money through Internet domain names
are domain names?
Domain names are unique text-based names given to websites
and portals, also called Universal Resource Locater (URL)
such as www.yahoo.com.
A new user wishing to set up a website needs to check the
availability of the proposed name from the Internet Authority
done through one of the several (country) appointed registries.
name is available the user can purchase the name for a two-year
period by paying a fee through credit cards to the registry.
end of the two-year period, if the name is not renewed other
users may purchase the same name.
If the proposed name has already been taken by someone else
the user may negotiate privately to purchase the name or settle
for an alternative name.
in front of a computer all day thinking of names. Our Business Unusual
candidate this week, Vincent Peeris does just that. Peeris got the
idea of venturing into this business about two years ago while returning
to Sri Lanka after abruptly ending his stay in the U.S. having changed
plans of completing his B.Sc. in Computer Science. An article about
a domain name of a website being sold for $3.3 million attracted
his attention. Thus started a business in which he began using his
tuition fees as capital with the approval of his father.
started registering catchy domain names on the Internet that might
fetch a higher price using his imagination at $70 per name. The
domain names were earlier distributed free by the Internet Authority
(ICANN) in the U.S. during the early stages of the Internet revolution.
Thereafter registries were appointed where those wishing to acquire
names can log in and search for its availability. If a name has
already been acquired the user may contact the registered owner
to propose a private purchase. The popularity of the name raises
the bid price and in the case of Peeris it fetched him US$7,750
for the sale of eManufacture.com.
into the trade at the early stages he considers himself lucky as
today many other international companies in the U.S. and Europe
have registered prospective names with the intention of attracting
a higher value. Peeris who now has over 1.000 domain names, having
matured in the selection of names, is close to clinching a long-term
deal that could earn him $1 million over a five-year period.
A remarkable achievement for Peeris in this unique trade is that
all of his transactions have been done sitting in front of his computer
at his home in Kotahena. He hopes that the Internet infrastructure
would improve towards broadband access so that he would be able
to expand his business. Currently he is developing a website to
list all the names he owns.
experts for apparel industry
The apparel industry is getting ready to face competition in the
quota-free era by launching a programme to train 250 marketing experts
by the time quotas are abolished in 2005.
The aim of the
programme, organised by the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters' Association
(SLAEA) and the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), is to give
local industrialists the knowledge required to perform competitively
in the international apparel retail trade.
marketing programme has been designed with the help of Dr. Tony
Hines, a former director of the Apparel Marketing Research Group
at the London College of Fashion, the SLAEA said in a statement.
He is currently
a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Retailing and Marketing at
the Business School in the Manchester Metropolitan University.
This is the
first time CIM UK has ventured into an apparel-specific qualification.
The course is scheduled to commence in Sri Lanka in June and will
have a similar structure to the present CIM marketing course, with
the emphasis on apparel marketing, the statement said.
When the quota
system, known as the Multi-Fibre Agreement, is abolished, garment
factories will need to go beyond their current manufacturing expertise
and know-how and develop marketing skills to market their product
directly to the customer, it said.
quota system is abolished, it is estimated that approximately 60
percent of the country's existing factories may shut down,"
the statement said.
in the new trading environment beyond 2005 will depend entirely
on how well the industry markets its manufacturing capabilities
and product quality to the international market," it said.
organised a seminar on 'Apparel Marketing and You' conducted by
Dr. Tony Hines recently. It was to educate and inform the apparel
industry on ways of improving their sales and marketing strategies
in order to succeed in a highly competitive and challenging market
environment after the present quota system is abolished in 2005.
The end of textile
quotas, while seen as a threat, could also be an opportunity for
the industry which, with effective marketing and by building strong
and direct relationships with buyers, has the potential to grow,
By Akhry Ameer
eRunway, the software development company that started its operation
as Technology Providers in Sri Lanka, went through its second name
change last week to be known as Virtusa Corporation.
The name change
was partly due to the negative outlook by organisations in the US
on e-based companies and also to instill its strength and stability
as a company that strives for engineering excellence, said Kris
Canekeratne, Chairman and CEO of Virtusa Corp.
who joined the company recently from Indian software giant Infosys
as Executive Vice President to head worldwide sales and marketing
said, "It is not just a name change, but a public acknowledgment
of what the company stands for. We felt that eRunway does not truly
reflect the company".
Canekeratne, Virtusa's value proposition of excellence in people,
process and engineering over the last four years has helped the
company realise a compound annual growth rate of 75 percent and
a sequential quarter to quarter growth of 26 percent. This trend
was maintained even during the times of economic slowdown in the
US, he added.
on previous occasions the chairman declined to give actual figures
of performance but said that they were making profits.
