Telenor Denies Its Commitment, Extends Blogging Competition [UPDATED]

A week before the launching ceremony of Telenor’s online portal Weblounge, Telenor organized separate bloggers’ meetups in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi to demonstrate and brief the blogging community about their new service.

These meetups were very fruitful for Telenor as bloggers quickly highlighted the loop holes in the service and suggested their appropriate fixes. It was in Islamabad meetup that the bloggers’ asked Telenor’s product development team to secure their weblounge portal by ensuring SSL on payment page – which Telenor implemented later on.

In these meetups, Telenor announced that a Blogging Competition is going to be held among the bloggers. Telenor asked the blogging community to review their Weblounge service, highlight its pros and cons and do an overview of the service.

The rule was simple and clear:

To write a review on the Weblounge service and link the post to Telenor Weblounge page. The blog which would generate the maximum number of refereed visits to the Telenor Weblounge page will win the competition and a Blackberry Bold would be awarded to the winner. The competition had to start on the 10th of August and was planned to end on the 10th of September (one month campaign – clearly communicated).

Bloggers from all three cities took interest in this competition and participated with great esteem. Telenor collected email addresses, blog URLs and other information from all the bloggers so they could easily track, include and rank the blogs in the competition. Bloggers were excited that for the first a giant company like Telenor had approached them but they didn’t know what was next for them.

According to the stats which Marketing Operations, Telenor sent to the bloggers in the end of August, only six blogs were included in the competition. Their names with stats are given below:

  • Propakistani: 388 visits
  • Pak-sms : 252 visits (They did a review, plus a banner ad is being displayed)
  • 75 visits
  • Lahore.metblog: 20 visits
  • Sajjadzaidi: 12 visits
  • Pakmediablog: 0 visits

These stats are for first 18 days…

Just two days back bloggers discussed this issue and asked each other on twitter that if anyone had any idea when Telenor is going to announce the result of this competition. And it was decided that bloggers will contact Telenor regarding the status.

Today when we contacted Telenor’s concerned person, he replied to all the bloggers with a shocking message. Below is the official verdict:

Kindly note that we haven’t received any good numbers in blogging competition, seems like our esteemed bloggers are a bit busy in other work :). Therefore we are extending the competition date uptill 31st October and putting in the limit of 1000 visitors at least referred to our weblounge page.

However in order to encourage and appreciate the efforts we are gifting gift hampers to bloggers, kindly send reply with your postal addresses thanks.

After all the work and hope – Telenor simply rules out its commitment and extends the competition date. There was no requirement of minimum 1000 visitors in the initial rule of this competition.

All this proves following

  • Maybe they never had a plan to conclude the competition
  • They thought bloggers are kids – and they can manage them with Gifts, in the end
  • They totally miss-calculated the campaign and announced a bigger prize for little return. (50K for 2000 visits is not bad at all though)

During this whole competition, Telenor kept sending its various news and press releases asking bloggers to publish them – which bloggers did happily. And now Telenor is simply running away from this competition by giving gift hampers.

I’m personally very disappointed on Telenor, I think it is a total scam and nothing else. What you think about this whole scenario and what should be done to stop such scams from prevailing in the future.


I’m glad to update here that Telenor responded to our criticism in a positive manner. After a long conference call between a Telenor official and the blogging community – it was concluded and accepted that Blogging Competition will continue and will come to an end on the 31st of October.

The minimum requirement of generating 1000 refereed visits to the Weblounge page is taken back.

Now, the blog which generates the maximum number of refereed visits (regardless of how many) to the Weblounge page till the 31st of October will be declared the winner.

Good luck to all the bloggers!

  • I am not disappointed since I didn’t have any hopes in the first place.

    I knew from day 1 where this was going so tried to show my disinterest which was enough of a hint.

    For future, it’s easy enough to understand they they should mind their own business and so should we.

  • Thats called “corporate promises”, Zeeshan.

    I’m not disappointed. Just plainly indifferent.

    Reason being that I did not just go ahead and publish posts for free on Telenor products and they didn’t give me any BlackBerry for it.

    I read Pakiology and Saday-e-Pakistan’s post on Telenor’s products. Not including them in the competition is absolutely SHAMEFUL.

  • Telenor and mobilink are one companies that love to steal act as thieves and also mug the normal people .. my article on cyberdera said the same.. these companies are truly not acting in a wise enough manner or a cultured way that would show their corporate exposure

  • @ Zeeshan (Author) .. I’m the owner of .. So kindly cut the crap out, is the link to the review I did on Telenor’s Web Lounge .. You got no right to say anything about my work.

