Sunday, October 16, 2005

IIPM - The real truth about them!

Last updated: Oct.16, 2005 6:42pm CST

This time it is personal. Rashmi Bansal, JAM editor and a popular blogger has been attacked by so-called IIPM graduates (see comments). [hat tip: Charu]

We at DesiPundit condemn IIPM and their chamcha blogs (no links offered here) for their despicable attitude. Gaurav Sabnis, a popular Indian blogger has been served a legal notice (via email) asking him to retract his statements against IIPM. Couple of days later, another blogger Varna got an idential legal notice from IIPM. More importantly, this attempted supression of freedom of speech shall not be tolerated. Kaps has issued a call to join the fight against IIPM. Bloggers all around the world have responded magnificiently. Click below for the list of bloggers and updates:

Harini 1, 2, & 3, Srini, Charu, Anshul, Amrit 1 & 2, Muthuvel, Thalassa Mikra, Jagan 1 & 2, Vijay Krishna 1, 2, & 3, Vatsan, Jo, Varna, Swaroop CH, Shivam 1 & 2, Ash 1 & 2, Abi, Jujitsu, Uma 1 & 2, Shub, Rajan, Havoc, Abhishek, Chandrachoodan 1 & 2, Kaushik, Alpha-Q, Mandar, Kaushal, Chenthil 1 & 2, Anthony, Bonatellis, Apurv, Scudie, Sriyansa, Miss J, Neha, Tablepost, Chitthacharcha, Saket, Dhananjay 1 & 2, Sriram 1 & 2, The Comic Project, Gawker, Nilu, Ian, Jabberwock, Niket, Ravikiran, Hitchiker, Vinaya, George, Ajay, Navin, Jinal, Rajkumar, Sudhish, Kitabkhana, Sunil, Falstaff, Arzan, Nitin, Sameer, Srikar, Mayank, Jitendra, Secular-Right India, Ranjan, BigBlogLog, Kamesh, Chernoff, Hitanshu, Almost Useless, Jaya Jha, TTG, Naveen, Sujatha, Veer, Nupur, Varnam, Soumyadip, Uma MD, Vishal Angry Grad Student, Pradyot, Amit Choudhary, Sandesh, MMK, Salman’s Shirt, Bharat, Nikhil K, Kaushik, Aditya, Icarus (Tamil), Infinite Circle, Ketan, Durga, Kamlesh, Pankaj, Harish, Ashish, Swarnasrikrishnan, Rahul, Kaushik-Bidisha, Srijith, Anand, I-sight, Logical Thinking, Sakshi J, Gururajan, Bhagya, Kunal, Sandeep 1 & 2, Ramanand, Satish V, Ashwin, Flying Death, Vayanasala (Malayalam), Shivangi, Govar, Shreyas, Prufrock, Unknown Indian, Prasoon, Killer Bunty, Suhail, Elne, Abhishek, Ravi, Aishwarya, Leela, The Bat, Aditya P, Rajesh B, Arnold, J.Alfred Prufrock, Kingsley, Saurabh, Ashutosh, Nilanjana 1 & 2, Shanti, Ram V, Wanderstruck, Vishwanathan, Scribbler, Vaibhav, Divya, Debashish, Sowmya 1 & 2, Shoefiend, Veena, Salwater Blues, India Blogs, DesiTrain 1, 2, & 3, Suds, Urmea, Senthil, Anshul, Lubu, Vikram, Nishi, Ravikumar, Buchu, Chandoo, Aditya A, Vatsan M, Vinayak, Manoj, aNTi, Bhaskar, Fursatiya (Hindi), Ramnish, Nirav, Tifoc, Hemanth, KM, Karthik, Aadisht, Gaurav B, Protea Spice, Transmogrifier 1, 2, & 3, Pablo Ares, Tushar, Raghunandan, Preetam P, Prabhu, Arbit Council 1, 2, & 3, Nikhil O, Emma, Desi Nole, Dinesh, Usha, Salil, Anat, Chetan, Anil, Neha M, Kuffir, Ze Rambler, Null Bit, Lakshmi, Hariprasad, @Jroller, EspiritNoir, Samy, Aekta, Gokula Krishnan, Kasthuri, Surya, Ankita, Hirak, Prithvi, Odyssey, Rithwik, Tanmay, Kirti, RK, Kiruba, MumbaiGirl Online, Mehul, Vishnupriya, Samit B, Laura, Hemangini, Sumeet, Kiran, Deepthi, Seshu, Chakra, Sandeep, Bharat, Drumster, Atanu, Invincible, Kanti, Parmanu, Freaks Inc, Arpit, Sib, Twilight Fairy, Megha, Rajesh A, Taz Snow, Rohan K, Pune Bloggers, Prakash, Nijas, Sharad, Achan, Manpreet, USC Trojan, ~J~, Jottingz, Ramses, Tushar B, Wise Donkey, Praveen, The Hissing Saint, Kanishka, Clorange, SV, Prasenjeet, Blog Mela Portal, Shrikanth, Sibyl, and counting…have heeded the call. Add URLs of your posts in the comments; I’ll be glad to add them to the list.