Java and Microsoft technologies to deliver solutions to its customers
in certain financial segments and in the areas of electronic bills
and Customer Relationship Marketing. The company with a staff of
around 500 has an employee retention record of 93 percent driven
by an employee ownership culture and selection of the high performing
candidates. To battle the effects of September 11 last year, Virtusa
took a company wide pay cut instead of retrenching staff which had
been largely welcomed within the company. The name Virtusa, had
been proposed by a member of staff from its development centre in
Hyderabad, India, among many other names that the staff came up
no immediate plans for a public listing as it has sufficient capital
raised $35.5 million in two rounds of funding from US-based venture
capitalists, Sigma Partners, Charles Rvier Ventures and JAFCO Ventures.
Its total worth is believed to be over $100 million.
gifts equipment to ITI
The Food Product Development Group of the Agro and Food Technology
Division of the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) has received
equipment worth Rs. 4 million for accelerated shelf life determination
of food products under the Technical Cooperation programme of the
Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The equipment includes heated incubators, a pH meter, a water activity
meter and a bio-safety cabinet.
this new equipment, the ITI continues to support industry by undertaking
testing, investigations and research, for improving product quality,
technical processes and methods used in industry," an ITI statement
Production of food of acceptable quality and safety with shelf lives
adequate for their intended use is of immense importance to both
the retailer and the consumer.
It is therefore
vital that food must reach the consumer in good condition and retain
its quality for the period intended. If the shelf life of a food
product is determined using normal conditions, the product has to
be stored at the appropriate temperature and evaluated after varying
periods of time.
A more rapid
alternative technique is the accelerated method of shelf life determination
where the storage temperature is elevated so as to accelerate the
the storage temperatures to between 30-55°C brings about rapid
changes in flavour, oil-water separations, breakdown of fats, tin
dissolution in unlacquered cans as well as destabilisation of pickles
and sauces, the statement added.
With the equipment
that the ITI has now acquired through the JICA project, the institute
is now in a position to determine the shelf life of most food products
to be stored at ambient temperature in a relatively short period
Another area of accelerated shelf life determination that the Food
Product Development Group of the ITI intends to get involved in
the future is that of frozen food products. Storage defects in frozen
products can be accelerated by storage at higher temperatures of
10 to 15C.
This method will also enable the rapid shelf life determination
of frozen foods in a relatively short time. Food industrialists
are now welcome to make use of this new facility at the ITI.
two years of restructuring most difficult, says Milinda Moragoda
The first two years of economic restructuring is the most difficult
and most painful and in this context there is a need to explain
to the people why this is being done and the ultimate benefits,
says Economic Reforms Minister, Milinda Moragoda.
"When there is a high fiscal deficit, the normal sequence is
to enter into a stabilisation process. This means a sharp cut in
real incomes because there is too much demand and too little supply.
There is often opposition to this," he said in a recent interview.
the fiscal deficit is brought under control, there should be growth."
Here are excerpts of the interview:
Stabilisation has many phases like temporary unemployment due to
the restructuring of the economy. In economies that theoretically
are efficient like the US, you see sharp adjustments immediately.
When there is too much demand, they adjust quickly without delay.
In a developing country like ours following a standard stabilisation
programme has its risks. We have to be aware of the social dimension.
We can't look at it in a one dimensional way.
is to balance the two. My own thinking is that we have to focus
more on reforms than what I call "playing the numbers game".
The social and political realities of the country mean we can't
To make this
work and project growth, we need to reform. This would mean deregulation
so that the private sector can invest and grow. The most difficult
would be labour reforms.
We need to change the mindset among young rural people that the
public sector is the best employer. It is a challenge to the private
sector too. The private sector must be able to present itself as
an alternative to the public sector. There is a need to trim the
The government has to address the education sector seriously. In
our manifesto we talk of a voucher system so that a student can
go to any school making it competitive. The emphasis should shift
from the government providing education to one of providing the
opportunity for education, via the voucher system. These are long-term
of the unemployed and the not employable is a volcano waiting to
explode. If, as a society, we are going to be complacent, there
would be a third explosion. If we achieve economic growth in the
short term, it might not benefit this spectrum in society. If it
only goes to the Colombo schools, the elite schools, we have a problem.
on education reforms:
The prime minister as minister of policy development and I as deputy
minister have created a policy development committee which is a
private-public combination with some academic input. Under this
there are several committees.
However, I always
feel that we have a lot of concepts but implementation is weak.
Sometimes it is better to do three things right and two things wrong
than to spend too much time (on too many things). As the prime minister
says, let us have a hands-on approach and proceed even if we make
Every survey that has been done in Sri Lanka shows that people are
suspicious of privatization. There is a need to explain the system
and take people into one's confidence. I am not saying privatization
or free enterprise is the best system in the world but this seems
to be the best system that is working at the moment.
