3 Weeks Without Internet in Thailand

This is the norm – not anomaly.

Out of the past 3, almost 4 weeks now, we have had internet (ADSL) work well for no more than a couple hours at a time. When it works I bust my ass and get as much done as possible because one of two things are going to happen. The internet is going to die – and for days, perhaps. Or, the power is going to start going on and off -and effing up my UPS battery, which is already solidly effed.

3G would be such a relief… as it is, I use EDGE on my AIS mobile connection and connect to the computers with a USB cable. This works 99% of the time – and is quite stable, but, about 6 days ago there was no EDGE connection either for 3 days.

It’s NOT a good time to be online in Thailand… The dry season is much more consistent – and though power still goes on and off a few times per week – consistently, year round, at least the internet during the dry season is a lot better.

Thailand 3G Auction Blocked by Court

Well Thailand takes another flying leap – backward into the 1990’s.

Don’t Thais get upset with this shit? They just keep on mai pen rai’ing shit, and nothing moves forward… GTD quickly turns into GTF’ed in this country – if you give it an inch.

Mai pen rai is great for many situations, but here’s where it doesn’t work:

  • The southernmost 3 provinces
  • 3G debacle
  • Airports under seige
  • ADSL and electrical grid going down when there is rain or the wind blows

Mai pen rai everyfuckingthingelse, just let the country get some decent 3G wireless internet before humanity in this country starts growing tails. Soon we’ll all be reverting to monkeys banging out morse code on rocks to communicate.

Using Mobile for Internet Access on Your Notebook Computer

Here is exactly how to go about getting set up on EDGE (EGPRS) or regular GPRS data connection with a Nokia phone and AIS or DTAC mobile providers in Thailand. Prior to my 2nd attempt here of using ADSL I used EDGE for over 3 years with both DTAC and AIS as my primary means of connecting online. It’s fast enough that you won’t be throwing stuff across the room – but, it’s a serious drop from anything resembling broadband speeds.


These steps will enable you to connect your mobile phone to your computer – desktop or notebook computer and access the internet using your AIS or DTAC data connection at a cost of about 50 baht per day, or you could sign up for one of the longer-term data plans at a few hundred baht per month. These are unlimited data plans – no cap on uploads or downloads.

Steps to setting up your EDGE / GPRS connection:

1. Purchase a Nokia mobile phone with a Class 32 data modem. You may need to look online to find them but here are some phones that have them: Nokia e71, Nokia 5800 music express, Nokia N90… Most of the high end Nokias have the class 32 modems inside. Some have Class 10 – which also works, but you’ll get slower speeds. I STRONGLY recommend don’t waste your time with Class 10 and just get a Class 32. You can find a phone for about 7-8,000 Thai Baht with a Class 32. Doesn’t the Nokia e70 have Class 32? I think so.

Keep in mind that someday Thailand might have 3G access. So, you might buy a phone with 3G inside also because it’s going to make EDGE obsolete entirely when it finally arrives maybe sometime in 2010.

List of Nokias that have Class 32 modems: e65, e70, e71, e72, e75, n76, n82, n86, 5130, 5530, 5310, 6555, 6720 Classic, 6700 Classic, 5800 and 5130 Express Music. There are many more – this list is just to give you a sample.

I don’t know which of those phones have 3G – so check.

2. Wherever you buy your phone should have SIM cards for sale. These go into your phone and you can use plastic cards from 7-11 to top them up with Thai Baht so you can make phone calls and use the internet.

Choose a SIM card that allows you to call other people with voice, and data connections to the internet. There are specific SIMS that are just for data – but, I don’t see the point – just get one you can do both with.

Also add some Thai Baht to your phone at the phone store or at the 7-11. For AIS just ask for AIS – 1-2 Call, 150 baht or 300 baht – whatever you want. For DTAC network ask for Dee-TAC Happy 150 or 300 baht.

100 baht = ‘roy baht or loy baht’ depending what dialect they feel like using.

150 baht = ‘roy hah sip baht’ or ‘loy hah sip baht

300 baht = ‘sam roy baht’ or ‘sam loy baht”

Install SIM and use the instructions on the back of the phone card you bought to add the credit in baht.

3. For AIS call 1175 to set up your phone for internet use. For DTAC it’s 1678. They need to do some magic on their end to make things work. You can get an English speaker at either of those phone numbers.

