Blog about Internet marketing strategies - social media, & SEO

Category: Nepal

Performance of Top Nepali Sites

The current election, with over 12 million registered voters by far one of the largest participated event in Nepal.

Big event means more interest across all channels, including online websites and social networks.
For a small country with ridiculously large amount of news consumption and political interest (the number of TV, paper, radio and recently online news sites in Nepal easily tops thousands), online news sites are still the most visited websites in Nepal.

Such huge events also draw more visitors (traffic) to news portals, which require more bandwidth to handle the traffic This is similar to road traffic – more vehicles during rush hour requires wider roads and proper navigation to prevent jam. Servers with limited bandwidth can crash if enough care isn’t taken for.

Simplified Bandwidth Calculation Formula:
monthly bandwidth = average webpage size X average webpages viewed per visitor X monthly number of visitors
So for average webpage size of 500Kb, average person viewing 5 webpages, a website that gets 100,000 visitors in a day would need 7,390.98 GB bandwidth per month.

Having said that, the election is a pre-planned event and the number of visitors could/should have been planned for. I went through uptime and downtime for some of the popular news sites in Nepal over past few days and here is what it looks like (doesn’t look impressive).

Data is collected from 10 popular online news portals of Nepal, a blog and the election commission site of Nepal. The websites in alphabetical order are:

 

uptime for top nepali websites

last 24 hour uptime for top Nepali news websites

web server down

Latest times that a top Nepali news site was down. Some sites keep crashing all the time.

 

The election week took its toll on every server as record people from within the country and outside Nepal checked online for breaking news and voting updates. Also, social media sharing meant that news come immediately on large number of walls and timeline and so lot of people are on the same webpage at the same time. As sites went down frequently, some had light version site. Many sites opted for third party tools for faster updates and reduce bandwidth on their servers. Scribblelive seemed to be a favorite tool for most news sites – possibly due to its 30 day trial and ease of use. Some were even embedding Google Docs and different chart tools.

But, on average, Nepali online news sites were down for over 1/4 time over this week. Some sites were up 100% while it was monitored this week but the most popular ones seemed to be down more time. If we fail to plan even for planned event, how could we possibly plan during disasters – where more people could be rushing for updates from their favorite news site? Time to step up!

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LinkedIn in Nepal

LinkedIn is a popular social network with about 200 million users and mainly used as a professional network. LinkedIn can be used by users and companies to create online profile, manage contacts and interact with their connections or groups. LinkedIn has recently also become a good source for business news and views.

As of November 2012, Nepal has over 140,000 users in LinkedIn . (Source: Socialbakers + Google).

One thing often misused in LinkedIn is the use of personal profile for company profile, which is separate. Companies should fill up profile as a company in LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/companies). Sending connection request as a company is not professional – sending as company member could be fine. I am friend with XYZ company doesn’t make much sense to me. You can follow a company you want though.

Some other segments that you can explore in LinkedIn:

Jobs
Posting jobs in LinkedIn starts at $195 and is basically useless for most companies in Nepal as of now. I’ve seen some companies here do Linkedin advertising but no direct job posting.

Groups
One of the widely used segment in LinkedIn by Nepali is the Groups. There are some popular groups such as Nepal Development Forum and Nepali Professionals Living in Nepal and Abroad

LinkedIn Group Nepal Development Forum

Answers
LinkedIn Answers has a good collection of business Q&A that may be related to the field of your work. Help others and help yourself.

News
LinkedIn News is a good source for business or other news that you choose to subscribe from. Not much to choose from Nepali news source yet though.

Applications
LinkedIn allows adding useful applications to your profile such as blog, presentations, reading list and polls.

Go on, explore LinkedIn and grow your network. You can also add me to LinkedIn if you want to.

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Nepali Colleges, Universities and Government Offices Sell Viagra & Sex Drugs!

I hope that the educational institutes such as schools, colleges or universities of Nepal (or anywhere as a matter of fact) are into education rather than selling sex drugs. Similarly government offices do their assigned jobs than selling Viagra. The point I am raising here is how vulnerable the educational, government websites in Nepal are and web security in general.

Let’s do a quick search on Google for Viagra (apparently a sexual wonder drug!) within the educational websites in Nepal, which have the names followed by .edu.np. We can do this using [search term] + the ‘site:’ operator + the URL or domain. For educational sites, this would be https://www.google.com/search?&q=viagra+site%3A.edu.np

The search for Viagra in educational website resulted in over 1700 results! I won’t link such sites direct here but present a screenshot. You can do the search yourself too using the search above.

