5 Reasons GreenWhite.org is a Success

A guru blogger once shared the following piece of wisdom with me:

Posts with lists are more ‘successful’.

Here is a list of reasons why I think GreenWhite is a successful blog. I have to write this post as a lot of people have approached me this week and asked what GreenWhite.org ( GnW) is all about and whether it actually is a successful blog or not. Among the people who have asked this question are:

GnW, for those who don’t know, is a technology blog focusing on the news, innovations and emerging trends in the Pakistani IT industry. I am no blog analyst, but I would call GreenWhite a big success because:

  1. GreenWhite has built a community – In the two years of its existence, GnW has managed to gather and engage a strong bunch of IT professionals around itself – people who are writing and participate in valuable discussions on the Pakistani IT industry. As a Pakistani IT professional who follows 400+ Pakistani blogs semi-regularly, I do not know of any other IT blog focused on the Pakistani IT industry that comes close in this regard. Do share the address in the URL if you know of one.
  2. GreenWhite serves a small niche successfully – This post is intended to be read by a dozen or so people – it does not matter if 50 or 5000 people read it, as long as the intended target audience gets the message. Similarly, if we stop fooling ourselves, the Pakistani IT industry is TINY – GnW aims to serve this small niche, and if you will go through any 10 random posts on GnW, you will agree that it does the job well, which is another measure of success.
  3. GreenWhite has original content – Since our tiny IT industry does not generate hundreds of news items every hour, so GnW authors have no option but to write original content. The posts on GnW are not ‘originalized’, which is my term for picking up a few dozen ‘blogworthy’ hot news items from a few hundred (preferably before the competition does it, so that your post gets listed for a few Google keywords) and quickly remixing and rewording the resultant body of text before pressing the publish button. To use a hackneyed expression, GnW usually has something to say, while most local blogs have to say something.
  4. GreenWhite has been a catalyst My first introduction to GnW was through the Startup Insider sessions, which was a commendable series of informal sessions between the wannabe entrepreneurs and the veterans, held in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad in collaboration with P@SHA. Dozens of CEOs and IT professionals were speakers / panelists, and hundreds of people participated in the series, but apparently that endeavor did not get the projection that it deserved, as many IT bloggers say they have heard the GnW name for the first time only recently. Just as the Bloggers’ Meetups are attempting to bring the wannabe bloggers together, the Startup Insiders brought people interested in IT startups together and gave many of them the push needed to ‘do their own thing’. Not many other blogs can claim to ‘walk the walk’. GnW can.
  5. GreenWhite has decent statistics – I think many of the worlds’ best blogs are undiscovered, and usually have less than 100 regular visitors, and yet there are many people just want safety in numbers, so they go by analytics figures, don’t waste time on any blog that doesn’t get trackbacked by a million other blogs and dont read a book until it is a bestseller or a movie based on the book is in production. For people measure success in percentages and clickthroughs, GnW has around 1000 subscribers, is usually in the top 100K blogs on Alexa (and has #666 rank in – though I am not a stats freak, but achieving a sub-100K Alexa rank with 90% audience coming from Pakistan and a few hundred thousand visitors a month, all without explicit SEO might mean something to the statistician sort.

So there you have it, for what ever it is worth, GreenWhite is a successful blog IMHO.

Before I go, here is a bulleted list of pointers:

  • I was approached by strangers (now friends) during the LBM08 event, and then on Skype during the KBM08 event – they wanted to meet and congratulate GnW representatives, and I had to tell them that the blog was based in ISB. I wish GnW was represented in the meetup, but regardless of whether GnW attends any meetings or not, this is the only measure of success that I would aim for if I owned GnW – actually no further justification of success should be required.
  • Hot Chick - reallyI read some twitter friend LOLing and saying that people believe that the success of a blog is limited to those who aim to create a difference in their society. That would be wrong, though I don’t know any blogger who would generalize success like that. I believe that boobie blogs may have their need in the world, just like gadget blogs, social welfare blogs or porn. The measure of a blog’s success is whatever its owner and readers want it to be – sometimes it is thoughts and dreams, sometimes it is rants, sometimes it is monetization by prolific content generation, and sometimes it is pics of hot chicks – but that is just my simplistic view of things, and you are welcome to disagree.
  • To answer another (very enthusiastic, judging from the !!!s) friend who said “… success story? honestly, this is the FIRST time I read this blog or even heard about it!!!” – it is simply because you belong to a different segment. You are facing the west, GnW is facing the east. In the blaagosphere fruit market, you are an apple, GnW is an orange, and there are melons and mangos and hundreds of vegetables, fruits and nuts like me around. Sorry to burst your bubble, but your knowledge of a blog’s existance is not a measure of success – after all, ten years ago, you didn’t know where babies come from!!! (I kid).