4. Now you need to buy an internet data plan. Actually both companies let you just start using the internet immediately without a plan if that’s what you choose to do. There’s no need to get a plan, but they’ll charge you 1 baht per minute.

Instead, you could sign up for a whole day of unlimited internet for 50 baht (12/09). Or, you can get even cheaper rates by getting a monthly plan for a few hundred baht – unlimited too.

If your phone has a web browser or email functions you can set that up immediately just to check if it’s working. Remember you’re at the 1 baht per minute until you choose an internet plan.

5. Choosing an internet plan.

AIS

There are two ways to do this – dealing with the computer where you punch buttons. Or, you can just call the numbers I gave you above and tell them you want to sign up for an internet data package. There are two types of billing. One time, and recurring – so be sure which you have.

For AIS just do this if you want to use the computer to sign up for 1 day of service at 50 baht for 24 hours:

To get internet for 1 day on your phone (unlimited for 49 baht) enter:

*138*0349# and wait for the confirmation SMS. Now, be careful because you will get 2 confirmation SMS’s. The first one says – you WILL get it. Doesn’t mean you have it. The next one says – it’s activated. Meaning – you have it. Be careful with this because after the first message if you connect online you’ll STILL be paying 1 baht per minute. Even if you get the 2nd message after you connect. You must connect to internet after the 2nd message to get the good rate.

DTAC

To get 1 day of unlimited internet enter *1004 and listen for the Thai prompts. Every time you hear “got noong” enter a number -> Enter 1, 3, 1, 1. If you want internet for a week or month ask a Thai to help you with it or dial 1678 and talk to the English operator and ask for it. Note – the menu could change anytime, but it’s been the same for over a year now.

5. Find a computer with fast internet access and download the latest version of Nokia PC Suite 7.1 (or latest) Software to your USB thumb drive. It’s free. It enables you to connect. It’s essential as far as I know. Get it at:

http://europe.nokia.com/support/download-software/pc-suites/compatibility-and-download

You may need to tell them which phone you have first – so, know your model.

6. Install Nokia PC Suite. Follow the instructions because it will tell you when to plug in your USB cable to the phone. Don’t do so before they tell you. When you plug the USB cable into your phone be very careful it’s going the right way and that you’re exceptionally gentle with it. I’ve met more people that broke their small USB connectors on their phone than I can count.

7. After your phone is connected you’ll get this message – on your PHONE, not your computer, “Select USB mode:” and you choose one of the selections.

PC Suite, Mass Storage, Image transfer, Media transfer

Choose PC Suite

It will give you a confirmation that PC Suite mode was selected (on your phone).

8. You should now see on the left side of your PC Suite software on your computer, an image of your phone. That means it’s connected. You can now use any of the functions PC Suite gives you like transferring files, music, videos from your phone to your computer and vice-versa.

You may get a message from Windows saying you need to update your software for the phone or the PC Suite. DON’T do this because it’s a 40MB download and it will take hours and hours on a slow EDGE connection. Not to mention – if your connection dies for even 1 second during those hours – your phone could be hosed.

Better to go download the updated PC Suite at another broad-band enabled computer on USB drive and bring it back home to install the update. For phone updates – they are always a bit of a crap-shoot. You might lose access to your phone operating system – meaning, it bricks – and you need to send your phone to Nokia. If the update isn’t revolutionary – and you can see on Nokia’s site what updates are available for your phone – forget it. Leave well enough alone I say when it comes to phone updates.

Here are the rest of the instructions in the screencapture video below if you have internet now and can watch it at YouTube:

Make sure you choose the HQ in the lower right side of the YouTube video player to get the best quality video.

Here it is on site here – super clear and easy to see but maybe a little larger file size and more download time:  Walk through video Thailand EDGE >

If not and you need to download the file and watch later from your computer you’re setting up and you won’t have internet at the time here is the video to download. Right click and choose “Save file as…” or “Save target as…” or “Save link as…” depending which browser you’re using. It’s an MP4 file – about 9MB. You can use Apple’s QuickTime program (for PC computers) to open and watch it.

Instructions for connecting with PC SUITE software > FILE

Internet access being what it is here in Thailand it’s good to have a backup plan. My ADSL goes out routinely in 12-20 hour chunks. Hard to take, but, that’s the price we pay for living in paradise – right?

I didn’t go through this for Mac because I don’t have one.

