I’m in a bad mood. I am at Delhi International Airport waiting for my flight back to the US. The flight leaves at the ungodly hour of 330 am and is already 15 mins late. I go through security and learn that the lounge is before, not after security. Since I have three hours to kill (I spared my brother who dropped me off from waking up in the middle of the night) I go through the process of cancelling my security check stamps. And of course, the mandatory entry in a register with the police. I then try making my way back to the lounge but going back through security is not easy. The process wasn’t designed to handle it. I was stopped twice within ten feet by men in khaki who wanted to know why I was going the wrong way. Finally I get to the lounge. Luckily, there’s wifi so I can rant.
Have you ever wondered about visitor registers? They have become less common in the US, where in places like New York building security is the real stuff. In New York you won’t find god-knows-what-purpose-it-serves vistor registers. On my India trip, there were visitor registers everywhere. For some meetings I had to fill out two entries in quick succession, one in the building foyer and one before entering the office of the company I was coming to meet.
I have never understood what is achieved by visitor registers. (If anyone knows any better please leave a comment.) To me it seems like a perfect waste of time. I walk in to a building, mumble something to the guard at the reception and he asks me to fill out the register – my name, company, my host’s name and company, my cell phone, mother’s maiden name…- how this improves security is beyond me. My photo id is not checked. No call is made upstairs to ascertain if I indeed have a meeting as I claim I do. So what is it for? What do they need my cellphone for? To call me if the building is on fire?
And what of the registers themselves? Where do the registers go when they get filled up? Is there some visitor register heaven in a warehouse on the outskirts of every metro? Or maybe telemarketers buy them up to make cold calling lists. Telemarketing calls on your cell phone – that’s a rant I’ll leave for another day.
I spent most of my trip to India in Delhi this time. Of the eight days I spent in Delhi, we didn’t have broadband for six days. Unbelievable but true. Apparently, MTNL changed their back-end infrastructure and the old modems didn’t work anymore. Frantic calls to MTNL support yielded nothing. They said something like – these things happen from time to time; it should be restored by tomorrow. Our neighbours were in the same boat – no broadband, and no clue why.
The next day, we learnt from the internet cafe downstairs that everyone had to change their modems. Apparently, MTNL had put an ad in the papers a while back which informed their hapless subscribers about this matter. And that was that. The subscriber had to make an appointment for the modem to be replaced. If you didn’t read the ad, tough luck. My father had to call the area manager at MTNL and throw his weight around a bit (he’s retired but he can still carry it off) and we got our new modem yesterday. Today I had all my meals brought to me in front of the computer.
I am now in the airport lounge with a huge backlog in my feed reader. So I fire up the old Macbook in the lounge and check if there are any comments on the blog. There are quite a few, but of them, fifteen comments are from a guy calling himself Rohit Khanna. Many identical comments were posted multiple times. None of the comments had much to do with the post. All the comments had a link in them to a website – http://www.toostep.com. Here is RohitK’s comment stream on IntenseDebate. All the comments have links back to toostep.com. This doesn’t include his commenting on blogs that don’t have IntenseDebate.
What’s going on here? This is not your garden variety comment spam. Akismet is pretty good about catching comment spam left by bots. This is human generated comment spam. The comments make some kind of twisted sense and they do relate to the post’s content. But they don’t pass the smell test. The comments are posted with the sole objective of driving traffic to and raising the google rank of toostep.com. I don’t mind genuine comments that link back to something related – say the commentor’s own post on a similar theme. But I certainly don’t want my blog to become a repository for comment crap. If you are a blogger, you too shouldn’t stand for this. Ruthlessly delete the comments and expose the company that is sponsoring it. toostep.com – shame on you.
There – got it off my chest. Venting always helps. But venting on your own blog is way better.