Educational sites in Nepal Hacked

From Kathmandu University to American Language Center – and several schools, colleges universities websites are infected.

Similarly doing a search for Government sites of Nepal shows plenty of infected websites too.

hacked government sites Nepal

 

Finally doing a search for a .com.np site showed over 178,000 infected web-pages. I would just share screenshot here as well.

hacked business sites Nepal viagra

 

Why do educational websites get exploited so much?

The easy explanation is that weak security in websites (especially quick cheap ones) allow easy access to external attackers. Another reason might also be related to a different reason called SEO (search engine optimization), which is about how Google ranks a website when somebody makes a search for a particular term. It is a common but somewhat mistaken assumption that links from educational or government site provides better ranks in search results. So the practice of inserting codes to ‘bad’ sites in educational or government or any other site with old software is a notorious practice that has been going on for a long time. Some sites may also redirect to potentially bad sites when clicked on search results rather than going to the actual result displayed.

What can be done to prevent such attacks?

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as 100% secured and even biggest websites get hacked. If we do a similar search for overall educational or government sites around the world, the situation is no better. I wouldn’t be surprised if my own site gets hacked someday. But having said that it is upto the website owner or team to ensure that the site is safe for its visitors.

In general, it is a good practice to:

  • Keep the content management system (CMS) or software up-to date on the server and on own computers
  • Use antivirus
  • Not use easy to guess passwords
  • Choose a more secured hosting
  • Backup data regularly
  • Check own site on Google using the ‘site:’ operator. For example viagra site:ku.edu.np or viagra site:.gov.np
  • Never open suspicious files attachments or websites
  • Report websites that are infected to the website owner

Here are some additional references on better web security (don’t worry! these are trustworthy sites and open in new window.)

 

Suggestions are welcome!

 

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Popular Twitter Accounts in Nepal

Here is a post specifically for Twitter users in Nepal. As Twitter continues to gain popularity and new users join this social media platform, it starts with how to use it and whom to follow. Below is a result of little ‘experiment’ I did with some Twitter Tools in order to get popular Twitter accounts in Nepal which might be worth following if you are new to Twitter.

Popular Twitter users in Nepal

What is this?

This is a list of popular Twitter user accounts from Nepal.

How is the sample (the users) chosen?

Though popularity is subjective, I have tired to select users based on following:

  • Followers higher than 1000. Just to keep user number limited – else the list would be very long. Doesn’t mean less than 1000 users are less popular though!
  • Active Twitter account. At least something tweeted this month.
  • Followers/friend ratio equals or higher than 1. Following hundreds of thousands could get you more followers but doesn’t make much sense to me.
  • User is a Nepali, or expats in Nepal who tweets about Nepal too, or Nepali living abroad. Just trying to limit for Nepal here. Surely can be applicable elsewhere as well.
  • The users are chosen from my Nepali Twitter list here, here and here – altogether about 1200 users so far.
  • (Note: Many accounts are news sites rather than users as well which are included as they are useful anyway. Some others may not Tweet much about Nepal but are included as they are from Nepal. Some commercial organizational Twitter accounts and over automated users have been avoided from the list for the sake of unadulterated community. Again these are bit subjective and you can come up with your own list too!)

Tools Used

  • Mostly SocialBro extension for Chrome.
  • Some Excel work as Twitter API is kinda limited these days.
  • Wordle.net to create Twitter cloud image above.
  • Good ole’ Google.
  • Some secret sauce!

How is it useful anyway?

  • Hope you can find interesting people on the list.
  • There are some news site Twitter accounts as well. So might be useful to keep up to date with news?
  • I am also hopeful that this list can be used as user suggestion tool when somebody first registers a Twitter account. Since Twitter primarily selects users based on popularity, having some Nepali people when someone first registers is a good idea. Otherwise new users will be suggested to follow international celebrities only. You too can help suggest who to follow (and also in Twitter Translation) here at http://translate.twttr.com/suggested_candidates

Here is a List of Popular Twitter Accounts in Nepal (in random order)