I didn’t go through this for Motorola because it didn’t work well for me at all.

I didn’t go through this for iPhone because I don’t have one – yet. Possibly coming soon. Apparently iPhone didn’t come with functionality to let buyers connect to the internet on the phone and share the iPhone modem with a computer. Once your phone is jailbroken you can do it, I’ve seen the tutorials.

Good Luck…

Thailand Last Country in Asia to Get 3G?

This is my 500th post here at ThaiPulse… fitting that it should be about something that means a lot to me – and anyone else who uses the internet on a daily basis in Thailand. The 3g fiasco has become legend among expats and Thais that need it. Will we get it in 2010? That remains to be seen… personally I’m betting Thaksin has a better chance of coming back and ruling as prime minister again. 3G is at least 2 years away in my estimation…

Here’s an article about it at Bahtsold – one of my favorite sites:

Thailand 3G Debacle >

Running an Internet Web Site or Business in Thailand?

If you’re running an internet business based in Thailand right now

– Is this the place you ought to be?

I started out a couple years ago thinking that the internet space in Thailand is so ripe for some major projects. Some cities have fast service that’s consistent enough to use for movie and photo transfer, FTP’ing whole sites and other info. I started thinking about opportunities here. I moved over here to find out.

Then, the more I used the internet here the more I realized – wow, we are back in 1998 in Communist China.

Expats, please understand something… the Thai government and those that will soon be government (maybe) are feeling the pressure from the international community. Countries like Laos are laughing at Thailand right now because Laos’ government appears more stable and viable than does this one.

In the short-term future there may be a serious backlash against those of you that are running adult sites from Thailand. It’s easy to find you, Google and a WHOIS search will find 70% of you. The other 30% can be found by requesting site owner information from the registrar the site was registered at. We’re all guests here – any one of us can be given the boot back home whenever they choose to do so.

You may soon have your sites blocked in Thailand. They may pursue some charge against you. If you’re teaching you might find your work permit cancelled and you have a trip back to your home country.

Thailand is making it very difficult for foreigners to stay and thrive. By blocking Youtube for instance, they have killed a large part of my marketing for some of my sites. Not killed, but put a serious hole in it. I think the time might be coming over the next couple years where Thailand gets rid of sites like stickmanbangkok, mangosauce, and some of the forums and sites that talk extensively about how to find the dirty business going on in Thailand. They might make efforts to restrict the bar scene in Nana, Patpong, Patong, Pattaya…

I see an effort that appears like they are starting to think seriously about cleaning up their image. There are many Thai people overseas, either as visitors or living. There are those that have high-connections with the Thai elite back here in Bangkok. They read the newspapers in America. They see the news in France, England, Germany… The government is aware of their standing internationally… They used to be on a good footing. They used to almost have some respect. They’re quickly loosing everything though and I think there will be serious efforts to quickly bring the country to a state of balance starting with eliminating the negative influences that exist among us.

The Thais’ hate to lose face, and though they’ve lost more than they can regain in 20 years, they seem to have some ideas about how to gain it back…

The ministry of Tourism is really changing who they market to. I think they believe they can have John & Mary Smith and their 3.4 kids come over from Switzerland and replace the 5 sexpats that are sucking the face right off of Thailand and bragging about it on their blogs.

There is a serious concern with what information is allowed to get across the routers and come into Thailand.

They block WHOLE services, not just a video or two. They block all the blogs from blogger, not just a couple. Do you think they’d think twice about blocking Stickmanbangkok if they wanted to? Do you think they’d think twice because the farangs got all bent out of shape over it? I don’t think so. I think they might do it in the future just so they can gain some face internationally (at least on the surface). Is stickman contributing to the face of Thailand? I’d say not. Though many articles are geared toward explaining Thai culture through the eyes of the visitors, too many articles are focused on the sexpat nature of their visits and what can be found and had in Thailand that can’t be found and had in their own civilized country that has a lot of “Face”.

I think they might clean up – block 2000 or more sites in the future, and celebrate that they cleaned up the internet for Thailand and that Thailand will no longer be seen as a sexpat destination.

Maybe they’ll choose 2008 – with the next electorates in place, to revolutionize the whole country – start a 5 year plan to remove negative influences on Thai people and convert their tourist base from sexpats to Ward and June Cleaver types with their kids Wally and Beaver.

Are you SURE they won’t?