PressTalk exposes the false ranking claims by IIPM, The Arbit Council has a funny take on the exhorbitant consultancy fees demanded by IIPM director, Arindham C. I personally call upon IIPM to sue me for my words for them. Of course, the poor IIPM students aren’t to blame. PressTalk thinks that the Desi blogosphere is finally rising up to the challenge. Methinks, its still to premature but I am glad that many have taken interest in this issue. Varun, one of the earliest bloggers to take up this issue has an extended update.

Mridula does a fine job of aggregating the articles from MSM regards the mushrooming of management institutes and their tall claims. MSM isn’t actively investigating such claims when they clearly should be. Abhishek points out how the blogosphere can influence people more than traditional media.

People, please head over to their blogs and extend your full support to Rashmi, Gaurav, and other bloggers threatened by IIPM.

Update#1: It is confirmed! Gaurav Sabnis quit his job at IBM. Please note, he wasn’t fired or wasn’t compelled by his employer He quit on his own accord and I applaud him for standing up for his principles. Read his post here.

Update#2: The issue goes international. Neha has written about it on Global Voices. Amit’s post is linked by Instapundit. Ian heeds our call too. More international links appreciated. Om Malik, the broadband guru gives it a mention. Sepia Mutiny joins in. Rachel writes in from London. Shel Israel and Robert Scoble, author of business and management books do not think that Gaurav’s words were over the top and suggest that IBM should have sent a canister of gas to help IIPM burn their own laptops. Jon Lebkowsky makes a mention too. David Weinberger, co-author of the Cluetrain Manifesto and fellow at Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School picks up the thread.

Sepia Mutiny has more on the legality of boycott as a weapon. Jim Hoft aka Gateway Pundit joins in. J Angelo Racoma stumbles upon this controversy while running a search for "Thinkpad" on Google. Should IBM be worried about this? Douglas Hoffman spins a tale to include the IIPM tag. Sepia Mutiny fondly remembers their own "cease and desist" letter. The Mullers open Technorati as they do everyday and, are shocked by what they see.

Update#3: DesiPundit supporter and ace blogger, Amit Varma has summed it perfectly as why this is so important for the desi blogosphere. Michael wonders about the credibility of an institution by the quality of its supporters. Reputation is the biggest asset and IIPM seems to be losing it fast. Sulfury has a nice rhyme for them. Aparna’s limericks cannot be far behind. Michael Higgins follows up with another excellent post blasting traditional media’s excuse of losing a large advertiser.

Update#4: IIPM is already ranked 5th 2nd at the TOP on Technorati’s most-searched list. Too bad they messed with the blogosphere. Varun has a screenshot.

Update#5: PK writes in defense of IIPM. Although we disgree with it, we respect his viewpoint. PK seems to have reversed his stand and now supports Gaurav’s actions wholeheartedly. Arzan ponders on the status of the students at IIPM.

Update#6: Arzan calls up IIPM’s Toronto office and finds out that the number belongs to some Sanjeev who claims to have no affiliation with IIPM and adds, ""nothing is there because nothing worked out and its not like what they say on their website". Bonatellis has more information on IIPM’s PR firm. Dilip D’Souza reads the fine print in IIPM ads that tells us a lot. Gawker has an excellent parody on IIPM’s facilities and placement claims. The IIPM fracas over a lassi? Dhabba has more details.

Update#7: IIPM has an entry on Wikipedia that anyone can edit? God help them now! Ravikiran has detailed instructions on how your little blog can make a difference. Vijay Krishna however is not in favor of using Wikipedia as a medium of protest.

Update#8: IIPM was suspended from Outlook’s B-school survey for allegedly fudging data provided to the survey firm Cfore. IIPM conveniently claims, "We have never believed in rankings". Here is a screenshot. Deepak has more details, documents, and pictures on the rankings controversy.

Update#9: Varna has been served a legal notice identical to the notice sent to Gaurav Sabnis. She is requesting suggestions on how to deal with it and of course, DesiPundit and other bloggers extend their support in all forms. TechMag blows holes in IIPM’s legal notices.

