January 28, 2007

Canada Trip

Downhill Skiing rocks! I've been to Calgary (Canada) on Dec 26, and returned to Dallas on Dec 30. I experienced Downhill skiing, driving a car on snow-filled roads, and a delayed stay due to detour & flight-cancellations. I was accompanied by my friend.

January 25, 2007

Revenue Models for blogs & personal sites

Get paid per-month, per-view, per-action, and per-clickHere, I'd like to write a very brief note on four unique revenue streams for blogs. These four are all different with each laying focus on a different aspect of advertising (per-month text-links, per-view, per-action, and per-click). They are more prominent than others in their respective ad-revenue model targeting small blogs and personal websites.

Text Link Ads

Text Link Ads(TLA) offers 2 ways to monetize your blog. One is by displaying Affiliate banners + buttons, and the other is by showing text-links on your blog. Further, Text Link Ads (TLA) network is compatible with contextual advertising such as Google Adsense.

Using Affiliate banners + buttons, you will be paid US$25 for every successful referral. The term "successful" in this context means that a visitor results in a sale or gets accepted into their publisher program.

The second method of monetization (display of Text-links) lets you display flat-rate static text-only link ads on your site. Ads are purchased by advertisers on a monthly basis, and you may earn approx USD15-USD50 per link per month. The Payout is 50/50, and is paid monthly by check or paypal.


AdBrite is basically a marketplace for digital advertising. In addition to earning revenue from pay-per-click ads, you can sell your ad-space via an "Your Ad Here" link. You can also set your own pricing scheme, and control what ads to show on your blog. It enables you to define various pricing models such as 7 day / 1 month advertising periods.

Adbrite also offers an impressive affiliate program for its users. You get 50% of the revenue that your referred webmaster earns in first 3 months, and 10% to follow for next 9 months.


The Amazon Associates program lets you choose any item from their online catalog, and promote them on your site. The good news is that Associates are paid up to 8.5% of the selling price for the refered items. Its free and easy to get yourself an Amazon-Associate-ID from Amazon.com

I found an interesting web-tool (Blogger-Toolkit) that can help you to quickly get started. This tool can automatically display relevant amazon items on your blog. The relevancy is based on the keywords that you can specify for every post. All you need is the Amazon Associate ID to begin with. To gain a greater control over the display of Amazon products, you may use BMash for your post.

Google Adsense

Google Adsense is a god-sent monetizing opportunity for small content publishers. You can signup for Google Adsense for free before you define your ad-space. When you are approved, Google will display contextual ads in your ad-space. When a visitor clicks on the Ad, you get paid from Google.

The earned revenue is handed over to the client on a per-month basis. However, the revenue structure is not disclosed by Google. No different from others, Google also offers a referral program that you may be interested. As a word of caution, get yourself familiar with the rules & limitations of the Adsense program before you get started.

January 18, 2007

Everyday Entrepreneurs

I came across an excellent blog titled "Everyday Entrepreneurs". As the name suggests, It has some good posts that are especially informative for people aspiring to become entrepreneurs. I am just enlisting some of those that caught my attention... Check it out!

I also find OnStartups.com to be a good resource for entrepreneurs.

January 16, 2007

Using Pull-Quotes

An example of a basic pull quote.I came across a blog article that suggests adding Pull-Quotes for a more professional blog appearance. I tried it here, and I liked it. Its indeed a good practice to highlight the punch-line of a blog post, thus increasing its clarity, and saving time for my readers. Check out the original blog-post about Pull-Quotes for a more informative read.

January 14, 2007

Guru - The movie for inspiration

Y'day, I watched one of the best films in the recent years... "GURU". Its an excellent hindi film that inspired me, and sure million others to become a legend. The movie makes a deeper sense as its a true story (most of it) based on the life of Dhirubhai Ambani. I indeed have great respect for Dhirubhai Ambani, and awe at his one-man accomplishment of building the Reliance empire.

The direction, the music, and the performances are speechless... absolutely superb! Check out this insightful review of the film by a fellow-blogger Balaji Viswanathan. This review maps the movie characters to the real people in Dhirubhai's life, and briefly analyzes the state of Indian economics. Its a good read.

January 12, 2007

Certification Programs - Good for all

I recently read an article that discusses whether certification exams are a scam? No way... Here are my thoughts on it.

In my opinion, certification exams are good examples of an all-win strategy. In my opinion, certification exams are good examples of an all-win strategy. Everyone gains! Having got a couple of SUN certifications myself, I know how beneficial they can be. Lets analyze the benefits...

By offering a certification, the underlying technology (product) grows, and extends its reach among the techies. Slowly, you can find an increasing awareness about that technology in the Industry. The company that owns that technology benefits due to its increasing awareness.

The company that organizes the certification exam charge the applicants, and hence can earn easy money. Finally, the applicant gets to learn the technology inside out in-order to crack the exam. The certification exam is a good incentive for aspirants to learn & master something new. Its now become a trend... a simple way to stand out from the rest. As a result, a certified professional finds it relatively easy to get a job, ask for a promotion, impress the boss, ...

I personally support the concept of certification exams always~ The point of debate is whether the aspirant is asked to pay too much for taking up the certification. I feel the cost of most certification exams are appropriate. Mind you~ Making them too cheap will lessen their value.

