteers.[/b]

Social media organisations are not far behind as well.

“We have advised (them) on things like what kind of hashtags to use, what they should name their handle, etc.” explained a Twitter official. Meanwhile, Google has launched a Onebox to give helpline information to the Army, Home Ministry, and NDRF Control Room.

DoW is not an NGO to clarify, and doesn’t accepts any kind of donation – cash or kind. It encourages people to do things themselves when they are visiting the Himalayas. You can read about many such inspiring stories at the Responsible Travel section of DoW Forum

What would you do to ensure your intellectual property rights and online presence if you are a Navratna Oil PSU in India with largest customer base? What if the Navratna company is IOCL??

First thing would be to ensure that you get appropriate domain name which is short – absolutely fine! the organisation did that and got a 4-letter domain name.

What next? Would you ensure that you renew your domain well in advance of expiry? Of course yes.

BUT this is where the EPIC FAILURE is!!

The company I’m talking about is Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOC) and just noticed that their domain www.iocl.com has EXPIRED and the site link takes you to a page with links to Kasmir Tourism  packages!!!

Here’s the screenshot taken just a while ago…

IOCL Expired Domain

Screenshot of IOCL site taken on 06 August 2014 at 1730 hrs

 

Seems the babudom has been busy and sitting on top of the renewal notices! What a failure!!! 🙁

Kasol is known as mini-Israel of India, owing to large aggregation of tourists from Israel who spend months on months there, soaking in the nature and inhaling (you know what Kasol, Tosh and Malana are famous for). While last month couple of our friends from DoW went, they were appalled by the situation of non-biodegradable waste, being dumped directly into the Parvati River which originates just 58 Kms away from Man Talai Glacier below the Pin Parvati pass. This was when we decided to do something and got into organizing something.

Litter everywhere

Litter everywhere

Litter everywhere

Litter everywhere

Litter everywhere

Litter everywhere

 

With 30 odd participants, this trip was especially for creating an awareness against littering and non-biodegradable waste in Kasol.

On reaching the camp, the morals went down on learning that the Pradhan is absconding and no local support would be there, but of course for the camp owner – Om Negi. The morning also, it was raining quite a lot and our initial plan of going to the town early morning to try to talk and mobilize locals couldn’t materialize. Finally, the rains receded a bit around 09:15 and this is when we finally decided to go ahead with the drive, though on a reduced scale, with or without local support! So we all gathered and marched forward.

Deciding to go ahead

Deciding to go ahead

Let's go

Let’s go

We decided to clean the trail from Kasol leading to Chalal till the bridge, which being on the hind-side of the market, had become a sort of dumping ground. The rains didn’t stopped and intermittently became intense. Not even thinking about it, the Devils as we are, cleaned the entire trail! The high point of the drive was when two persons, smoking and littering were watching us cleaning the area. Suddenly they both got up and started picking up the litter spread by them as well as that in the surrounding. When we asked them to use gloves, they denied stating that they’d go away in 5 minutes and just wanted to undo what they had just done! So the drive is making impact! 🙂

Getting the "equipments"

Getting the “equipments”

Cleaning the trail

Cleaning the trail

Cleaning the trail

Cleaning the trail

Cleaning the trail

Cleaning the trail

Cleaning the trail

Cleaning the trail

Looking at the changed look of the trail, we all discussed further, and it was decided to move ahead and clean the market area too. So we formed groups and started in all three directions, cleaning all the while also talking to the shopkeepers.

Trail done, lets move to the market

Trail done, lets move to the market

Cleaning the streets

Cleaning the streets

Cleaning the streets

Cleaning the streets

Around 13:00, we were through with the entire market too and assembled to have tea/snacks, when some local ladies of the Mahila Mandal too gathered and joined the drive.

Mahila Mandal ladies, joining the drive

Mahila Mandal ladies, joining the drive

We then collected all the garbage at one place and were thinking about hiring a tempo to dump it at a proper dumping ground when the ladies advised us to let it remain there, as it was already packed, and that they’ll discuss the disposal in their meeting that was already scheduled for Tuesday. In fact some of the ladies were adamant to put the entire garbage in front of the Pradhan’s house, which we had to advise against! 😆 😆

Collected garbage

Collected garbage

Collected garbage

Collected garbage

Although it was raining on Sunday, we went ahead with the drive and cleaned almost entire Kasol. The results were lot better than what we expected and the next day we was every shop with a cardboard carton placed to collect the waste. And the trail? Just have a look 🙂

The trail, next day :)

The trail, next day 🙂

Overall, a very satisfying event! 🙂

With almost 110 million eligible voters, the General Elections for the lower house of the Indian Parliament – Loksabha – is obviously the grand-dad of all the elections in the world.

The current term of the 15th Loksabha will naturally expire on 31st May 2014 and therefore Election Commission of India has planned the General Election in 9 phases – first phase starting on 7th April and last phase on 12th May electing 543 members of Parliament. This is the longest running elections in the history of world with results being announced on 16th May. In terms of expenses, almost INR 35 billion will be spent on the elections that too excluding security and expenses by individuals and political parties.

With such huge logistics and expenses involved, we have to make sure that we vote and elect the right representative for ourselves.

I voted, did you?

 

I voted

Ink mark denoting that I casted my vote