Scrutiny – Wink.com, The People Search Engine

I spend many hours infront of my computer with online world and every site that becomes a part of my daily life needs to go through a close scrutiny. Today I decided to do a scrutiny for “The People Search Engine – Wink”.
Wink


My First Impression
(Call it my first 30 sec impression) My First Impression based on the mail from Wink Staff and an example profile of David Beach (Director of Product Management at Wink).

  • Wink can be the much awaited platform to consolidate one’s online activities.
  • I might use wink only for consolidating my online activities.
  • It will allow people to search with my name and using my profile they can find my other web presence point. Kind of better lens than squidoo.

Surface level Scrutiny
Someone once said, “What matters to the visitor is what they see”. I was surprised when I saw the unusual options for few fields. Look at the Gender, “Undecided”????? (Haven’t seen something like this, I would rather have put optional radio button. Also I had to click on the status to understand that it is about “Marital Status”, it is ok to put status but better to have marital status. As the book says, “Do not make me think“)
Wink signup

I was impressed with this section (It was fast and impressive)
Wink Signup for address

Oh, why this happened (I am sure Wink team can find a better error message, I was happy to see Kolkata on my Map, a smaller message, sorry unable to track deeper would have been better. I am impressed here though, good work).
Wink address signup

Next Step is scary one (sorry its not a bug but a perception problem, thanks to all the poping social networking sites), so I decided to skip this. I did not want to send the mails to our alumni groups and other common groups, have you guys taken care of it? At least the famous groups account (like googlegroups, yahoo groups and other famous ones) should be taken care of.
Wiki sending mails to friends

After skipping the above steps I came to the page which attracted me the most, the consolidation of all my social activities.
social networking sites under wink
I filed a lot of my accounts where only the url was needed. I did not put the username and password (just to give it a test first) for some of the social networks. Also all the sections were pending an approval (I did not get this approval part, an explanation would have been appreciated more).

Bugs
The mybloglog section is not working properly, it is taking the url wrong (it is taking it as myblog, did I do something wrong?). Rest of the sections are working fine. Atleast faster than Squidoo lens.

Final words from the marketing dimension

  • I am still not sure, how will I use it on a day to day basis. I have consolidated some of my online activities there. I can only use it as my web lens, or the starting page for reference. Here you made my life a little troublesome, why not have a url like http://wink.com/ajinimc? Current URL is http://wink.com/ajinimc–profile (oh my God two hypens, you failed the telephonic test for urls). If this feature is the strength then you need to make the urls more simpler, I do not want people to search for me before getting to my profile. Look at other social networking sites, everywhere I have a url like /ajinimc and it works.
  • As I said in one of my previous posts that in social networking, it is the flies that attracts other flies not the honey. With orkut’s simplicity, myspace, youtube and other social networking site you need to define your area of service precisely, else no one will invite others.
  • I am doing some research on search, Google is not the solution, Adsense and Adwords not the ultimate products. There is more to come with a human intelligence layer but not completely human based like wink. Such searches will not work enough.
  • Each page is taking too much about too many things. Same problem as that of myspace.

Best of luck to the wink team, I hope to spend some more time next weekend with all the social networking sites as a part of my research, “Online Social behaviour”. Visit my profile at wink.

Happy with Wink Staff’s reply

I am a member of Wink for many months but I have hardly used it. Then one day I got an email for their staff and I decided to know a little more about it.
Wink
Wink is a people search engine. Under the scheme “Spam the Spammers“, I decided to add another level “Selling to the marketers”.

I got a mail form the Wink Staff

Welcome to the New Wink!
The Biggest People Search Engine

Who Do you Want To Find Today?
Now you can find yourself, find your friends, and search for other interesting people online with Wink, the most comprehensive People Search Engine in the world!

Wink searches over 150 million online profiles worldwide. Wink searches people the major social networks and communities, and we’re adding more all the time.

Now you can find someone’s online profile across these communities, and many more!

