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ImageAmit Agarwal has a son named Google, makes tons of money as a “professional blogger” with his tech blog and offers advice on how to run a successful weblog company.

When he was introduced as Osama, he created a brief moment of flutter and excitement but this was an Osama Manzar with another mission in life.

Manzar, who heads Delhi-based Digital Empowerment Foundation, feels that blogging could do wonders for the underprivileged tribes in the country but it has yet to find its way to the real India hidden in its villages.

Sunil Gavaskar, India’s legendary cricketer has dropped the idea of writing a sequel to his autobiography Sunny Days. He has now decided to blog his experiences on the game that made him a legend.

All this and much more came out of the two-day Blog Camp 2006 at Chennai last weekend. An indubitable blog-puller, it had over 350 bloggers – craving to know more about blogging and how to change their lives with it.

By popular demand India’s home-grown blogger, Amit Agarwal who started blogging two years after quitting his job at a software company spoke about how to make money as a blogger.

His site which has postings such as how to keep your Gmail inbox free of spam or how a Zippy search engine is better than Dogpile or Jux2to, rakes in hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s not really the kind of stuff that you would read in newspapers and magazines but just the kind of stuff you would relish when you have a couple of minutes to browse.

And, when you ask him whether he really makes that much of money while just having fun posting interesting stuff on his site, he deftly brushes aside that question and says with a laugh, “All you journalists want to ask me that same question – I wonder why.”
 
When people click on the advertisements, they go to the advertisers’ website and he lands up making money out of it. “Then there are also ads that don't have to be clicked to make an impression and then there are of course the sponsors who would like to put ads on my blog. It is a very risky business and you need to have a fall-back plan,” says the Agra-based geek.
 
Meanwhile blogging has become a way of the mobile world too.

Nokia told enthusiastic bloggers that with its N series of handsets and a little bit of configuration you could, from your mobile (which also has qwerty keyboard) post on your blog – both text that you type and pictures that you take anywhere in the world.

But for Osama Manzar, the goal remains to empower the 70 per cent of India that lives in villages, “When you are sitting in one corner of the world and accessing someone else far away, this could be used for empowerment too. Take the case of the tribals who live in remote villages –they have such exquisite hand-made art that is unparalleled. Through blogging these could find their way into the global market and the money could help them to make their lives a bit easier,” he says.

According to Syed Nazir Razik, VP, Fuente Systems and one of the chief co-ordinators of the event there is an unprecedented interest in blogging “We had even doctors coming in to see how blogging could help them their relevant field of research,” he added.

And in a cricket-crazy country such as India, no one could have rooted for blogging than the Little Master Sunil Gavaskar who has decided that blogging is the way to go – sixes and all. He has decided not to go ahead with his book but stick to blogging as of now.

“I belong to the generation of transistors. I grew up listening to the transistor and we had one newspaper at home and podcasting was a new for me – it is still a learning experience. Sometimes, narrowing a 90-over match in six to seven minutes and just giving highlights of the day’s play is disadvantageous. Trying to summaries, you may actually miss out on a cameo or a crucial moment of the match,” Gavaskar said.
 
But it has been a huge success and Yahoo’s India managing director George Zacharias swears by it. “Gavaskar’s podcasts have a huge following and his match reviews get tens of thousands of hits from cricket fans,” he adds.

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