We need this
purely to finance the budget deficit with Rs. 21 billion being targeted
from privatization. Last year too the same amount was targeted but
it was not successful under the previous government. It is a huge
Corporation would be one of the flagship privatisations with 10
percent going to the employees. As far as Sri Lanka Telecom is concerned
there are two ways of looking at it - get maximum value out of the
sale or look at it from the customers' point of view. In our view,
the second is the best option. We need to increase the number of
telephones and offer the best service at the lowest possible price.
Through competition we are expecting better quality, better service.
In the rail transport sector too we are looking at public-private
I agree there is a confidence issue when we investigate previous
privatization deals. It has to be done in a way that global business
confidence is maintained. But equally it is being said that if there
have knowingly been corrupt practices then those must be exposed.
This should not be a witch-hunt or be seen as one.
A new welfare law has been announced in the budget. This is essentially
to give the criteria by law for receipts and includes penalties
for violation. Today political party affiliations become the criteria,
not need. That's how half our population has ended up getting welfare
for Jaffna students
The Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka (IBSL) is trying to encourage
students in the north and east to take to banking by setting up
accredited tuition providers in those areas.
A team from
the IBSL visited Jaffna last week with the aim of starting banking
examinations in Jaffna, the IBSL said in a statement.
in Vaddukodai, has been made an accredited tuition provider of IBSL
and it hopes to start lectures for the Certificate in Banking and
Finance and other qualifications shortly.
The IBSL also
arranged visits to Trincomalee to create awareness of banking education
and banking examinations which are jointly conducted by IBSL and
the Chartered Institute of Bankers, London.
launches 'stock tracker' facility
A sophisticated mobile phone based information cum tracking facility
for stocks on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has been launched
by Celltel Lanka Ltd, Sri Lanka's pioneer cellular operator.
Stock Tracker" enables any Celltel GSM subscriber to be kept
informed automatically of stock price movements on the basis of
parameters set by the individual, making it the most powerful and
effective stockmarket information service in the local cellular
industry, the company said.
The new facility
which is powered by Celltel's exciting Short Messaging Services
(CellSMS) technology and the latest Internet software makes it possible
for a subscriber to order a watch on selected stocks and receive
a message when they reach a stipulated price threshold.
a resourceful tool for the busy investor," Celltel's Commercial
Director Aniljit Singh said. "With Celltel Stock Tracker, a
subscriber can actually configure an individual portfolio on Celltel's
Stock Tracker website (www.stock.celltelnet.lk
or via www.celltel.lk) and be kept informed of the value of his
or her portfolio real time, throughout the day."
buys Advantage SL
The advertising agency, Advantage Sri Lanka, recently announced
a joint venture with Rediffusion - Dentsu, Young and Rubicam.
Dentsu of Japan
and Young Rubicam, along with Rediffussion - DY&R (RDY&R),
India's fifth largest advertising agency, have acquired controlling
stakes in Advantage Sri Lanka. The new entity will operate as Advantage
- DY&R Brand Communications.
DY&R's roster of clients include international brands such as
AT&T, Canon, Citibank, Colgate - Palmolive, Daikin, Ericsson,
ING Insurance, Nike, Phillip Morris, Thomson, UIP and Victor Chandler
to name a few. Some of the domestic brands that the agency handles
are AirTel, Eveready, Maruti- Suzuki, Taj Hotels, Telco and Zee
Lanka, which started operations in 1994, has provided communication
solutions for many a blue chip firm, including Singer, People's
Bank, Maharajah Group, Maliban, Hayleys, Directories Lanka, Mobitel,
and DFCC Bank.
Lanka Walltiles recently organised a full-day workshop for tilers
at the Sampath Hotel, Kadawatha, aimed at educating the trade on
the handling, laying and the usage of tiles.
the company's marketing manager, described the firm's commitment
towards raising the standards of the tiling industry as fulfilling
a social requirement that went beyond any corporate agenda. He said
workshops like this aimed at equipping tilers with the latest technological
know-how would be held across the country.
NIIT, the global leader in IT Education and Training joined hands
with the National Youth Services Council to conduct a computer literacy
programme in Moneragala. This two-day training programme called
SWIFT Praveshi was conducted at the NYSC Computer Training Centre
in Moneragala in late March.
is a training programme designed by NIIT to transform people from
"No Computers" to "Know Computers", a NIIT statement
Managing Director of MMBL CyberSkills (Pvt) Ltd, licensee of NIIT
in Sri Lanka said, "When NIIT launched the Sri Lanka Computer
Literacy campaign in February 2002, the National Youth Services
Council also embarked on a computer literacy campaign to educate
the youth on computers through their centres throughout the island.
Since both organisations had similar objectives, it was decided
to pool resources and conduct joint IT training programmes in rural
locations where NYSC has centres."
He further said
the programme conducted in Moneragala was the first such programme
and it was a big success where "we were able to train 60 students
of various backgrounds and age groups".