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As the 'next billion' struggle to emerge from India, the lack of tech laws and growth of band-aid technology, have created a unique Chiba. Sentience of the emerging silicon, is tested here

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Online community:

The internet started out as an effort to communicate and share data. When people realised that they could reach out and touch more people through wires, communities proliferated. From the early message boards, forum and discussion groups, online spaces have changed to offer more media to the user. The text based online words evolved into sound based then graphical universes. Though points of interaction increased, one defining factor of online communities changed. Corporate control mutated amateur discussion groups, to profit based websites that tried every method available to target the user and the casual viewer with advertisements. (For more on this check out the work of Lawrence Lessig)

When Google bought, the market buzzed with people getting into ‘videoblogging’. Suddenly videoblogging became the ‘in’ thing. The Indian entrepreneur also entered into the fray with out realising the constraints faced by India’s outdated networks. The Indian sites boasted of original content and unreal download times. The content was new, the download time a fantasy.

But what connects the change in internet communities to the sale of In India, the answer would be The force behind the site, Rohan Pinto says “konkan tv is not gonna be owned by me. konkan tv is going to be owned by community itself. Every cent from the profit that comes from this venture would go back to the community. The reasoning behind it is strongly rooted in my beliefs that it's the community itself that makes a service succeed. Who made youtube succeed: The VC's [Venture Capitalist] or the Community? Well, if it's the community, the general population that’s the reason behind youtubes success, what did the community get when youtube got bought out for a couple of billion. nothing... nada... zilch.. zero” plans to offer a compromise between user based sites and purely commercial sites. ‘Social Income’ as the model is referred to, envisages a system where a venture capitalist (VC) control part of the site, while the users control the rest. The VC pours in the money. The users spend time and effort in making the site more popular, increasing traffic and revenue, and of course generating more content. The revenue generated is then split between the VC and the users, thus not only justifying the investment but actually helping the community grow.

At first this idea seems unreal, too ideal to work. But consider this: the site had one thousand user uploaded videos before completing 60 days online! Also as Rohan points out, “I have relied on only the bloggers from the industry to write about what they have seen and what they think the site would be headed towards. 100% of my sites traffic, content and visibility to date has been through word of mouth.”

As of now the site is threatened by copywritten material as well as large download times. Although filtering out of copywritten material needs a little more work, the site is planning to offer a player that will play downloaded video instead of streaming them. This feature makes the site attractive to dial-up connection users who currently have to wait for hours to watch streaming video. The content creator also stays secure. The content is purged from the computer a week after it is downloaded. If the user want to keep the video, then the user will eventually be able to: either buy it from a syndicated site , download it onto their phones for a fee and possibly, even watch on the television.

As communities change on the internet and as services proliferate, will be a space to watch out for.

1 comment:

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