While it may be true that most active bloggers a few years back have slowly disappeared from the blogosphere with the advent of microblogs and social networks, the fact that blogs are favourite personal branding tools has not changed. IndiBlogger continues to be the largest thriving community of Indian bloggers what with their contests, meets, forums, etc. We caught up with the team from IndiBlogger to get a clearer picture of the Indian Blogosphere and here’s the email interview.
1.IndiBlogger needs no introduction though we would love to know about the team behind it and what really conspired to create India’s largest Blogger community?
The team comprises of five directors. Renie Ravin, who is the Founder, Web Architect and MD; Anoop Johnson who heads Marketing, Karthik DR who heads Business Development, Vineet Rajan who heads Strategy and Anwin Joselyn who heads community engagements. Apart from us, there are 10 other members who are primarily into creative design, product development, event management, quality control and support. Like all good things, IndiBlogger came up thanks to our dear friend Old Monk.
2. As per the ‘State of Indian Blogosphere’ report by Drizzlin, the so-called ‘death of a blog’ is actually a process of evolution within the online domain. What are your thoughts on it?
Though some of the inferences are correct to an extent; quite a few can be misinterpreted especially when the sample size is only 32 bloggers. The process of evolution that the report mentions is true to a great extent especially with the advent of social networks. But Indian bloggers like the ones sampled in the report continue to leverage newer platforms while enhancing their online presence at the same time. The way we look at it is, either you have multiple online properties and manage them individually; or you create a central hub for your online presence.
3. The most common problem faced by bloggers is ‘plagiarism’. How can bloggers protect their work and does IndiBlogger help in any way?
Indeed, plagiarism is a commonly faced problem. Most bloggers over the years have wizened up and started adopting a Creative Commons License. The Internet is a huge ocean; and bloggers too realize that there would be bloggers who would copy content; but Creative Commons provide an easy way to manage the copyright terms that attach automatically to all creative works under copyright. Bloggers have also included “CopyScape” badges on their blogs to deter those who want to copy their content.
Whenever we have had this issue before, bloggers registered on IndiBlogger have raised the concern on the IndiForums to reason with the bloggers in question. So it’s the community standing up for what it believes in that usually works for the best. In some cases, where the community has taken a strong cognisance of an offence we have banned the blogger from the network altogether.
On the IndiForums, bloggers are constantly discussing blogging ethics, which in fact is a parent discussion thread encouraging new bloggers to start on the right foot. There are rules for spamming and self-promotion which are listed in detail in the FAQ section: http://www.indiblogger.in/faqs.php
4. You had added ‘mozRank’ parameter to the IndiRank but you also state that no system can be accurate enough! How does the blogging community feel about their IndiRank scores?
We brought in mozRank to make the scores more dynamic, and to replace Google Pagerank. IndiRank is quite popular and most bloggers take their ranks in the right spirit. We tend to have the most traffic when IndiRank is updated! It’s true that no algorithm can accurately judge the quality of a blog; however we are constantly tweaking the algorithm to make it as accurate as possible for the majority of blogs.
5. With multiple IndiMeets happening across Indian cities, blogging contests, the coveted ‘IndiRank’, etc., how easy or difficult has it been to keep the community engaged?
IndiMeets, IndiContests, IndiRank and the IndiForum work together to keep bloggers engaged and give them an exciting environment, both online and offline. Blogger meets let them network and connect with other bloggers in person; and they are fun events much loved by bloggers and our team. Contests give interesting topics for bloggers to write about, and of course, they get to win great prizes. Similarly, IndiRank gives enough reasons to bloggers to write more frequently and network more; all for the joy of blogging and for what it stands for – sharing experiences and personal brand building.
6. Brands have a great platform to create advocates via blogging contests. Does blogging for a contest create a relationship with a brand? What in your opinion is the one thing that brands are missing upon?
Yes, of course! That is why any brand engages with bloggers in contests. It’s the relationship that matters; that everyone wants to nurture. With respect to working with bloggers, IndiBlogger ensures that no stone is unturned and all brands engage at a level previously unheard off. Brands like Samsung have gone on to create an elite group of bloggers called the ‘Samsung Mobilers’.
7. What advice would you give to an aspiring blogger? Does IndiBlogger give any tips to make money apart from running ads?
There’s plenty of good advice out there, and it all comes from the blogging community. Our forum is the best place for an aspiring blogger to get feedback, resolve problems, grow quickly and get inspiration. As for making money, ads are not the only way to monetize a blog, and bloggers need to keep an open mind. Blogs are brands, and there are a million ways for brands to make money. Networking is one of them, and the potential is enormous. You never know when you can provide something that’s needed by someone, and you’ll never know what they need unless you build a network.
Thanks for replying to us. Personally, I’m a fan of Indiblogger and would prefer to blog any day rather than ‘like’ or poke. So here’s to India’s largest blogger community – IndiBlogger, Indians by birth, Bloggers by choice!