Twitter Handle URL
@nagarikdaily http://twitter.com/nagarikdaily
@ekantipur_com http://twitter.com/ekantipur_com
@iHappie http://twitter.com/iHappie
@Roopess http://twitter.com/Roopess
@niraj_1974 http://twitter.com/niraj_1974
@dhakalsaurav http://twitter.com/dhakalsaurav
@sameermdixit http://twitter.com/sameermdixit
@seasonsgk http://twitter.com/seasonsgk
@sudhasubedi http://twitter.com/sudhasubedi
@MadsArea http://twitter.com/MadsArea
@kashishds http://twitter.com/kashishds
@Ekendra http://twitter.com/Ekendra
@anqrs http://twitter.com/anqrs
@drogba_CFCuk http://twitter.com/drogba_CFCuk
@GangaBc http://twitter.com/GangaBc
@SomeshVerma http://twitter.com/SomeshVerma
@AnantaBrt http://twitter.com/AnantaBrt
@abhabhattarai http://twitter.com/abhabhattarai
@sabeenakarki http://twitter.com/sabeenakarki
@akhileshU http://twitter.com/akhileshU
@prashant_sh http://twitter.com/prashant_sh
@limshaku http://twitter.com/limshaku
@meroreport http://twitter.com/meroreport
@meaastha http://twitter.com/meaastha
@akhanal http://twitter.com/akhanal
@prabhasp http://twitter.com/prabhasp
@ParakramRana http://twitter.com/ParakramRana
@KakaBaa http://twitter.com/KakaBaa
@phalano http://twitter.com/phalano
@Aashisluitel http://twitter.com/Aashisluitel
@prashantktm http://twitter.com/prashantktm
@KanakManiDixit http://twitter.com/KanakManiDixit
@narayanwagle http://twitter.com/narayanwagle
@FunnyGooner http://twitter.com/FunnyGooner
@TamangPhan http://twitter.com/TamangPhan
@prabalgurung http://twitter.com/prabalgurung
@shailesh http://twitter.com/shailesh
@pokharelketi http://twitter.com/pokharelketi
@indradhoj http://twitter.com/indradhoj
@neokya http://twitter.com/neokya
@knchn19 http://twitter.com/knchn19
@Spriyaaaa http://twitter.com/Spriyaaaa
@svbel http://twitter.com/svbel
@himnp13 http://twitter.com/himnp13
@strophicus http://twitter.com/strophicus
@BBCSajhaSawal http://twitter.com/BBCSajhaSawal
@malvikasubba http://twitter.com/malvikasubba
@nepalitimes http://twitter.com/nepalitimes
@hamroblog http://twitter.com/hamroblog
@UN_Nepal http://twitter.com/UN_Nepal
@mkoirala http://twitter.com/mkoirala
@kishorenepal http://twitter.com/kishorenepal
@nepalnewsDotcom http://twitter.com/nepalnewsDotcom
@TASIBO http://twitter.com/TASIBO
@lendaai http://twitter.com/lendaai
@NRaule http://twitter.com/NRaule
@rajballav http://twitter.com/rajballav
@SwaggicalRuchi http://twitter.com/SwaggicalRuchi
@NepalYouthFound http://twitter.com/NepalYouthFound
@nepaliheadlines http://twitter.com/nepaliheadlines
@robpenner http://twitter.com/robpenner
@Ujyaalo http://twitter.com/Ujyaalo
@newsmandu http://twitter.com/newsmandu
@nabinkbhattarai http://twitter.com/nabinkbhattarai
@baburamb http://twitter.com/baburamb
@gunaraj http://twitter.com/gunaraj
@amritna http://twitter.com/amritna
@buddhisagar http://twitter.com/buddhisagar
@BreakingNewsNEP http://twitter.com/BreakingNewsNEP
@NepalUnites http://twitter.com/NepalUnites
@PallaviDhakal http://twitter.com/PallaviDhakal
@acharyapawan http://twitter.com/acharyapawan
@binitadahal http://twitter.com/binitadahal
@MishraRabindra http://twitter.com/MishraRabindra
@prateeish http://twitter.com/prateeish
@BishalGautam http://twitter.com/BishalGautam
@thapagk http://twitter.com/thapagk
@NrnShrestha http://twitter.com/NrnShrestha
@krips16 http://twitter.com/krips16
@lexlimbu http://twitter.com/lexlimbu
@impuzaa http://twitter.com/impuzaa
@kundadixit http://twitter.com/kundadixit
@maila_sau http://twitter.com/maila_sau
@bhumikaghimire http://twitter.com/bhumikaghimire
@asishsyangden http://twitter.com/asishsyangden
@tfcNepal http://twitter.com/tfcNepal
@tajim http://twitter.com/tajim
@sushmite http://twitter.com/sushmite
@apsster http://twitter.com/apsster
@poozaaree http://twitter.com/poozaaree
@sudheerktm http://twitter.com/sudheerktm
@acharya14 http://twitter.com/acharya14
@a_rabin http://twitter.com/a_rabin
@abishadh http://twitter.com/abishadh
@joshisushma http://twitter.com/joshisushma
@iShzz http://twitter.com/iShzz
@hellomuku http://twitter.com/hellomuku
@GoGoze http://twitter.com/GoGoze
@nilambar http://twitter.com/nilambar
@sitamademba http://twitter.com/sitamademba
@salokya http://twitter.com/salokya
@friendycalls http://twitter.com/friendycalls
@dipakbhattarai http://twitter.com/dipakbhattarai
@jhyal http://twitter.com/jhyal
@AnandNepal http://twitter.com/AnandNepal
@RajneeshB http://twitter.com/RajneeshB
@chapagain http://twitter.com/chapagain
@manjushreethapa http://twitter.com/manjushreethapa
@prerana123 http://twitter.com/prerana123
@UjjwalAcharya http://twitter.com/UjjwalAcharya
@ushaft http://twitter.com/ushaft
@nepalsites http://twitter.com/nepalsites
@nepaldiary http://twitter.com/nepaldiary
@csapkota http://twitter.com/csapkota
@AnupKaphle http://twitter.com/AnupKaphle
@DeepakAdk http://twitter.com/DeepakAdk
@lkafle http://twitter.com/lkafle
@aakarpost http://twitter.com/aakarpost
@PurpleSoul_ http://twitter.com/PurpleSoul_
@bhu1st http://twitter.com/bhu1st
@utsah_ http://twitter.com/utsah_
@anbika http://twitter.com/anbika
@chandangoopta http://twitter.com/chandangoopta
@cricketbirat http://twitter.com/cricketbirat
@brazeshk http://twitter.com/brazeshk
@meroreport http://twitter.com/meroreport
@johnparajuli http://twitter.com/johnparajuli
@jwalanta http://twitter.com/jwalanta
@prateekpradhan http://twitter.com/prateekpradhan
@sahiladai http://twitter.com/sahiladai
@InnocentIdiot_ http://twitter.com/InnocentIdiot_
@VaskarH http://twitter.com/VaskarH
@PrasanSyangden http://twitter.com/PrasanSyangden
@priteejoshi http://twitter.com/priteejoshi
@SauravRimal http://twitter.com/SauravRimal