I have written 3 odd posts on GreenWhite.org so far. They are:




Wateen Spampaign on Pakistani Blogs

I can’t say that I’m disappointed with Wateen, as I don’t really care at all about that brand or whatever they sell, be it bandwidth, cell connection or water-balloons. I do have a serious problem though, when there is an intrusive attempt by corporations to use my belongings (this blog being one) or my surrounding to  sell their products – and Wateen did just that!

Today, around noon, I received a comment spam from Wateen advertising their broadband packages on a post that has nothing to do with broadband.

Exhibit A - Spam by Wateen
Exhibit A - Spam by Wateen

The spam was sent by a certain H. S. Kiani (probably a desi John Doe) from the IP, with the email waristerrorism@yahoo.com.

I whois’ed the IP to verify that it was official Wateen spam generated from their own servers (and not a negative marketing campaign by one of their competitors), before trying to call their tollfree number and asking them about a certain Mr. Kiani, and was amused to see that the IP belonged to PTCL.

Despite being a very satisfied PTCL customer, I sent an email to Mr. Kiani, showing my interest in their amazing offer, and I also added him up on Yahoo Messenger, but so far there has been no response from him. If he does reply (one can dream, no?) I intend to ask him a LOT of questions.

A quick look at my analytics plugin (Open Web Analytics) revealed that the visitor had hit the same post twelve times before submitting the spam.

Rasala Group Spam
Wateen Spam

In parallel, I was also asking my tweeple on Twitter if they had received the same spam today, and not surprising, many of them confirmed their blogs, or the blogs that they read, were targetted by Wateen today as well. Here are a few tweets from this noon, recording things as they were uncovered. The ones in italics are mine.

  • Nice! Wateen (or some Wateen rival) just sent some comment spam about their broadband on my blog, including their URL and phone #! about 2 hours ago from TwitterFox
  • Has anyone else from Pakistan received comment spam from Wateen about their 1mbps package today? about 1 hour ago from TwitterFox
  • UzEE @reallyvirtual Lol. Tell them you wont remove the comment if they give you 6 month subscription free. about 2 hours ago from mobile web in reply to ReallyVirtual
  • @uzee I’m emailing the guy who spammed me, and calling the Wateen # mentioned afterwards. Funny thing, they used PTCL IPs to spam! about 1 hour ago from TwitterFox in reply to UzEE
  • phpgurru @ReallyVirtual I also received wateen spam from the IP 40 minutes ago from TwitterFox in reply to ReallyVirtual
  • aqeeliz @ReallyVirtual Quite a few other Pakistani blogs I read have gotten comment spam about Wateen package. less than 5 seconds ago from web in reply to ReallyVirtual
  • harisn @aqeeliz @ReallyVirtual I also got that Wateen spam comment. Infact I still have it in my pending comments hehe 8 minutes ago from m.slandr.net in reply to aqeeliz

Shafiq from Shafiq.pk also shared that the text in the comment spam is the same as the one broadcast in Wateen’s radio ads, so this is a coordinated campaign. Aamir Atta pointed out this article by Bites85 on his blog propakistani.com that notices the recent rise in spampaigns by Wateen and other telcos very recently, so at least a few other bloggers have noticed as well.

This is the normally the point in the post where I start my rant, but it is almost my bedtime so I will not spread a lot of negativity, and instead, I will just ask a few questions and hope that the relevant people (read Mr. Kiani & Co.) will step up and answer them. What I really want to know is:


  • How could you possibly conceive a spampaign in the Pakistani Blogosphere and not worry one bit about it backfiring? Do you think the Pakistani bloggers are so naive that we will let your comments pass by unnoticed and let them stay on our blogs?
  • How can you support bloggers’ meetups all over Pakistan one month and spam the same bloggers the very next month?
  • I wrote down my email and blog URL on paper during LBM08 , which was supported by you. Did you take the URLs so that you may add me to your spam list? Did I opt-in? or are you spamming all the blogs aggregated on bloggers.pk ?
  • Do you think I will trust your brand in the future, after you abuse my contact information?
  • I was all praises for LBM08 and still think its effect as a catalyst was significant, despite whatever motivations you had as a supporter. Do you think that I’ll feel the same way the next time you support any event?



  • Did you receive the same spam from Wateen this week? Care to share your  blog URL?

Enough questions. Time to sleep.