The new Wink helps you find people immediately by:

* First and last name
* Online profile / nicknames
* Location
* Age, schools, gender
* Shared interests

How to get the most out of Wink:
1. Go to wink.com and search for your friends, co-workers, old classmates, etc.
You may find people you haven’t connected with in years. You may also find that they have on-line profiles you didn’t know about.

2. Fill in your Wink profile and take control of your online life.
With a Wink profile you can manage and organize what other see about you on-line. It’s also easier for your friends to find you – what’s the fun of posting things on-line if people can’t find it?

Also:
Your user name is: blogtintin
If you’ve forgotten your password, just click “sign in” and then “forgot your password?” and follow the instructions.

3. Make a Wink Widget!
Get the Wink Widget and put it on your blog, MySpace, Flickr, wherever you can. It helps you promote all the great stuff you do on-line.

Thanks we really appreciate your time!
– The Wink Team

I then decided to throw them a query

looks good, how is it better than orkut?

Regards,
Aji


http://www.idealwebtools.com/blog/ – My blog

I was VERY VERY glad to get a response from their team

Hi Aji,

Thanks for taking the time to write to us. We’re always happy to talk about Wink. 🙂

Wink is actually quite a bit different than Orkut. As you know, Orkut is a closed community of users who are all interacting with each other based on common interests or personal friendship. Wink is a very open and public tool that you can use to find people across several different communities – and a way for you to control your online identity using our profiles and widget.

For example, you can use Wink people search to find people near to you geographically, or with common interests such as “World of Warcraft” – and connect with their profiles on MySpace, Friendster, etc. You can also create a Wink profile to share your online identity with your friends or to build your own personal online brand. David Beach has done just that on his profile: http://wink.com/beach–profile . Here you can see that he has quite a few online identities and he is using Wink to claim all these and display them to help others keep up to date with what he is doing online. You can see more examples of the widget in action by visiting our widget page at http://wink.com/winkwidget/.

So you can see that Orkut is complementary to Wink, in that you can use Wink to claim and promote your Orkut identity to friends (new and old).

Does this answer your question? If you would like additional information, please let me know and I’d be happy to talk with you further.

Have a good weekend!

(I have sent them an email requesting their permission to blog about Wink and to publish their response).

I was a little impressed with this email and decided to do a further scrutiny. Let me post the scrutiny in next post. Looks good, happy weekend.

All simplest truth of service

Today our HR Manager shared a good presentation with us. Click http://www.stservicemovie.com/ to visit the presentation. Even one of our staff who takes care of our office inspires others to stay back and work more as he takes care of all other things from food to a hot water bath. Every good person is an asset to your team, respect good people to create more good people, and create good people to create a good company and a good company will always provide the best services. A very good morning to everyone.

Spamming the spammers – They replied, wow

I was sick of deleting all the spams from gmail which never wanted me to delete any mails. I started spamming spammers, not only the unknown once but also the known ones. People used to send me a lot of articles, common messages through orkuts and other social networks. I started spamming them back but sending them my blog url. I used to do this for all marketing offers as well. Did it worked I do not know but I got a reply which was quite unexpected one.


First mail from amina_ldris@walla.com

Dear Sir,

I am Amina Idris from the State of Kassala in the Eastern part of Sudan. I recently lost my husband who until his death was a serving officer with the SPLA here in Sudan. He died in the cause of performing his duties under the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).
Before his death he was privileged to have served close the powers that be in my country and this exposed him to huge sums of money of which about $7.5 Million was left to my surviving son and I.
I am contacting you because I need a big favor from you as regards receiving these funds on our behalf and help us invest it in a profitable venture. Due to my inexperience in matters of business, I am willing to give free rein of affairs to you in the day to day running of such a business venture.
Please if you are willing to assist me, don’t hesitate to reply and indicate your interest as soon as possible.

Thanks and best regards.