I’m not sure anymore. I don’t like the whole uncertainty that’s here. I don’t feel like I want to be a part of it here really.

I think now would be a good time for those with questionable sites and blogs to diversify a bit and get something else going as well. Focus another site or sites on something positive – something that won’t get closed down. Host your sites and blogs on a server that isn’t related to some major entity. Host your site and a mirror of it – that you can activate if you are blocked at one server IP address.

Think about redundancy because you may need it.

Already if you had posted all your marketing videos and efforts at Youtube you’ve likely switched to Google and others. Think along those lines for everything you do online – and have backup plans since nothing is really stable here anymore. Anything can change tomorrow.

I don’t feel comfortable here anymore and I’m not even locked in here with business interests, a home, property or anything else that would keep me here… I can imagine that some expats that have been here for 5+ years have some things they’d not like to lose.

Time to think about what you have here – and if you had to move back to your home country, what is the process you’d need to go through to do that.

Time to think about – if you lost your web site which is bringing you $500 usd or more per month and is a nice supplement to your income, how could you replace it, mirror it, change it to be acceptable, or ditch it and go with something else quickly, smoothly?

Time to think about what you say on your blog, on your site. I had read something about those that are referring visitors to see banned Youtube videos via proxy servers – are going to themselves be prosecuted. And yet, this morning I saw some posts that talked about how to go find a proxy – and named them. If you’re going to operate a forum or a blog that allows comments you’ve got to be watching things all the time.

Everything you write and say on your blog – or that others write and say will be judged if found. I don’t understand the judging process here as it’s totally subjective and at someone’s whim. I’d rather play it really safe.

Ok – anyway – just something to think about…

Traveling to Thailand and Need Internet Access?

Internet Access in Thailand…
the state of things

(May, 2007)

If you are planning travel to Thailand you might be wondering about internet access here. I know I was. In fact, that was a big factor in deciding whether or not to move here or choose someplace else. I had chatted with some online friends that had been to Thailand and that told me there is plenty of access – but consistent access is another thing altogether.

There are many internet cafes available in all the major or even the minor cities. I found internet cafes in Laos even, so it’s safe to assume they are in the smallest cities in Thailand. You probably cannot find an internet cafe in a village that is located away from the city’s center. But you might if the village is big enough.

When I first traveled to Thailand I didn’t have a clue what was here and what wasn’t here. Though I wasn’t involved in any e-commerce project at the time I knew it wouldn’t be long before I was jones’ing to do another project.

The internet access here comes in many flavors. I’ll explain a little bit about each one and then explain why I use the one I do.

Internet Cafes.

If you’re traveling to Thailand and will be here only a couple days or weeks and you don’t have a notebook computer with you it will be easy to find internet cafes that have internet access – broadband. Most of the places in a city are decent as they have a good plan and the internet service providers do a good job of keeping them up and running at a good speed since they are a business and are paying a few thousand baht per month to fuel all the computers in the shop. The prices for an hour vary widely. In Ubon Ratchathani in the northeast I found an internet cafe for 5 baht per hour when hours were bought in bulk. That’s the best rate I’ve found. I had to purchase 50 hours to get that rate. Anyone found cheaper?

In the tourist areas like Pattaya you might find internet access for 1 baht per minute. Usually the speeds both downloads and uploads are flying so you might be happy with this arrangement. I was when I needed to upload a couple hundred megabytes at a time. These tourist-area internet cafes cater more to tourists too – with coffee, bakery items, great flat screens, CD and DVD writers, Memory stick readers, reclining swivel chairs… just a great experience. Of course I think it should be for 1 baht per minute.

Some/most of these internet cafes have a bonus plan where if you buy 10 hours or something you’ll get a good discount off rates. The one in Pattaya I used last year was something like pay 1000 baht and get the rate reduced from 60 baht per hour to just 30 baht per hour. A nice discount, since if you know you’ll be there everyday for 4 hours you’ll use up the hours anyway.

If you live here or are staying long term – 6 months or more it might make sense for you to research the ADSL plans in your area. ADSL comes through the phone line and CAN be quite quick. TOT, TT&T and others advertise that you can get 1 mbps downloads. It’s a trick!

I signed up for it at my old home in Surat Thani and I got solid 850 kb per second. Divide that by 8 to get the number most of us are more comfortable with when talking about online speeds. I got about 100 KB per second speeds for 7-10 days after the installation was first completed. After that, the speeds died. I got regularly 7 KB per second after that first week. I was paying for 1MB service (125KB per second).

