Monday, November 20, 2006

Another citizen journalism initiative

I just came across a new citizen journalism initiative called Instablogs. This site is designed like a regular newspaper with the usual sections like Politics, sports, business, entertainment etc. Although this is actually just a collection of blogs, the articles have more news than opinion, in the sense that the stories are structured like news reports rather than blogs.

I am sure that there must be a lot of sites like this, but I think most of them have a blog feel to them rather than a newspaper feel. So, Instablogs stands out in that respect. Another interesting thing is that this site is based out a of Shimla, a small, sleepy tourist town located in North India. It gave me a sense of how the internet revolution can transcend geography.

I could not really understand their revenue model by looking at the site. I didnt see much advertising, other than the google ads. I will try and find it out.

On the whole, I felt that although the quality of the reports was not all that great, the variety was good. It is definitely a good start.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Free domain names- Courtesy Microsoft

Starting Nov 15, anyone can pick up unregistered domain names for free! This service is being offered by Microsoft as part of their service called Office Live . In addition to the free domain name, the service also includes a Professional, hosted Web site, Easy-to-use design tools,
5 business e-mail accounts and Web site traffic reports! How cool is that!
Although this service is aimed at small businesses, individuals can use it too. When I first learnt about it, it made me wonder how Microsoft would profit from it. But an article in New York Times explained Microsoft's profit model. According to the article

Microsoft makes no pretense: Office Live is intended to make money. But it will do so very cleverly, sometimes almost invisibly. For example, if you do sign up for a payroll service through Accounting Express, Microsoft gets a cut. When you place search-engine ads with MSN Search, Microsoft gets a few cents per customer response for that, too.

In the free Basics plan, big, blinky banner ads appear above the e-mail center and address book module. Finally, Microsoft hopes that if it helps your business along enough, you’ll eventually upgrade your free account to one of the more elaborate paid plans.
I think this is a great service. But I wonder what this will mean for companies that are currently in the business of registering domain names. Will this drive them out of business? Probably not..because not many companies can operate with just 5 business email ids. But I guess it could still cause a dent by taking away small businesses.