Amina Idris


My reply

I am interested please visit my blog http://www.idealwebtools.com/blog/

A reply after few days (looks like a reply, not sure)

Dear Sir,

I know how surprised you were to have received my mail. Sorry for the unsolicited mail I sent out of despiration. Please know that I am really in need of help here regarding the safe investment of my funds.I am a refugee as you already know and I am in serious need for someone to assist me and my son in investing our funds.

The issue here is that I need someone like you in view of your high status, a person I can trust to help me put into meaningful investment this money which was left to us by my late husband. I will like to know you better and as such I will like you to send me some sort of identification so that I can ascertain who I will be entrusting so much money to.

I am open to any good suggestions as I will not hesitate to give you complete control of what ever business you suggest as soon as you provide me with a comprehensive business plan and we formalised the necessary procedures that will help me take possesion of the funds. You assistance will actually require you to travel over here in Thailand where we are currently residing as refugees reason being that I cannot travel out of Thailand at the moment due to my status as a refugee. My documents are still under processing.

I sincerely await your response.

Sincerely
Mrs.Amina Ldris

Have you tried spamming spammers? It is fun esp you sometimes get replies from marketing guys.

tagged.com – Blocking tagged.com taggedmail.com – yaari spam

[Note: Some of my related popular posts are: 1) why mistakes are often mistaken – It talks about what are real mistakes. 2) Orkut used for crime, is orkut responsible for it anyway? ]

You may be getting hundreds of mails from a domain called taggedmail.com (which is owned by tagged.com social networks). After the success of orkut, facebook and myspace everyone is starting a social networks. It is good to start one but any system that frustrates the world should be blocked forever.

I am blocking tagged.com and taggedmail.com from all my mail servers. Join the movement to teach the owner a lesson, “RESPECT USERS – Present and future”.

How to block tagged.com and taggedmail.com

With Google it is easy, you can just create a filter http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=8151. Even with other mail systems, you can block the emails from some of the domains.

how does taggedmail.com access a contact list?

This is another common question from many of our users. It happens when you enter your gmail account details to tagged.com while registering, it then gets the lists and keep sending this to the people on your behalf. So I never give my gmail/email accounts while registering to any domain. Now you need to go back to tagged.com and delete your account, change the email account settings from tagged.com before deleting it.

how does taggedmail.com work?

Another common question by our users. It is nothing but they get the list when people signup at tagged.com. They don’t send mails from tagged.com but use taggedmail.com to send emails. I know its frustrating but you need to take steps to block it.

Tagged.com says Over 70 million people are on Tagged. Are you? 🙂

How many of them joined the group after getting frustrated? May 69.9 millions. It is such a sad network.

Some of the comments from my friends about tagged.com and taggedmail.com,

>Sirjee…Maine bhi pareshan hoke hi join kiya hai..?

(In English: I also joined this network after getting frustrated)

Dear Santosh,
Please send these messages to individuals and not to the group (just a suggestion).

The above message from our common groups (Alumni groups are getting such invitations), as every time you provide access to your email account they will keep mailing all your contacts. THE KEEP MAILING TILL YOU DONOT SIGNUP, FRUSTRATING FOR SURE.

Lets Tag tagged.com with BLACK LISTED

Now there is another network Yaari.com, Yaari spam

Yaari is now spamming my mail boxes like anything. The are forcing me to act every single day. I am going to block them too.

Blogs I read – my collections

During recent meetings I was asked to broadcast the list of blogs I read on a day to day basis. Sorry for the delay but here it is. Apart for this I do follow about.com various sections for the financial knowledge on mortgage, credits, debts, insurances, loans and other laws. Wikipedia is there for all the terms I have a query on. I also read http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/.

Google reader

Sorry could not write in detail, here is my opml file (I will try to keep it up to date) from my google reader. I use my reader almost 5 times a day (once in early morning 6:00 am, after reaching office and before starting my work 9:00 am, lunch hrs 2:00 pm, after finishing work at office 6:30 pm, at 11 pm at home) and will keep the unread post close to 0 every time.

