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Blog Past: PIN-News

December 21st, 2008 · 2 Comments

India needs more local content, something I call PIN-News. I have written about this multiple times in the past. Here is a post from Jan 2007:

Do-it-yourself publishing can create the content, while subscriptions can help deliver to the interested people in near real-time on their mobiles. In this world, events will start becoming the centrepiece of peoples lives. With mobiles, individuals can also report on what they are seeing and share it easily with others. This two-way interaction can help spur all kinds of new services from citizen journalism to Wikipedia-like search for something interesting to do on a Sunday evening.

Here is an excerpt from a post in July 2004:

PIN-News is about building a bottom-up community information system. It is built around PIN codes. Neighbourhood events can be posted on to specific pages, organised in a weblog-format. By using standardized forms to do the post, it is possible to capture the information in XML format and use a matching engine to send out alerts to people. For example, if I am interested in book exhibitions or special offers, I can set up an alert on a few PIN codes around my home and workplace. When the book shops in the area do their updates (as part of STIM), I can be immediately alerted. PIN-News thus fills the gap in communicating dynamic information to people who are most likely to benefit from it.

And this is what I had written in November 2003:

1. Provide a revenue model from the local small buyers and sellers a MicroGoogle
2. Be a utility in the lives of people used daily
3. Create a platform which can be used to discuss and solve local issues and problems
4. Build an Information Marketplace platform
5. Enable people to create their own blogs and RSS feeds (via DIY forms). People can do their own updates – publishing
6. Create a weblog/wiki/RSS for every ZIP in India. Everything goes into a backend database
7. The RSS Aggregator delivers RSS feeds to peoples mailboxes. People can subscribe for specific events – which are delivered to their computer or cellphone
8. Imagine if each physical object has a virtual presence (for example, a theatre could provide updates on movies and bookings; local shops can provide updates on whats new in terms of sales, etc.)
9. People can also create a directory of local resources and landmarks. During elections this can be used to discuss the candidates contesting.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Vishal // Dec 21, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Rajesh – That is a great post. In fact I was having discussion with my wife that we know what is happening in Delhi, London and New York but we do not know the happenings in our immediate surroundings in Kandivili.
    I also think the idea of local shops providing updates on the interest of subscribers is great. It is great for producers and great for consumers. Libraries providing updates on new books. Good deals at local kirana shop, new menu at the local restaurant , new movie at the local video rental shop are nice to know information. It will be the mobile which will do the the trick of disseminating the information in language you desire. There will be more mobiles than PC’s in one pin-code area.

    It also can channelize the social awareness of its citizens. If I start taking interest in my issues be it roads, electricity or any other issue then I am doing the role of a good watchdog . In today’s India watchdog like TV, newspaper exists only at units very higher than pin-codes. An accountability at the pin code level by generation of information by the local people of the pin-code will focus the attention and can lead to good governance also.
    Great ideas !


  • 2 Sundar // Dec 22, 2008 at 8:05 am


    Great idea and it would work in all cities of India. Pin News is a good name. But it could essentially cover 3-5 KM radius from a location. Combining with SMS push for ads and search for local product/shop search would be a killer.

    I expect this to generate a lots of local employment also.
    Local free news papers (a dozen Local Times paers in Chennai) do this to some extent, but limited to 8 to 10 pages once a week.

    Is this going to be your next startup?

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