Your Brain: Your Garden

brain-gardenMy son likes to watch Mr. Bean, which is a little worrisome for me, as I do not believe in ‘harmless  and silly fun’. While good humor and puns certainly  stimulate your brain-cells (aka neurons), I think that part of the reason people are amused by Mr. Bean, Charlie Chaplin (or any of the  situation comedy heroes who are typically getting into trouble because of their stupidity) is because watching such shows offers them comfort and relief in the knowledge that some other person can be dumber than themselves – and the feeling of having a relatively higher intelligence is enough to boost their self-esteem and actually make them laugh.

The above is just an unproven personal theory, and since I’m not a psychologist by trade, so I will probably not bother to research this idea any further, but that doesn’t stop me from telling my son that “If you watch too much Mr. Bean, your brain will slowly shrink into a pea-brain and you will start acting like Mr. Bean”. I believe it is fair, since he also knows that his brain grows and expands whenever he reads or plays games, so that he can balance the Mr. Bean silliness with some reading or games.

It seems that I am not that far away from the truth, as this recent neuroscience study from Leicester University suggests that we tend to dedicate whole neurons in our brains to a celebrity or even a fictional character. The study involved showing pictures of celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Oprah Winfrey to test subjects, and detecting the neurons that were fired! After this calibration, it is possible to tell whether a person is looking at a picture of Jennifer Aniston or of Halle Berry simply by monitoring their brain cells.

This phenomenon must have a lot of applications  in the Neuromarketing and the Psy-Ops markets, and is definitely the basis for  celebrity sponsorships and endorsements, but more importantly, it has implications within our own relatively ordinary daily lives. The next time you sit in front of the TV for a few hours of entertainment, or decide to watch a movie, you might want to assess whether the neuron-to-entertainment-value trade-off is worth it for you before giving away a few more precious neurons in your brain. Of course, if you don’t intend to use all those extra neurons, then you don’t really need to watch what you are watching.

So what kind of neurons are you growing in your brain, and what kind of stuff is your head filled with?  If you can spare a few, please stare at my avatar for 3 minutes without blinking 🙂


Are you bored? Do you have ٰnothing to doٰ? I salute you!
You, my friend, are a buddha-in-the-making.
Actually, you are better than Buddha. Buddha he did not have instantaneous access to the all the information in the world in the form of Internet, he did not have a phone to call friends, or a TV to watch the sufferings of the world. He did not have a few thousand mp3s to listen to, no million blogs to read and certainly did not have a billion webpages available for him no billion topics to learn about or a gazillion topics. He had no Youtube, no Facebook, no Twitter, no live cameras, no online discussions. All he had was a tree to sit under and mediate, and yet he had difficulty emptying his mind of all thoughts.

A bored Buddha
A bored Buddha

You, on the other hand, have access to all of the above worldly distractions, and then some. This is why your boredom is an absolutely amazing feat in self-control and concentration – something to be really proud of!
More and more people are seeing the light and converting into boredom monks like you. You should get in touch with them and start a group blog, and if you can share the secret of achieving that zero-hour-workday state of mind, please do share, I can use some tips. Thank you for your time.

The Answer is 200 Million Kilograms

Keep Calm
Since we usually have a bomb blast or two every other week in one of the major cities of Pakistan, and as there is nothing happening right now to hope for things to change in the near future, so I think that it is about time that we started some research on how to cope with the FUD in our “Land of the Pure”.

We can begin by looking back a few decades and learning from how our ex-rulers (that would be the British, for those who have forgotten/never knew) did it, and try to “Keep Calm and Carry On”. Meanwhile, we do need to ask some questions and gather statistics to help us survive the next few days, weeks, months or years, depending on how far ahead you usually plan.

This is probably the real reason why one of the “Breaking News” headlines after today’s Peshawar bomb blast (which claimed 20ish lives) was:

“The explosives weighed 15-20 kilograms.”

I doubt that the people who died in the blast would have given a damn about HOW they died, but the question that popped up in my mind was, how many kilograms of similar explosives will it take to kill us all – and by us, I mean Pakistanis.

As the 20Kg. killed 20 people , so 1Kg. of explosives kill approximately 1 person – by simplifying our model and ignoring most variables like population densities, people’s tendency to run away from hazards etc. etc., and as the population of Pakistan is roughly 200,000,000 (We are the 6th largest nation of the world by population) – so we can safely say that around 200,000,000 kilograms of explosives are needed to blow away the entire Pakistani population.

While I do not have any visualization aids or images handy that would help you imagine what they would look like, trust me when I say that it is a LOT of explosives.

If the current bombing patterns are the best that the terrorists can do, then Pakistan is not going anywhere soon. Sure, a few thousand people will die due to explosives, but when you ‘zoom out’ and adjust your focus (at the risk of being called insensitive/inhuman), it is not much, statistically speaking.

And so, there is one less answer that is blowin’ in the wind…