Masala Digital

Marketing Masala in the Digital Age

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoins, the fast trending online currency, is become more ubiquitous by the hour.

Virgin Galactic accepts bit coins for space flight. Sir Richard Branson extends support.

http://mashable.com/2013/11/22/virgin-galactic-bitcoin/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-main-link

The University of Nicosia announced it will be the world’s first to accept bitcoins as tuition payment.

http://mashable.com/2013/11/21/bitcoin-tuition-payments/

GlassPay, a Google Glass app that lets you pay with Bitcoins.

http://mashable.com/2013/10/17/google-glass-bitcoin/

The price of bitcoins surpassed $600 on Monday as the Internet-based currency’s value jumped 60-fold over a year ago.

http://mashable.com/2013/11/18/bitcoin-600/

Cyprus Gets World’s First Bitcoin ATM

http://mashable.com/2013/03/26/cyprus-bitcoin-atm/

What exactly is Bitcoin?

Watch this 1:43 min video for a quick overview:

bitcoin-logoTo start with, Bitcoin is a digital currency. That means that if two people would like to conduct a transaction (like buying a watch online for instance) so long as the buyer has the number Bitcoins the seller requires for the good or service, a transaction can be conducted. Using a digital wallet, users can securely and privately transfer a Bitcoin in a transaction. Many have simply described it as “cash for the Internet.

Where do they come from?

Knowing that it is a form of digital currency, the next logical question is, where did it come from? Bitcoin proof of concept was first published in 2009 and has been in circulation ever since. Bitcoins are found through an elaborative discovery process known as “mining.”

The mining process involves harnessing computing power to process the Bitcoin transactions and ensure the system runs smoothly. Bitcoin operates through a complex set of mathematical equations and formulas that ensure each transaction is verified and secure, and needs a wealth of computer power to operate. In order to incentivize users to assist in the mining process, users who are involved in the mining process are in turn rewarded when their systems find new Bitcoins in the encrypted computer program.

Currently, about 12 million (and growing) Bitcoins have been found, but Bitcoin itself notes that the number of Bitcoins created each year is halved until Bitcoin issuance is completely halted when supply reaches 21 million.

How much are they worth?

Like any other currency, Bitcoin has a value that is set by supply and demand. However, very uniquely, unlike any other currency, it’s not regulated by any central authority, so it can be subject to rapid changes in price. As of the most recent check, a single Bitcoin is worth about $700, but users can also have fractional amounts of them. At the beginning of November, a single Bitcoin was worth right around $200 — but the currency has seen incredible fluctuation in value.

Some more news:

 Order a pizza with Bitcoins

http://mashable.com/2013/02/06/pizza-bitcoins/

Why Bankers Want You to Fear Bitcoin

http://mashable.com/2013/04/14/bitcoin-banking-comic/

$1.3 Million in Bitcoin Stolen in Major Online Robbery

http://mashable.com/2013/11/08/bitcoin-theft-tradefortress/

These Startups Are Betting Everything on Bitcoin

http://mashable.com/2013/04/12/bitcoin-startups/

Can the Internet Replace Big Banks?

http://mashable.com/2013/03/24/douglas-rushkoff-digital-economy/

The Bitcoin Taxman Cometh

http://mashable.com/2013/06/18/bitcoin-taxes/

Bitcoin Goes to Washington: The Case for and Against Digital Currency

http://mashable.com/2013/11/18/bitcoin-senate-testimony/

8 Vendors You Didn’t Know Accepted Bitcoins

http://mashable.com/2013/03/29/bitcoin-vendors/

Time for eCommerce folks to review their payment options, maybe?

Goodbye, Winamp

WinAmp Visualization - Milkdrop

I would say that WinAmp touched each and every one of us. From the early days of jerky Internet when WinAmp was king, and its visualizations plugin was stuff straight from heaven, this mp3 player had kept us hooked like no other music player we know.

iTunes, in comparison STILL struggles to gain acceptance and like most bundled music players, had to come with all sorts of tricks and tricks to ensure downloads. WinAmp, however was as pure as it gets, playing all formats and keeping it real – VLC, another open source favourite, did take over the world, but WinAmp will always remain special to a whole bunch of us. VLC, anyway could never crack through WinAmp’s simplicity.