I have heard from other expats – and read, that this is the typical scenario. One week you have service… you’re happy… Soon it dies and you spend the next few months complaining until finally they either straighten it out -or you opt for another internet service provider.

Some expats DO have fast and consistent internet service and swear by one company or another for their ADSL service. So, your mileage may vary – ask others in your area what they use and if you get a chance go over to their place and test it out for yourself.

TOT has an installation fee, and a minimum contract length which for me was 6 months. I complained so much – and they saw the problem too – and they never fixed it. I ended up paying just the tax for the 4 months I had the service, as well as installation fee. My 4 month service cost something like 2000 baht, but overall service really was inconsistent and so slow I could have used my GPRS class 10 modem in my motorola mobile phone instead and paid less and got similar service.

Satellite service.
I’ve heard that some expats use a satellite dish to receive their internet signal and overall it seems like a good connection and people are more satisfied with it than other methods… however, for a good amount of bandwidth the cost is 3-5000 baht from what I read. I am least familiar with this option and someone may correct me and I’ll update this post.

Dial up.
While in Surat Thani and Ubon Ratchathani I tried the dial-up service. My friend used CSLox Info and swore it was the best of the dial-up services. I tried it – and got about 7KB per second on downloads and much less (2-3KB) on uploads. It worked for checking email – but was still TOO slow for me to be happy about using it.

If you have a phone connection in your hotel room, rented room, or whatever you might want to ask the landlord if the phone line works and give it a try. You buy a plastic card at 7-11 that is for a certain number of minutes of internet access. My card was 179 baht for 10 hours of dial-up through CSLox. Instructions for my CSLOX info card were in English and Thai – so I was able to find a local dial up connection number – even in Ubon, Yasothon, and other small cities.

The service was pretty consistent – not many outages, but anytime you’re using a connection that relies on your phone line – there are outages. If your lines are new and well connected – the whole way to the phone company – you won’t have too many internet outages. If you are in an old building and are using old lines – you might have a daily or HOURLY problem with your connection. Everyone has a different story. Usually though, if the wind is blowing or it’s raining much – you can count on your phone line connected service going dead.

I’ve not used other dial-up companies for service, but there are a small handful to try if you want.

Your mobile phone.
If you are coming from a country where you have a decent mobile phone there’s a chance you might be able to use your phone for an internet connection here in Thailand. You could buy a phone here easily enough. You’d need to buy a SIM card from one of the major phone companies here – I’d recommend trying BOTH AIS and DTAC since their service varies – as I found out recently.

Buy an AIS or DTAC SIM card that allows you to access the phone and the internet. You should be able to communicate that to the person you’re buying from – or don’t buy it from that shop. Once you buy it, insert it, call the customer service number, get an English menu and operator. Tell the operator you want internet on your phone.

Currently AIS has plans for 30 hours, 50 hours, 100 hours and unlimited. Unlimited will run about 999 baht per month. Unlimited on DTAC is by the week – you must renew everyweek – but it is 266 baht for a week. At AIS for 100 hours it is 350 baht. At DTAC for one day unlimited is 40 baht.

Now, you can either use your phone for internet and stumble through pushing arrow keys or a joystick to move your cursor… or if you’re LUCKY you have a touchscreen interface that’s almost bearable. I used a touchscreen on my Motorola e680i for a year before tiring of it. I currently have a Nokia that has a joystick – and it’s killing me – I need a touchscreen.

OR, you can use your phone as a modem and connect it to your notebook computer. This is the coolest option as you have internet anywhere you go. You don’t need to sit in a internet cafe. You don’t have to be at home. You can be on the bus or a train. You can be at the beach.

Connection from your phone to your notebook should be by cable as it is most consistent and uses less battery than bluetooth – but you can do it either way. My Nokia e70 phone allows me to connect with infrared also – but that’s a last resort. I always just bring my USB to phone cable.

Your phone should have one of these two options (or both) if you want to connect to the internet in this way and surf fairly quickly.

1. A Class 10 GPRS modem. This is the minimum. I believe there are Class 12’s now which should give a nice internet speed. My Motorola had this class 10 modem and I was able to occasionally get 9-10 KB per second downloads even in Ubon. I consistently got 5 KB per second and that is the bare minimum that’s useable, but you can still check your gmail or whatever email platform you use.