For the exams that I am aware of, memorization does not help. So, the candidate should genuinely know his subject. However, no promise can be made about his practical knowledge of the product.

January 09, 2007

Ford reserves a place for Microsoft

Ford Motor Co. has teamed up with Microsoft to provide an excellent integration of in-car mobile and entertainment systems. The whole concept relies on Bluetooth or USB cable to serve as a communication medium. Here is an excerpt from ComputerWorld:

The Ford-exclusive technology -- based on Microsoft Auto software called Sync -- allows users to operate just about any mobile phone or digital media player using voice commands or the vehicle's steering wheel or radio controls, according to the companies.

I feel this more exciting than GM's onstar service. Of-course, they are completely different and each have their own purpose. But, this in-sync feature by Ford entices all its customers (youth, families, businessmen, techies, geeks, gals,...) in buying its automobiles. I wonder how much good could on-star service bring to GM. Its a smart investment by Ford.

January 05, 2007

BStir updated

Earlier this week, we were working on the code behind BStir. So, you might have seen the BStir module on your blog not performing very well last week. But now, things are in place, and the code is stabilized. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Whats new?
You know that BStir relies on Google Blog-Search for retrieving your earlier blog posts. But there are times when Google Blog-search api may not have any results to return, or fails to return the results.

So now, we have added a backup solution. In the case of no results from Google Blog API, we fetch your blog-posts using Yahoo search API. So at all times, BStir shall work as it claims.

UPDATE: An option to specify a particular character-encoding scheme is now available. It defaults to UTF-8 (unicode) charset.

January 04, 2007

Contribute to see India Shining

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I came across a very interesting audio-slideshow that talks about the current scenario, and the on-going efforts to bring growth in India. The presentation is very well done, and the content is good too. Check it out if time permits!

Here are some valid statements that caught my attention in this audio-slide... The globalization has caused rich to get richer, and the poor get poorer in India. Inspite of all the bells & whistles we've been hearing about India's growth in the recent past, there has been a very less impact on the Indian villages. I also learnt about Akshaya Patra (Unlimited food for life), and American India Foundation.

Its very true that the rich & the educated should take more initiatives to serve India. Its our country... should'nt we care enough to see smiling faces among the children of our country. Its a call to the whole nation... every individual in India, and every layman should serve the needy. I'd like to lay more stress for all the educated class, the rich, NRIs, entrepreneurs, social workers, and more importantly the youth.

The reason why India has not yet attained 'A Developed Nation' status is only because of the lack of benevolent nature among all us. Just blaming at the politicians is not a solution. There are good & bad politicians in every country and India is no exception. There should be an inherent nature among the people to lend a helping hand to the needy.

We've seen many people who sacrifice their lives to serve the society. But one such person in a million cannot make much of a difference. Realistically, none of us need to sacrifice our lives to serve others. We just need to make it a part of our lifestyle to help others.

Here is a plan-of-action to get you started. Do a quick search for charity institutions, orphanages, etc... in your neighborhood and learn about the ways you can contribute to it. It can be giving money, food, clothes, doing volunteer work, etc... Check out my post on Charity.

Lets all join hands, and bring fortune to India.

January 01, 2007

25 ways to transform yourself

The Spiritual Guru and Art-of-Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar mentioned 25 ways to transform yourself and live a better lifestyle. His detail commentary for each of the 25 points can be read from 'The Week'...(section 1 - 2 - 3). This article can be a good start for setting-up your new year resolution. Wishing you all a very happy new year~ God bless 2007!

I wish I could quote every line from the article, since each one of them can bring enlightenment and transformation. But, I will let you read it from the source. Following is just an excerpt from the intro-paragraph of section-1.

In this era of science and technology, we can be creative and productive, and at the same time not lose the humanness that we are all born with. Just material things or comfort alone do not make you comfortable. You may have a good bed to sleep on, but unable to sleep because of insomnia or worry! You need to get a broad understanding about yourself and your priorities. Clarity in the mind makes things much easier-understanding your basic emotions like love, your interaction with people around you, knowing about your ego or what your intellect or mind is saying to you and introspection will give you a few minutes of relaxation which is very vital. So, what is most important is introspection about one's own life and how to improve the quality of life-this intention itself will open many doors for you to feel better about yourself. First of all, find out for yourself whether you are healthy.
Health is...

Here is the cheat-sheet:
  1. Review the context of life.

  2. Know life's impermanence.

  3. Make your smile cheaper.

  4. Be enthusiastic and praise others.

  5. Make meditation a part of your life.

  6. Go to the most beautiful place

  7. Communicate effectively.

  8. Take out time for your self.

  9. Better the world around you.

  10. Nourish your emotions.

  11. Plan short and long term goals.

  12. Prayer is a vital tool.

  13. Implement the changes if needed.

  14. Identify your limitations.

  15. Do not lose your friends.

  16. Don't look for perfection.

  17. Let us be unpredictable.

  18. Have a sense of humour

  19. Don't be afraid to make mistakes

  20. Overcome your prejudice.

  21. Feel that "I am blessed"

  22. Do random acts of kindness.

  23. Be a student always.

  24. Dream the impossible.

  25. Compare your performance.