Continue reading “Blogs I read – my collections”

Erroneous Perception of web by top Indian Job seekers

(Note: Please add your experience and take on the Erroneous perception of web by top Indian Job Seekers)
Why is that the top Indian Job seekers do not want to join web industry when in other part of the world people respect web related jobs? I do not regret my decision of rejecting the offers for “complier designing job”, “backward reservation protocol for wireless networking, a research type” and accepting an offer from a web start up with a great vision of winning the world with innovation. In India many have a wrong perception (but rightly so) towards Indian web industry, what are they,

  1. Web industry means making websites, graphics, multimedia.
  2. Its more technical kind of jobs.
  3. It does not have a wide reach or a career path.
  4. It will be quite boring, what will I do sitting in front of computer all day? (I had one MBA chap resigning after two days as he did not find the job interesting, sad he did not even give it a weeks time to experience the real web)
  5. I am not interested in web type jobs, I think I am born for marketing.
  6. SEO is a chepo work to do.

Many wrong perceptions like these but why did I say rightly so? Rightly so, as we only see what is shown to us, blame it on companies, blame it on university culture and blame it on _____. Let me take point by point that why these perceptions can be challenged :-

  1. Many feel that web industry means making websites, graphics, multimedia as most of the Indian companies does these kind of outsourcing work relying on the “cheap labour factor” of Indian economy. I have seen some of friends working on similar signups for 100 websites and charging 100 website owners and earning their daily cakes.
  2. Many feel that its more technical kind of jobs. Yes, it needs technical knowledge but it is nothing that you can’t learn. It is just a matter of 6 months. You can get the basic technologies in just few months. There is a huge marketing options available including my favourite, behavioural marketing.
  3. Many feel that it does not have a wide reach or a career path. Absolutely crap, we are never ahead of the demand resulting in producing outdated manpower. Do read my post on alpha of Indian Web business. It is just going to gear up, the gen Y is more web savvy than gen X, so will be the market.
  4. As one of our MBA recruit many feel that it will be quite boring. I am in this web industry for over 15,000 hrs and I still work on new things every single day.
  5. May feel that they are not interested in web type jobs and they prefer marketing. Were you interested in marketing before joining your B-School or your last course? Where you interested in marketing before meeting the Marketing guy? Its all about developing the taste but it cant happen if you are not introduced to it. This Jan I had a plan to visit some 20 B-school with the same mission of introducing Indian web industry but I got busy with unusual company affairs.
  6. Many feel that SEO is a chepo work to do and SEO is all that a web marketing can do. The best SEO is to focus on visitor experience. I have written articles on GE matrix and BCG matrix for online marketing and there is plenty scope for such conversion. The web product cycle, shelf life and everything has an interesting twist. Its more fun to be a Kotler for web industry that to be a Kotler’s disciple in offline marketing.

Remember, the time is going to change and the below picture will not longer be a reality
Professional blogger

H-1B visas, demand Vs supply

If your company is keeping a watch over the H-1B visas, here is some interesting news for this year,

On Tuesday, the U.S. government announced that this year’s limit on H-1B visas had already been reached after only one day, the first time in history the annual cap had been reached so quickly. Since 1990, American employers have relied on the visas to hire skilled foreign workers for up to six years, often in computer- or engineering-related jobs.

Politicians may work towards it

The reason for the surge matters: Congress is expected to hold hearings on raising the limit later this year, and will surely question why the quota was reached so instantly. Technology companies argue the surge is further proof that the quota must be increased, while opponents say there are enough Americans to do those jobs already.