I have now made the popular Twitter accounts from Nepal a public list here. https://twitter.com/i/#!/nepalsites/over-1000-followers-nepal You may follow any users that interest you or subscribe to the list.

Like/Dislike the list or got suggestions? Do share!

 

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About People and Deadlines

I find that people have their own way of meeting (or not meeting) the targeted deadlines. Be it the exam study deadlines or client project deadlines, you will come across people/teams or organizations who do things at different speed. There are 3 typical ways that people could be attempting to reach their deadlines.

1. The Last Hour Person

Meeting deadlines - The Last Hour Person

This unfortunately is the most common type of person/team in our part of the world. When they get the deadline, they start off slow (or think the deadline has a long way to go). And then there is the inevitable final hour acceleration mode, which could mean staying awake many nights before the deadline itself.

2. The Consistent Workhorse

Meeting deadlines - The Consistent Workhorse

This should have the ideal way of doing things, where people do things based on the total work. Unfortunately, for many, this is just for good for the theory. If you are in this category, good for you or your clients. It is important to notice that even the most ideal team will undergo acceleration in terms of their speed or effort at some time during the project.

3. The Irresponsible

Meeting deadlines - The Irresponsible

They are most likely not to finish project on time or meet deadlines. They are the ones who generally wait for external inputs to speed up their efforts. Once the inputs stop coming, the deadlines are bound to be missed. The best way to work with such people could be to give them shorter deadlines again and again and send reminders. If not, stay away from these people/team.

So, which one are you?

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Role of Board of Directors in Organizational Strategy

Just went through an interesting piece from Owning Up –  The 14 Questions Every Board Members Needs to Ask by Ram Charan. I thought it was quite relevant in many of the organizations of Nepal where the hierarchy is not well defined. The boards may be

  • Actively into management or
  • Passive part of the organization

In general the issues covered are the role of management, in particular CEO in educating the board of directors. The common cause of passive board is that they are believed to have little or no knowledge of the domain so they have no role in strategy formulation or implementation (which is true in many cases here in Nepal where the board is extension of management and vice versa). Some management don’t have board in strategy due to lack of knowledge that they should be a part too.

The truth is that the board should be a part of the strategy at three levels: company portfolio, strategic business units (SBU) and functional capabilities in the external context. In Owning Up, the suggestion is for the management to engage the board more in the strategy with the following process.