    Secondly, About Blogger’s Competition, Telenor mailed everyone and asked them to reply back IF THEY wanna be the part of this competition. Everyone who attended the meetup were not included.

    10 August 2008 Email from Telenor, See the last line “Plus we have a small bloggers competition as well that will start from 11th August, those who want to participate kindly do contact me, thanks.” .. This line clearly mentinoed that whoever wants to Participate, contact them.

    Thirdly, Telenor had been in-touch with some of the top bloggers and website owners. (Usually 90% of you bloggers blog about TECH or something and you don’t give a damn about Pakistan because your current blogs have foreign traffic and you earn from there.) So why would they contact such bloggers again who didnt give a damn to them?

    And at the last, without even ending the competition (even in your reference quoted email) which clearly says that the time is extended, which means bigger prize is still at hold and they are sending out gift hampers to some of the selected bloggers during the competition. So its not a miscomittment rather a very motivational thing, that Telenor still keeps the word and put a hold to the bigger prize and still without anything is sending you gifts.

    Talal Masood

      • I did place a Banner. Is placing a banner bad move? Zeeshan said I didnt review weblounge. I did review on the very first day!

    • While I’d agree with most of the things Talal said, including the August 10, email asking to reply in order to participate, and the fact that we (at least those at Lahore) were only told that it would be a 2 month competition, Telenor is the one at fault here.

      I can’t believe you’re overlooking the fact that the only one who stands to benefit from this is Telenor. Of course we can’t cover this story because of the international traffic issues but I never was interested in a Blackberry Bold anyways.

      What Telenor didn’t understand here is that this is called paid reviews, and if you’re going down that road, then make sure you pay up each and everyone who covered it.

      And quite frankly, I think they can’t get any more FREE traffic from the bloggosphere and that shows how good their product was.

      They certainly have got off on the wrong foot here, and the seriously need to rethink their strategy if they want to rebuild their image. Because the bloggosphere is more than capable of causing serious blows to this product as it relies on web traffic.

      • The things you described about Paid Reviews is a nice strategy. But I guess, they started off with this kind of thing for the first time.

        Uzee, we knew it was 2months compeition so August-September, September-October are 2 months, Aint it?

        When Mobilink can turn off their Ladies First Package without notice or All the companies started charging 10Paisa on balance enquiry without any notification then what is the hype in this issue?

        If you ever look at any telco’s any package plan, there is a * with it which says “Limited Time Offer”. Oh yea, I guess Telenor told you people verbally that Its a competition and forgot to say ASTERIK with that :)

        I don’t think there is an issue to be raised on this matter. They are giving you gift hampers, comeptition is still on, — scene on hai yaar! :)

        • I respect your thoughts… however, let me say following things in response,

          We, at ProPakistani praises and criticizes companies, with equal regards. We didn’t spare Mobilink for taking back Ladies First or SMS bundles then why you think this issue was not discussion worthy?

          We also condemned PTA for not concluding Essay writing competition here, the way Zeeshan did today.

          Besides, i was not in Lahore, so i don’t know what happened there – however, in Islamabad, in presence of so many others (including me), we were clearly communicated that it was one month campaign. No Doubt about it!!!

        • @Talal

          That’s my whole point. They started off wrong and two wrongs wont make a right.

          As for 2 months, August = 1 month, September =2nd month. The mid result email clearly mentioned the competition will close in the last week of September.

          And all things aside, I think they had too much expectations for this product. I mean it was aimed at business professional (because its postpaid), who actively use the Internet for most part of the day. Most people I know in that category like to communicate online instead of using cellphones, so that means they had a very limited market scope.

          And on top of that, the service had its own hiccups to begin with. Under those circumstances, I think they got a very good response (traffic). We all know only a fraction of the total traffic on a page actually click’s through to the product.

    • I would agree to Talal’s and Uzair’s comment. I think there’s been a misunderstanding and miss communication. I’ll agree as well as disagree to some points of the post.

      The competition was announced by Telenor and it was mentioned in the official email that the competition will end in the last week of September. But today, they emailed that they are extending the dates of the competition. So, what’s wrong in it if they are extending it..? Its not like that they never had a plan to conclude the competition. They just extended it.

      They informed it to everyone in time. They came up with an explanation that why are they extending the date of the competition. They asked the group to post addresses so that they can receive the gifts apart from the competition. The statement clearly explains that the move was to acknowledged the efforts and encourage the competition. The competition is still there and so is its prize. So, what is this all hype about?

      You can’t punish someone for the crime which has not been committed yet. The email was sent to a group of bloggers and if someone had any issue, it must have been brought to light within that group. The issue could have been discussed there and we all could have come to an understanding. Their should be another decent way of protest instead of baseless blaming and calling it a scam in online media. The competition is still on and was among only six blogs or bloggers. So it shouldn’t be brought to the world before discussing it with at least those six stake holders.