Update#10: Inspite of all the ensuing melee, Abi succinctly brings our attention back to where JAM Mag and Gaurav started - false and exaggerated claims in advertising. Instead of suing bloggers, shouldn’t IIPM address these concerns first? In fact, the students at IIPM should be asking these. I try to explain what this fight against IIPM is all about.

Update#11: Why do Indian bloggers living outside India or otherwise totally unaffected by IIPM’s education standard have a problem with the current happenings. Neha’s reply is right on the dot.

Update#12: Ravi Handa has assembled a list of MSM editors contact information if at any time we wish to use it.

Update#13: Quizman finds some non-bloggers for IIPM to take legal action against. By the dates of the posts, these people have been calling IIPM’s bluff long before bloggers got into the act. Why are bloggers being singled out?

Update#14: This may be too early but Mridula goes one step further and investigates Amity Business School’s reputation. The big-picture implications of this issue of course are education business accountability. Madhukar compares the B-school rankings by different publications. No IIPM mention in any of them! As we now look beyond the IIPM issue, Pradyot has an interesting idea for creating an open source medium for aggregating and exchanging breaking news, feedback, and most importantly, freedom of speech; kinda like a mini-wiki. He also has a "Freedom of Speech" tag for us to display on our blogs.

Update#15: Charu finds Arindham Chaudhari’s bestseller in the Humorous Section at FabMall. The $24.95 question is, will he send them a legal notice too?

Update#16: Instapundit has another extended mention to the IIPM fracas. He also thinks that IIPM made a huge mistake by trying to tangle with the blogosphere. He also wishes IBM had displayed more backbone to support Gaurav’s cause.

Update#17: Naveen urges us to take a long term perspective of the IIPM event and ponders on the effect of unfettered education institutes that have sprung up in India propped up largely by the print media’s advertising.

Update#18: Jose Castillo over at Think Jose explains why supressing free speech on the Internet especially the blogosphere is not only difficult but impossible. IIPM only seems to add more fuel into the fire with each legal threat.

Update#19: Traditional media’s first mention of the IIPM fracas - Hindustan Times carries it on Page 3 in today’s Mumbai edition (Wednesday, Oct.12, 2005) [may require free registration for epaper version]. Mumbai Mirror’s Blogger’s Park column (link expired; check PDF link) features our issue prominently. Daily Pioneer, Delhi also carries the story (accessed through Google cache). Indian Express’s Mumbai Newsline has the story in today’s (October 13th 2005) edition.

Update#20: Jeff Ooi’s ‘Freedom blog Asia’, Screenshots extensively covers the issue. The IIPM fracas now has top billing in the Malaysian blogosphere too. Madhukar Shukla adds his thoughts on Gandhi, grassroots democracy, and the blogosphere.

Update#21: Dr. Amit Kapoor aka ‘Kautilya’, Gaurav Sabnis’s professor at IIML speaks out against IIPM and Arindham Chaudhari. He has more to share regarding the defamation suit as alleged by IIPM.

Update#22: Arnab aka Great Bong is setting up I3D - Indian Institute of International Dreamers. Gawker tells us about another fight - fine-print vs. large-print. Hilarious stuff!

Update#23: Varna, the second blogger to be issued a legal notice by IIPM is not fazed and stands by her words. However, she is disillusioned by IIPM’s attitude, high-handed ways, and misplaced priorities of its students. She has our complete support.

Update#24: Arka Mukhopadhyay wants to initiate a more pro-active approach by involving Bangalore Bloggers in a protest march to the IIPM campus. Varun wonder why no legal notices today. Ah-ha! its Dusshera.

Update#25: Chandrachoodan narrates a personal incident relating to IIPM, Chennai.

Update#26: Indian Express’s Mumbai Newsline has the story in today’s (October 13th 2005) edition.

Update#27: Committee to Protect Bloggers, an international online organization is keenly following our campaign and will be alerting its members via email. Rashmi, Gaurav, and Varna may be added on their list of threatened bloggers.

Update#28: Dan Gillmor, citizen journalist advocate mentions the "clumsy corporate attack on bloggers".

Update#29: Gaurav Sabnis’ post is #20 on Bloglines’ Most Popular Links [as of Oct.13, 2005].

Update#30: NDTV calls it "fascinating story, which has not just raised questions about claims made by private educational institutions but also about laws governing internet privacy. " They may soon have it on TV as well. If anyone can record the show and upload it as a digital file, please send me the link.

Update#31: Kamla Bhatt has the controversy in podcast format.

Update#32: Mandar has started off excellently by trying to rein in legal help for ‘threatened bloggers’. Sudish also contacted legal expert Naavi to get an idea of the email legal notices. However, I don’t think the notices were a hoax. Shivam has the roundup on the legal terms and issues in this case. A good ready-reckoner! Metlin looks at what constitutes libel. The threats to "burn laptops" and other indicators points to IIPM. If you know anyone who can help us legally (for free), please contact us.