The gap in “ability to innovate” is reducing faster than the gap in “living standards and environment for innovation”. Till few months back I was rejecting any abroad offers, which I am taking it seriously now (including a research offer and a one month seminar options). Till now my focus was on learning. I was getting enough time to learn and innovate but now I am feeling a little frustrated. With no current abroad offers I am looking for one. Why I want to move abroad,

  • I want to focus on some research topics with my job and sadly I am not getting any such environment here. We do not have good universities which focus on research, all focus on education.
  • Industrial peers (students by attitude) who believe in innovation and research. In India we take our jobs as jobs, a way to earn money. I want to get into an environment where we can spend some time on innovation (with no upper limits for failure count).
  • A little speedy life.
  • To experience the cultural diversification.
  • Income, expenses and taxes balancing out offering no chuck(net disposable income converging to a different zero with value almost equal to 0) for additional purchases.

There are pluses and minuses for every decision but a change takes care of few minuses making the whole equation a positive one. Lets see what the life has to offer.

Questions for your employer (Hiring Manager)

I was reading Penelope Trunk’s post “4 interview questions you should never ask“,

Most interviews reach a pause when the hiring manager says, “Do you have any questions for me?” In a world of workplace transparency the most common response to this question would be, “No. I have no questions. I am sick of job hunting. Give me a job.” But alas, you must play the interview game. So ask three or four questions as a way to convey that you have options, even if, in fact, you do not.

Your questions should convey: “I’m trying to find out more about this position to decide if I’m interested.” But you cannot say that flat out without sounding like an arrogant pain in the butt.

Very interesting post, so I thought I will put few questions I will be asking my employer or the hiring manager (apart from doing a good research on the company, job profile, working culture, products/services, market review, boss, vision)

  1. Can I know a little more about my team members and more about my team leader. (Very very important question, if you can get a right team then you can win the world)
  2. Do you have small teams?
  3. How independent are those small teams?
  4. What is done to keep the teams updated with the latest happenings (since I am into tech field it is a very important factor for innovation)?
  5. What are external affairs a team member is involved with like conferences, group discussions, panels, interviews, article writing e.t.c?
  6. How empowered will I be to make decisions?
  7. Do we have company gatherings to discuss about company affairs and culture? Who all attend it? (may be, may not be)

WILL I GET ALL SATURDAYS OFF? I will be framing more questions soon :). If someone can hire me for INR 50k per month with 4 working days that I can do research on other 2 days (just another dream :)).

Life vs work or work-a-lifestyle

They’ve got the smarts and the confidence to get a job, but increasing numbers of the millennial generation — those in their mid-20s and younger — are deciding corporate America just doesn’t fit their needs.

says USAtoday.
It is not much different in India, it is catching here too. My batchmates are gearing up for restaurant leaving all the six sigma consultancy. No one feels a job has enough. My immediate seniors have already started they ventures http://www.redhorns.com/products.php (there are more but I do not have the URLs).

The article further says

Experts say these children of the baby-boom generation, also known as Gen Y or echo boomers, are taking to heart a desire for the kind of work-life balance their parents didn’t have. They see being their own boss as a way to resolve the conflict. So now they’re pressing ahead with new products or services or finding a new twist on old-style careers. They’re at the leading edge of a trend toward entrepreneurship that has bubbled for decades and now, thanks in large part to technology, is starting to surge.

“It is a fun-loving generation,” says Ellen Kossek, a Michigan State University professor in East Lansing who has spent 18 years researching workplace flexibility.

In the similar lines I also started a discussion at Webmasterworld on Google policy allowing 20% time to work on personal projects. I think that is a great way to retain the best talent in any company. I have also exchanged some mails with Jason Warner of Google about these policies.

I also liked the post by Ryan

Boss said, “If you’re going to be successful you need to start putting your career before your life.”
Her mother said, “If you don’t put your life before work you will never be happy.”
Hearing this conflicting advice from two of the most influential elders in your life is confusing. What does Niki’s boss say to his kids when he gets home? Does he tell them to put work before life? What would Niki’s mom say to young people she works with? Would she tell them to go home early?

After reading all these I decided to listen to some Bryan Adams and John Denver today (after really long).