  • Discuss External Trends
  • Capture the Essence of the Strategy in Writing
  • Iterate the Strategy with the Board
  • Conduct a Strategy Immersion Session

After all since the board and management are on the same page, directors too need to be engaged in the corporate strategy. Especially in the ever changing environment, external viewpoints are equally important too.

What is your Strategy?

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New Ideas from Dead CEOs: Bank of America

I have been trying to read this book New Ideas from Dead CEOs: Lasting Lessons from the Corner Office by Todd G. Buchholz for quite a while now. It is an insightful book with stories and experiences from the CEOs of great organizations (or great CEOs that made great organizations). It is quite thick book for my preference, so I am trying to read one CEO at a time and planning to jot down few lessons here. Let me know if you have read it too.

Several iconic CEOs have been chosen in this book. From A.P. Giannini (Bank of America), Thomas Watson Sr & Jr. (IBM), Sam Walton (Wal-Mart), Ray Kroc (McDonalds), David Sarnoff (RCA), Akio Morita (Sony), Estee Lauder (Estee Lauder), Mary Kay Ash (Mary Kay Cosmetics) to Walt Disney (Disney).  The author has apparently chosen them based on these qualities

  • Innovators, not just outstanding managers
  • Interesting (to the author)
  • Lessons that are applicable today

So the first CEO is A.P. Giannini,  founder of Bank of America.

A. P. Giannini is a representation of the multicultural USA, coming from Italy and founding Bank of America. Despite his father being killed, and starting from a mediocre vegetable business, he thrived at competition, and jumped at opportunities. Rather than going after the then traditional banking to riches, he took the opposite bet- serving the working people, or the ‘little fellow’. Giannini revolutionized industry and economy as a whole. He understood the little fellow. He introduced trust by introducing flexible hour banking, more values to the consumers, better interest, flexible loans (even on cows! and ideas of course) and branch banking. His decisiveness during earthquake was commendable. As if that wasn’t enough, he passionately bounced back from an almost bed-bound condition to the biggest bank of the world. His retirement words are as impressive as working words – “If I ever hear that any of you are trying to play the big man’s game and forgetting the small man, I’ll be back here fighting.”

It amazes me how our banks are still unable to provide loans based on ideas on this day when Giannini understood it 100 years ago!

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Attitude Survey of NTC vs Ncell Mobile

Nepal Telecom (NTC) and Ncell (previously known as Mero Mobile) are two of the GSM mobile carriers in Nepal. NTC, established in 1913 as government organization, started GSM mobile service back in 1999. Whereas Ncell, started mobile operation as private sector in 2004. Together they contribute over 40% mobile penetration (10.7 million users as of August 2011), with majority being Ncell users.

Despite the early adoption advantage, NTC has come under several complaints as being non-competitive to Ncell and poor services. Here is an attitude survey and the results from a an attitude survey that I carried out using Fishbein Model.

Altogether 7 attributes were chosen to compare NTC vs Ncell and their services. A rating scale of 1 to 7 was chosen for the evaluation of desirability of the attribute (E) and a scale of -2 to +2 was used to calibrate the belief that the brand possessed the particular attribute (B). The resulting summation of beliefs and desirability gives the attitude towards a brand. The survey was carried out on a sample population of 30 users using an online questionnaire over Google Docs.

ntc ncell survey factors

NTC vs Ncell survey attributes

NTC vs Ncell survey beliefs

NTC vs Ncell survey done using Google Docs

Based on this attitude survey using Fishbein Model, Ncell brand has a more favorable attitude among customers than NTC. Among the 7 attributes, Ncell has positive attributes towards making immediate calls, clear voice quality, quick SMS delivery, better internet (GPRS) facility and extra services. Whereas overall lower tariff showed negative attitude for Ncell and positive for NTC. Availability of recharge card was the only positive attribute for both the mobile carriers.

NTC vs Ncell attitude

NTC vs Ncell attitude survey

While the sample size is small to correctly make accurate attitude comparison, the result is consistent across the samples and can be modeled for a larger population as well. The higher positive attitude towards Ncell than NTC is visible through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter as well. Despite the negative attitude, preference the major reasons for preference of NTC over Ncell in many cases could be due to the already existing NTC subscribers and a more predictable cost compared to Ncell. Having said that, there has been recent marketing campaigns from NTC targeting its new and existing customers showing an attempt to build a more positive attitude. Meanwhile Ncell has been exploring various market segments from its inception to carve the bigger half the pie.

 

Let me know your suggestions if you have any.

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