      We bloggers must be able to see whether who’s trying to exploit and who’s really worthy of getting media coverage. The statement in the post “Telenor kept sending its various news and press releases asking bloggers to publish them – which bloggers did happily” really disappoints me. You mentioned all the bloggers so I would like to answer that its not the case. Only six blogs were included in the competition on the bases of the number of the visitors referred to their website. When I was told that I’d been included in the blogging competition (Lahore Metblog is at 4th) I told them that I would not support because it doesn’t go with the policy of my blog and to me, your updates seem more like a promotional news and this whole conversation is on record. I had just reported the event held in Lahore and the launch at and then I didn’t continue with it.

      It is good if bloggers understand that what actually is news and what is marketing. I would only suggest that one must not do something out of the way for any one and at the same time, must not expect something out of the way. Well, in the end, they just extended the competition not ended it and I don’t see any thing wrong in it.

      And yes, there was nothing like a cap of minimum number of the visitors. But it could be discussed offline. I some what agree to the last point of you Zeeshan that they seems to be in a position that they miss-calculated the campaign and were expecting something more. Like Talal mentioned, it was their 1st experience and they will learn slowly that its not quiet easy to get everything easily according to their own will from social media.

      There’s nothing like you can cheat media and especially online media easily. And I believe that Telenor understands that. They would never want to do something which can actually affect their brand.

      To sum it up, I believe that at this point there was no need to come up with such conclusion and if, there was any issue of numbers it must not have been brought like this.

      Usman Latif

  • How to prevent these scams?
    I don’t think there is a way other than the LAW is straightened. More so the higher management need to be decent (not saaiths)

    Ethics, morals… NO EXISTENCE!

  • Yar actually telenor india bhaag raha hay awr akhir may wo chahta hay muft may zyada say zyada paisay cash keye jaye. Very simple

  • Lets discuss this issue at next meet up Guys, I think this is not the right place. There is some serious misunderstanding going on. The message they delivered and the message you interpreted is totally different[this is what i have observed at leats ]. So lets stop blaming each other and discuss this issue at Next Meetup :)

    • Which just discussed what Telenor is doing and nothing else. Our job is to highlight the bad things going in the industry. And trust me this is the right place to discuss, you don’t worry I’m with you. No need to worry about anything – Just don’t take any pressure ;)

  • I am not afraid of anyone , just looking for a peaceful way to resolve this issue :)I hope things would get better at next meet up

  • Seems telenor has given prize to Mr. Talal Masood under the table :p that’s y is taking part of telenor :)) peace up guys .. Behas main kya rakha hai.

    • telenor is involve in such kind of gift in the market as well
      One on the company i know telenor sales manager have given him a check just to port to there network so some offical who can influence the disscions
      This is kind of practice in the market i am not blaming but now a days this is very common and can not left out of considerations

    • Suhaib, This is really bad. I am not the winner yet. The result is still on. The thing that hurts me is that my website is not that big/huge like propakistani and still I gave them the 2nd most hits. I worked hard in that effort and in the end I had to listen to such things. This is really heart-beaking.

  • Extending the competition isn’t wrong, as I think. BUT they didn’t extend it as a promotional activity, they extended it saying “Kindly note that we haven’t received any good numbers in blogging competition, seems like our esteemed bloggers are a bit busy in other work :)”

    If things didn’t work for em as expected, then why should we be held responsible?

    I have over 80 percent traffic from Pakistan and I could write on it but I was well aware of the things to happen next.

  • An example of how big companies want to use bloggers as a medium for free marketing and publicity. Thank God I didn’t fall for this even though I was invited by a few people.

    • If you call it FREE its not. They held a meetup, offered us tea/drinks/snacks. They invited few of us on Dinners. They are sending us Gift Hampers. And the bigger prize is still on hold. Why do you say its FREE?

  • @Talal ,, my prospective is not to hurt you. congrats to be placed on 2nd . The only issue is that the bloggers and the website owners must be unite as already they are. they are playing a very positive role in terms of ( Mufta marketing ) for the telecom companies since many of us come to know about the new promotions / features offered by the operators through these blogs. So the blogger must get these kinds on rewards in the form of competition etc. Keep up the good work bloggers.

  • Is it only me here who is thinking that these esteemed bloggers were supposed to give us fair and unbiased reviews rather than being on the payroll of some companies to promote their products. now we know why the weblounge was promoted so much on the blogs. now we cant trust anything you guys say.

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