Well, all that’s set to become history now.  Bought by AOL in June 1999 for over $80 million, Winamp is set to shut down in exactly one month. According to a post that went live Wednesday at 12:00pm ET on the Winamp website – Winamp.com and associated Web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download. Please download the latest version before that date. See release notes for latest improvements to this last release. Thanks for supporting the Winamp community for over 15 years.

Ars wrote an extensive feature on the rise and fall of Winamp in June 2012, detailing AOL’s mismanagement of the property since its dotcom-boom acquisition. As we reported then, Winamp continued to receive updates and make a tiny amount of money for AOL throughout the last 15 years. AOL even released the first Android version in 2010 and a Mac version in 2011.

While the company has declined to release official figures, former employees who worked on Winamp estimate its current revenue at around $6 million annually. And Winamp still has an estimated user base of millions worldwide, a small fraction of which live in the United States. All of that appears to be water under the bridge now.

Winamp-logo“There’s no reason that Winamp couldn’t be in the position that iTunes is in today if not for a few layers of mismanagement by AOL that started immediately upon acquisition,” Rob Lord, the first hire and first general manager of Winamp, told Ars in 2012.

As we bid goodbye, here are the last official download links:

For Mac | For PC | Android

Goodbye, old friend.

Awesome? Scary? or Simply Brilliant? :)

The weekend has been pretty interesting. I saw rebounds regarding Google and its shenanigans all across social networks and the Internet in general, and then woke up this morning to read more in print. Led to some light thinking on the matter, and I tried breaking these thoughts into three distinct and debatable trends that I have noticed about the BigO.

One champion for your business

On Saturday, Steve Rubel interviewed Jeff Jarvis’ about his new book, What Would Google Do? In the book, Jarvis breaks down Google’s practices into 12 distinct rules and then applies them to aging industries like media and advertising. Denuo/Publicis’s Rishad Tobaccowala points out how Google served an entirely new population of advertisers who didn’t have agencies and that enabled it to set new rules. Google sells performance instead of scarcity (a lesson the rest of media must learn in this post-scarcity economy). Because it rewards relevance, it encourages better, more effective advertising.

One number in your life

I picked up today’s newspaper and there’s Google again with its mega plans to unify the masses. Launched on March 5th, Google Voice is all set to revolutionize telephones.It unifies your phone numbers, transcribes your voice mail, blocks telemarketers and elevates text messages to first-class communication citizens. And that’s just the warm-up. Google Voice began life in 2005 as something called GrandCentral. It was, in its own way, revolutionary. More on it here.

One fellow to help you out on the web

If search wiki wasn’t enough, Google now has made available the “preferred site” option to all its users. The service allows users to overweight certain web sites in the search engine result pages. Once you sign up, Google recommends pages from your history that you tend to visit when searching. You have the option to make these sites (or any other) a preferred destination.

Without even getting into the whole business/ SEO/ SEM discussion, I can only hope that you can turn it off – Half the fun about search is the fact that you can find the “unexpected” and stuff you haven’t seen before. I mean what is “search”, if you know what you’re gonna get?

One person who knows you better than you yourself!

So you worried just about how your search data was painting a DNA of who you are? Google  released 11 software applications for mobile phones that spell a fundamental change in our lives. Among the applications were functions such as text messaging, web browsing, a diary, Orkut – the company’s social networking offering – and Latitude, a GPS-based service that tracks you wherever you go. Innocent enough, perhaps. But combined they would allow Google to know what you are doing all of the time. A truly Orwellian development that has been described by privacy campaigners as “a catastrophic corruption of consent”.

Far-fetched? Not at all. The mobile phone industry has for years seen the potential for a rich market to develop in location-based services if only it could get its customers to agree. Google, on the other hand, has decided to take advantage of that market and it has sought to do so by appearing to be helpful. The rationale is simple – offer a service for free and the customer will not notice that they have given a company the right to know where they are at any time.