Update#33: Arzan does excellent investigative work and digs up information on IIPM’s ‘international’ connections. Gawker follows it up with his own investigation.

Update#34: Kiruba has designed some nice buttons for your blog to show support for Rashmi and Gaurav. Kiruba, don’t forget our dear Varna.

Update#35: Rashmi Bansal is back! She posts evidence to IIPM’s bogus claims of high ranking for their business school.

Update#36: Puneet has irrefutable proof that IIPM is spamming Google, MSN and Yahoo search engines.

Update#37: Varna intends to stop posting about IIPM and has her last post up on the subject.

Update#38: Mridula prefers Yahoo over Google to search for news regards IIPM. But she forgets Google’s latest offering - Blogsearch.

Update#39: IIPM is back as Technorati’s top search after being briefly pushed down by Apple’s Video iPod. The momentum seems to be relentless.

Update#40: Arzan has a online petition up in support of Rashmi Bansal and Gaurav Sabnis. Go sign it!

Update#41: Taking a cue from Gawker, Sameer further investigates the duplicate universities that IIPM seems to have set up all over the world.

Update#42: Bloggers are now fisking IIPM’s website faster than ever. Mahesh discovers a wierd disclaimer on their website that might effectively absolve Rashmi, Gaurav, and Varna if they added it too.

Update#43: Kiruba sure does get flashes of brilliance in the middle of the night. Nice tee!

Update#44: Nirav reminds us why nipping such IIPM-esque behavior in the bud is necessary.

Update #45: Varna gives a fitting reply to A Saxena’s latest comment.

Update #46: Amit Varma points to an article, which raises questions about the credentials of IIPM’s founder.

Update#47: PressTalk has a official statement from IIPM regarding the controversy. They plan on continuing to sue people.

Update#48: Joichi Jho, Creative Commons Board Member considers this issue extremely important because seemingly the USP of this country is its open democracy.

Update#49: Dr. Amit Kapoor, Gaurav’s professor from IIM-L shares an email sent by an IIPM student. Now, this seems closer to the truth.

Update#50: Varun has an excellent response to an anonymous IIPM student commenter. Incidentally, the arguments offered by this IIPM student seem much more balanced and rational as compared to the abusive ones elsewhere but Varun fisks his arguments quite admirably. Somu has a great find - Arindham Chaudhari advocating free speech and exposing "shameless creeps who occupy public space".

Update#51: Thalassa Mikra has an excellent online investigative piece on Dr. Malay Chaudhari and his credentials. Bonatellis has some priceless quotes from IIPM’s research website.

Update#52: Ethan Zuckerman from Global Voices has an extensive post on his personal blog and actually is a good overview of the entire controversy that is now almost a week old. Global Voices "promises to continue following this issue toward resolution". That is heartening to hear!

Update#53: Sunil Laxman has a nice post on "how NOT to run management institutes".

Update#54: Satya, blogosphere resident education guru writes on the trends of education advertising in India. Although wee bit unrelated, Ujval Gandhi critics Arindham C’s movie reviews. It seems there were fake reviewers too.

Update#55: Mandar’s lawyer friend, Amod Paranjpe has excellently dissected the legal notices sent by IIPM. His conclusion - we don’t have to worry about them.

Update#56: Kitabkhana has a refreshingly different post - Six things IIPM could use. Are they listening yet?

Update#57: Codelust warns bloggers to take on their "freedom of speech" right a little bit more responsibly. We understand his point and concerns but we are trying to formulate our angry thoughts into coordinated action soon. Randoms rants on individual blogs are slowly replaced by seemingly intuitive investigation (check our upates) and we believe, that the blogosphere is maturing in that sense.

Update#58: Should the blogosphere be subject to the standards of accountability and reliability of the mainstream media? Shivam comments on Sajan Veniyoor’s article in The Hoot.

Update#59: Puneet has a second part to his earlier post on IIPM spamming Google, MSN and Yahoo search engines. He tells us how we can report their behavior.

Updates#60: Mridula writes on what makes bloggers dig up facts so quickly in a story that is somewhat ignored by the traditional media.

I am trying to add your blog mentions as fast as I can. They are mentioned in the order that we discover them. So if you feel that you haven’t been mentioned or your comment didn’t register, use the contact form to send us your link. Kaps, at the same time, is looking for more through Technorati, Google Blog Search, and Ice Rocket. Please look within the various updates too. I have tried to group various posts according to specific topics.

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