HashOut: 2007/11/17
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RupeeMail ...is it here to stay?

RupeeMail launched by Hcitek Software Pvt Ltd, a Bangalore based start-up, is a recent addition to the "Get paid to read email" service, similar to that of Hits4Pay.

The service is still under public-beta and there is a lot more to improve. For example their website does not clearly mention any restriction on how many accounts can be opened using a single computer or mailing address. Even though their system does not allow registering multiple accounts from the same IP address, subscribers with a dynamic IP address can disconnect and reconnect to get a new IP address. Cookies too would be ineffective as the cache or temporary folders can easily be cleared. This could lead to subscribers opening multiple accounts using different email addresses.

Also there is no system in place to check if the subscriber has viewed the message for a stipulated amount of time. Subscribers could just click the link in the email received and close the resulting pop-up window immediately.

RupeeMail has also been a topic of discussion in the Indian blogosphere. There have been debates about the subscriber base not being the target market for advertisers. Ashish from pluggd.in points out that 35% of the subscriber base of mGinger, a "Get paid to receive SMS" service for Indian mobile subscribers, comprises of students who are just looking forward to make some quick pocket money. Such students have no intention to either read the advertiser's message or buy the product.

On the other hand, supporters of the email service say that it is much better than its SMS counterpart since the subscribers just have to click on a link to visit the advertisers website from where they can get more information and contact the advertiser. Whereas with the SMS service, subscribers either need to call the advertiser or visit the website of the advertiser by entering the URL in the browser manually. Even if the advertisers were to include a URL hyperlink to their website in the SMS, not many would have Internet access on their mobile phone and even if they had, the view of the advertiser's website would be limited.

Another argument in favour of the email service, and against the SMS service, is that subscribers can check emails at their convenience whereas SMS would be more of an intrusion in the subscribers privacy. However, mGinger has an option where in you can select a time window within which you want to receive those paid texts.

There has also been a wide misconception that the paid SMS or email service helps fight spam, but as Anil Lakhwara, the 62-year-old chief executive officer of Hcitek, says “RupeeMail is not an answer to spam. It is to reach the targeted advertiser.” Spammers would still be able to and will continue to send unsolicited emails and messages.

Another popular misconception is that these services are "Get rich quick" schemes. It should be noted that, in reality, such services can at the max be able to generate a decent amount of pocket money only to pay up your mobile bills. As told by most of the service providers, such services cannot help one make a living. However, the service providers say that their service helps subscribers save money by receiving special offers and deals from advertisers.

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The curious world of ...ADOLESCENTS

Dealing with peer pressure and social acceptance in adolescenceAdolescents? ...'Scream foul play' was the first thing that came to my mind. It's difficult enough being one of three with siblings who seem permanently stuck in adolescence without having to explain and analyze their next to inexplicable behaviour. Still, I decided to actually try and understand what exactly makes an adolescent tick; after all it wasn't long ago that I was one myself.

I spoke to a couple of befuddled parents of this 'breed'. The love for their offspring was not lost, a tad diluted maybe, but still there. It is the growing up years from childhood to adulthood that make them different. Most of them become extra rebellious during this period, in fact, relatively shy and timid kids seemed to acquire unexpected gumption. "To me it looks like my daughter will be an adolescent for ever!" sighs the mother of a particularly vociferous going-to-be adult. Doors slam, reason is thrown out of the window, captured by the wind and pushed some place where it cannot be found. Another mother of a son this time, says her 16-year-old toes the line. Pretty much. "He knows who lays down the rules, and respects that," this lucky mother smiles.

Psychologists have different theories to this. To most popular one: "This is the 'in-between phase' where you don't really understand if you are grown up or you're still a kid. If you do something wrong then you are chided for 'acting like a kid' and if you act too grown up then they think you 'know' too much and are going above yourself." In fact it as at this stage that in a desperate attempt to gain acceptance from adults, society as well as their peers that a crack occurs. It's cool to party late nights but it ain't cool to come back late! Often this conflict of interest results in them being so rebellious. "I don't know how to handle it sometimes. My friends and my parents have opposite interests but I try to always have a meeting point between the two even if what I'm doing is not very morally correct though by myself I would do things differently," says Arjun.

There are two sides to every coin. Adolescents now days are taking things in their stride by learning to deal with a great many aspects of their lives. Right form peer pressure, to social and moral responsibilities and their parents. Speaking to one parent Mrs. Krithika "I give my son full freedom and don't really restrict him unless it involves his safety and he completely understands that. They just want to be able to make their decisions and we don't question him unless it's truly not the right one. The best way to ensure they don't do the wrong things is allow them to make their decisions after explaining the consequences." The way to understand them is to accept them, sooner rather than later they'll grow out of it; but it should be kept in mind that acceptance is not the same as negligence. While peer pressure and social acceptance is necessary and important for the adolescent, they should be well aware of the consequences of undesirable activities.
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