So now – considering the above, what do you think?

  1. Google is well on its way to create the “Empire
  2. Google is doing what all enterprises should do – consistently better their offering
  3. Google is retrograding the whole “Internet” story it fed on by killing basics like “free spirit”, “openness”, “surprises”, “sense of wonder” et al

Shake off that click, willya?

Its painful to see just how some myopic online marketers in India have shortchanged the medium.

In India, its been an uphill, albeit fun journey to convince traditional marketers to realize the online potential. Why even debate the fact that its simpler for most marketing managers to go along with traditional – considering they grew up with it and hey, they are assessed internally for stuff they do for a billion Indians…not the extra 0.3 above that eh? Hmm. Sobering thought.

Now instead of building the online story, the charisma, the wow and really, capitalizing on its niche value as the preferred medium of the “classes” – the early onliners tried making a quick buck and rep by exploiting the ultimate clincher – performance – a bit early in the game. All because, no marketer was paying attention to their incessant whine otherwise, and maybe they weren’t too good any other which way.

So, the whole “only a person clicks” was misconstrued into this magical sounding “direct” and “personal” story and sold in the name of “CPL” – effectively screwing up not just the user experience that was now inundated with ads, but also leading to malpractices like click frauds that cheated the brands.

All this done to a medium that is truly personal, and in a space where humans actually spend time with themselves.

Why advertise when you can talk here? Why hurry when we can build relationships? For once we have the opportunity to truly realize terms like CRM, Loyalty, Preference and desires like love. Let’s not screw it up any further, shall we?

And to the CPL media planners – hell, they are shaking the Wii now..go measure that! 😀

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  • Filed under: Web
  • Welcome Change!

    Welcome Mr. Obama…it has been a long wait!

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  • Filed under: News
  • Hello from IRCTC…

    Log on to IRCTC

    Book a ticket.

    Hit Print

    IRCTC

    Say Hi!

    Nice!

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  • Delhi can stop waiting for its buses now..

    Here’s the latest from our deal ol’ Delhi Transport Corporation, or more correctly, the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd.:

    After going the digital way with on-board GPS, the DIMTS fellows have now gone a step further by creating an Online Bus Information System that will help Delhi citizens plan their bus journeys, effectively cutting the wait-time at bus-stops to a minimal.

    Citizens can now track buses on Delhi roads in real time though DIMTS’ “Online Bus Information System”. Both AC and Non-AC buses plying on selected BRT routes and all the AC buses on different routes in Delhi can be tracked using this system. Rest assured, it won’t be long before the system is extended to ALL the routes & buses!

    ETA Display Click here to View the Estimated Time of Arrival of Buses on the Bus Stops

    virtualdisplaymap Click here to View Route-wise Expected Time of Arrival of Buses on Delhi Map (Google Map Integration!)

    OneView Click here to View the location of Buses on GIS Map of Delhi (Roll-over mouse on each stop. Green pointers are buses (incl registration numbers for ID)

    This is awesome stuff..and an example for others!

    More info can be found on the DIMTS website!

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  • Filed under: Web
  • Mumbai Terror and the role of new media

    Mumbai suffered one of its worst terror nightmares these last 3 days when armed terrorists took over strategic spots in Mumbai, leading to a bloodshed yet unparalleled in its gruesomeness.

    While the terror attacks received worldwide media coverage, it was no less covered extensively by citizen journalists and common people who used a host of digital mediums to add to the story. Internet, and new media tools, came on the forefront as reliable tools to track the terror drama.

    wiki_mumbaiA wikipedia page was constantly updated by vigilant users, providing a single point of reference.

    Many twitter feeds contributed to real-time reporting & status update, which were utilzed heavily by the administration, media as well as citizens to get regular updates as well as channelize real-time help.

    image

    Twitter feed for Mumbai

    Twitter-fed list of useful local numbers

    Post the attacks, these feeds have become the buzz-ground for discussions, opinions and to plan next steps to solve the problem at its roots.

    image A google maps page also became a ready reference guide, especially for people outside India to get a real-life perspective of where and how things were happening.

    image Vinu’s photostream was picked up by Fox News & CNN as well as multiple channels to provide real-time updates on all that was happening.

    image Over 2000 videos have flooded youtube post the attacks.

    image The MumbaiHelp blog has updated lists of all relevant helpline numbers as well.

