Barcamp Delhi, over the weekend at IIT Delhi, was something of a lucky draw: with three parallel sessions, you really didn’t know what you were going to get, and I do regret missing out on three sessions that got rave reviews afterwards. But I did manage to attend a 4-5 sessions that were useful/interesting – not bad at all, compared to some of the conferences:

The presentation on day one which grabbed everyones attention – so much so that a few people gave up their talks to allow the discussion to extend from 30 minutes to 1.5 hrs debate was the talk on the financial crisis, by Pankaj Jain of Teknatus Solutions

The Financial Crisis and India

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There were disagreements over whether Real Estate would remain a safe bet or not, but the consensus was with Gold. On the VC side, Jain said that Venture Capitalists may not have the entire funds they’ve raised, at their disposal, since their Limited Partners have lost a lot of money in the ongoing financial crisis: funding will be hard to come by.

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Another interesting presentation on Day 1 was about monetizing Facebook applications from Niraj Ranjan Rout of Mobicules: while the Rout did say that there are too many apps, and more coming, the growth can be incredibly fast. A majority of the Facebook applications are monetized through ad networks – Google Adsense, Lookme, Appsaholic, and CPMs are rather low at $0.5-2 per 1000 impressions, and earnings per click of $0.05-0.10, with CTRs of less than 1 percent.

Things are worse in the new redesigned facebook, since it’s now much more difficult to propagate an application, and they’ve clamped down on viral features. He gave examples of two services that have been able to monetize, without a dependancy on advertising:

MobWars: it’s a thriving crime economy, where a user earns virtual money by performing tasks. With 2,686,376 active users, it is very competitive, and has gone beyond the virtual currency. Users tend to tire out within a certain timeframe, after performing tasks, and have to wait to recuperate. The monetization comes via a system called Spare Change, which allows you to buy points – “Buy Favor from Godfather”. The estimated earnings are around $100 per 1000 DAU, and the success is primarily because Spare Change is closely integrated with the system. Check out the app here.

iLike: the music recommendation site started off a few months before the facebook platform was launched, and was among the first on the platform. Monetization for them is through sending users to Ticketmaster and iTunes. They do not sell anything directly. It’s estimated that so far, around $10 million spent by users to buy ringtones, tickets and music; iLike is planning to launch an ad network for concerts. Check out the app here.