2. EDGE service. Edge is like GPRS on steroids. It is much quicker and consistently faster than the regular GPRS internet service that you’ll get over your class 10 (or slower) modem. With EDGE on my Nokia I can get 12KB per second regularly and sometimes as high as 20KB per second – according to my OPERA web browser and FIRE FTP programs which tell me download speeds.

EDGE is NOT available all over Thailand but I get it in such places as Surat Thani, Ubon, Yasothon, Sisaket (sometimes) and Pattaya has it full-blown. Bangkok has it well covered and even Ko Samui has it. I’d say most or all big cities have it covered by either AIS or DTAC. Unfortunately the coverage maps on both companies sites are old and won’t do you any good. Best to ask expats that are here in person or try online forums.

My choice is to use the EDGE service on my phone as a modem.

I used AIS phone service for a long time in Thailand, until 2 days ago I decided I’d TRY DTAC and see – is there a difference in internet speeds when I use the phone as a modem…?

Yes, there IS a difference.

Previously I could not EDIT my posts at blogger.com. You might have seen mistakes in formatting and spelling on this or my other blogs and wondered – what’s up with Vern – is he slipping? Yes, he’s slipping, but there was no way to edit the pages once they were posted since my dumb AIS connection would give an error on submitting my changes in blogger. So, in order to edit blog posts once they were posted I needed to go to an internet cafe – a free broadband place I found that actually costs me more everyday than just sitting at home because I suck down espresso yen’s all day, it adds up.

So, I try this DTAC service. FIRST of all the EDGE service lights up right away. WOW. I’ve got EDGE again? COOL. Then I try all the stuff I previously couldn’t do well with the AIS connection. With the DTAC connection it does it ALL! I’m so psyched about this it prompted me to write this whole article about internet access and tell everyone that uses AIS or uses DTAC to switch and see what the difference is. I use blogger and blogger is farked with AIS. DTAC works much better. You might use WordPress or some other blogging platform or tools online that work better with one or the other.

Another cool thing about DTAC is that recently they came out with PUSHMAIL for MSN, HOTMAIL, YAHOO, and GMAIL. They will send you a text message to notify you of the new email message. If you want to read it – you can login following a link and you’ll see your email instantaneously.

Now, AIS has a form of pushmail -that I could use with my phone – but, you would need to be connected to the internet with unlimited access to have the notifications come in realtime because it requires you to be online all the time. DTAC doesn’t.

DTAC is offering this free for the next 6 months. After that they SAY it will be 30 baht per month – which is QUITE acceptable to me.

That being said, my Gmail is farked with it – not working. I’ll have to call the customer service again and try to get it going as that was the catalyst behind me trying DTAC – this cool pushmail for free on gmail. I love to know when I have email. It beats me checking every couple hours and sometimes finding an email I could have responded to hours ago.

Ok, that’s it. Hope it helps.

Oh – and for your computer you will want to bring a 3 prong electric plug adapter that brings it down to 2 prongs since most outlets in Thailand are not grounded and use only 2 prong. Notice those small electric shocks you get when you’re using electronics in Thailand? You are the ground… lol.

Thailand Online

Over a couple years I’ve been looking at the sites that most of us use here in Thailand on a daily or maybe weekly basis. There are some sites that we all tend to use because there just isn’t anything better.

On a weekly basis I use or have used these dot coms:  stickmanbangkok; bahtsold; ajarn; daveseslcafe; thaivisa; phuket-info; phuketgazette…

and very little else.  That seems to be about it for me – and what I’ve needed over the years.

Being an internet marketing consultant in my past life and coming here to Thailand I ignored things online for nearly a year before deciding to get involved in some way again in e-commerce projects and large-scale portal development or some other area of development.

The quality level of sites here is horrendous, and yet expats are using them a lot because there’s really nothing else.  This lack of competition and lack of expat’s eagerness to get into the online “game” here in Thailand has helped to make the situation what it is.   Couple that with a lack of skilled tech savvy folks that know what they’re doing as far as web-site development, traffic generation, e-commerce optimization, site design (aesthetics), and general online business skills and you arrive at what we have today.