    30% of Leisure time being spent Online: TNS

    via audiencematters

    A TNS global survey entitled Digital
    World, Digital Life, probing online behaviours and perspectives shows
    that, on average, people across the 16 countries surveyed are spending
    close to a third (30%) of their leisure time online.

    It appears we like our 30% digital time regardless of how much free
    time we have.

    Digital World, Digital Life found that respondents with
    up to 2 hours leisure time each week day, spent the same proportion of
    their leisure time online as respondents who had between 7 and 8 hours
    of leisure time on a week day.  This means there is no direct link
    between the amount of leisure time we have and how much of it we spend
    online.

    What are the top 5 activities that people undertake while online?
    TNS asked people to identify a range of activities in the month before
    they took the survey.

    A total of 81% had used a search engine to find
    information; 76% had looked up the news; 74% had used online banking;
    65% had looked up the weather; and 63% had researched a product or
    service before buying it. These activities are all inherently very
    practical.

    The highest ranking classic leisure activity – “watching a
    video clip” – only came in at number 8, with half (51%) saying they had
    done this in the past month. Another leisure activity – “listening to
    an audio clip” – came in at number 10 (44%).

    Arno Hummerston, Managing Director, TNS Global Interactive, said:
    “If our leisure time is so precious, then why do we on average spend
    almost a third of it using the internet? We believe it is because we
    are making more efficient use of our valuable time, specifically by
    using the internet – thereby allowing us to fit more into our lives.
    Being online helps people fulfil certain tasks and activities quickly
    and efficiently. By spending productive time online, we are actually
    making more time for leisure. With more social and entertainment
    activities available online, it is also easy to understand why our
    lives are becoming more digital.”

    Who and where are the most avid onliners in the world? Younger
    people under 25, as might be expected, are seriously engaged with
    online life. The under 25s surveyed in the report say they spend well
    over a third (36%) of their time online. On average, Chinese
    respondents under 25 spend half (50%) of their leisure time online.

    If the world is to take its lead from Japan and Korea – countries
    that are seen as being innovative and pioneering in the online world –
    then we can expect to spend even more time online. In those countries,
    respondents say they currently spend on average around two-fifths of
    their leisure time online.

    There are particular groups of people that are more avid users of
    the internet than others. For example, across the 16 countries
    surveyed:

    students spend 39% of their time online.

    US Housewives spend 38% of
    their leisure time online while in the UK, this was even more pronounced
    with almost half (47%) of housewives spending their leisure
    time online.This might be explained by the rapid expansion of online
    food shopping, particularly in the UK where online shopping expenditure
    in general now tops £1 billion per month (Source: Mintel 2008).

    The Digital World, Digital Life survey also underlined that mobile
    handsets are frequently used to connect to the internet.

    Worldwide, 1
    in 10 respondents surveyed say they connect to the internet once a day
    via mobile handsets. But Asia’s adoption trends imply significant
    growth prospects. Among the Japanese and Chinese respondents to the
    survey, for example, over a quarter of people access the internet over
    mobile connections at this once-a-day frequency.

    Just what money can buy…

    Thanks to Sean, I just caught this on youtube..

    Goes on as an attempt to say what money can’t buy…but halfway through the video, just what all it can really!

    Great work Bill. You wont be missed much, however.

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  • About MD

    Masala Digital is not just about Digital Marketing - it's about marketing in the digital age. The defining lines of marketing that segregated ATL, BTL & Digital hardly hold any water in the age of integrated marketing that assimilates effective practices across all available mediums to create truly integrated ideas. Masala Digital is the platform for sharing, collaborating and participating to add wings to these thoughts. You too can contribute..check out the "Contact Us" page for more information.