Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Updates

30th Nov 2007: Wake Up and Smell The Million Dollar Story launched

10th Dec 2007: Momentary Lapse of Sanity

11th Dec 2007: Back on Track

04th Jan 2008: Blog opens to direct advertising - Advertisers/Companies: Get the maximum Aroma out of Stories!

25th Jun 2008: The Conclusion

** End of an Adventure **

I am not going to LSE this year nor will I ever. This is the end of an immensely exciting journey which started with the dream to fund my studies at LSE.

The journey started with publishing the first story on this blog on the eve of 30th Nov’07. That same eve, another story appeared on another blog, Youthcurry. This blog is run by Rashmi Bansal, and I am really indebted to her for coming out with A Million Dollar Dream article on her blog. As Youthcurry is a very popular blog and is visited by who’s who of the blogoshpere, my blog got instant mileage and earned the celebrity status overnight. I received emails from all corners of the world encouraging me to continue with my endeavor. At the same time, the blog drew flak also with some people labeling it as waste of time and a mere publicity stunt.

The popularity of the blog soared with an article in Washingtonpost.com on 09th Dec’07, and catapulted with a front page article in the Delhi edition of The Indian Express on 17th Dec’07. It further multiplied with my appearances on BBC Radio, and on some news channels such as NDTV and CNN-IBN. A critical fallout of this was that a majority of visitors to the blog would randomly click on all the advertisements, and simply leave the blog – this clearly violated the Google AdSense policy. No wonder, a little more than a month after, Google discontinued my AdSense account, which was contributing more than 90% to my revenues (the rest was coming through other ad serving clients such as AdBrite and WidgetBucks).

Left in the wilderness, I sought out to do something more ambitious. A few days before starting the blog, I had happened to read a paper, ‘The Biggest Auction Ever: the Sale of the British 3G Telecom Licenses’ by Ken Binmore and Paul Klemperer. The paper was about the auction model used to sell the 3G Telecom spectrum by the British government in April 2000. The auction fetched the government $ 34 billion or 2-1/2% of GNP, way beyond their initial estimate of $ 3-6 billion. I decided to emulate the model with the only difference that I was selling the real estate on my blog (advertisement blocks) - And built a model around that.

Though this blog could not reach anywhere near its goal of generating money to pay for college tuition, nonetheless this was an enormously enriching experience in every other sense. I did not only learn so much about online advertising, the auction models, writing stories, but also made friends from all over the world.

I am deeply thankful to all the bloggers who promoted the blog and kept the momentum going. I am also thankful to some of my colleagues at work who form time-to-time gave me invaluable suggestions on improving the blog.

Million Dollar Story is a closed chapter now. As the old adage goes, ‘Everything happens for our own good and one gotta move ahead’. With this spirit I have already charted out new plans for myself. As for my unfinished stories, I will definitely continue them and hopefully will come out with a book some years later.

This is not the end of my 'dream', rather the germinating ground of my other ‘dream(s),’ dreams I have seen through the lens of this ‘experience.’

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