I don’t think I could name one site about Thailand that I enjoy going to.  Sites are in such a serious state of disrepair that they are either turtle slow, covered with graphics ads, have missing links, have a navigational structure that a 9 yr old child could improve on, bold or capital letters for text which is piss-poor for ease of reading,  a color scheme that copies stickmanbangkok which is copying something from when he started the site upteen years ago – called ” Paint.exe”.

The user experience here is really low-grade, and it’s pretty damn depressing that people that are making money with their sites are doing absolutely NOTHING to improve them.

Thailand is ripe for a major portal that contains well designed sites filled with quality content formatted in an aethetically pleasing way that isn’t focused on whores and expats, is designed to attract a portion of the huge Google traffic looking for travel information about Thailand, incites quality advertisers to spend money on ad placements, and builds on itself as more sites join the network…

Imagine all the quality sites existing in one major portal for Thailand.

The top site for teacher information.  The top site for online classifieds.  The top site for visa, workpermit and living in Thailand issues.  The top site for traveling information. The top site for information about Isaan, Pattaya, Bangkok, Patong Beach, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui.  The top site for photos of Thailand. The top site for Videos of Thailand. The top site for learning the Thai language. The top sites for different products from Thailand for sale.  The top site for weather in Thailand. News about Thailand. Expat news about Thailand.

Imagine that Google would find this portal SO full of quality information (optimized FOR Google of course) that there would be tens to hundreds of thousands of visitors per day to this portal and the web sites that exist as part of it.  Millions per month and tens of millions per year.  Thailand has 13.8 million visitors per year coming here. Most of them are searching online a lot for information before they come and while they are here. There are so many millions of Google searches that relate to Thailand.  A portal that is focused ON Google would grab a large portion of search engine traffic which is basically free when the sites and portal are optimized FOR Google.

Part of the secret for creating a portal like this… is blogs.  Blogs have supreme power in the search engines – not just Google, but the major search engines as well.

Why is that?  Google craves content rich, updated sites that conform to the formatting Google likes to see.

Blogs give it that.  Or, CAN give it that when they are formatted correctly and optimized for Google.

The plan I have for www.ThaiPulse.com is something that incorporates all of this into one large Thailand Travel Portal.

I am astounded on one level that people aren’t “getting it”.  I know it’s a new concept to most of you and there has been stagnation for so many years regarding online efforts by those that have some level of “success”.

With this project we could raise the bar for what you’re currently experiencing as “success” though.

Imagine this large network of the best sites – linked together and sharing traffic for free.  Using each other to gain traffic.  Stickman’s site brings “x” number of people per day and then once they are done reading the articles they jump off to some other part of the network. Maybe travel plans. Maybe Bahtsold.  Maybe Thaivisa.  Maybe Isaan blog. Maybe to see the photos or videos of the day. Maybe somewhere else.  The visitors that come to the main portal – www.thaipulse.com will see all the sites listed – they will come to KNOW that this is the top group of sites that Thailand has to offer.  They will stay at the site for a long time and read whatever information they need to get – and come back the next day and do the same thing.  The page views on such a portal would be very large because each person would likely see numerous sites.  The links that surfers create pointing TO the network become very powerful in Google’s eyes. I’ve not seen a Google PageRank of higher than a 5 here at Thailand sites. We could have a 7 or 8 with this portal over 18 months to 2 years.

Your traffic over the course of 1 year should increase more than double I would estimate.  I would actually estimate much, much higher – but I’ll even be conservative and say double.

I’m in contact with a lot of top level writers at the moment.  If I can get just a few to join now… and then over the next 6 months get 10 more… this portal will become something quite extraordinary.

I am opening up categories of blogs that have topics similar to some of the more successful sites that currently exist…  Nightlife in Bangkok. Nightlife in Pattaya, Patong.  We may create an online classifieds.  We will have teaching blogs.  We’ll have a photo of the day blog.. A video of the day blog.  We’ll have a tips for tourists blog.  We’ll have a Thailand technology blog. We’ll have many blogs that may cover some of the topics that current sites that have some success are covering.  And we may surpass them as we get enough focused content on the keywords that Google will send us large traffic for.

I want the sites that are currently successful to be part of this portal – obviously.  You can join as a blog and put links to your site from the blog. You would need to put links to your blog and to other sites as well that are in the network to form a strong network.  More about that later…

Ok, anyway – so that is the plan – that is even some more background about what the general idea is.

Create one place – THE PLACE in Thailand for tourists mostly, that are searching on terms used to find information about Thailand.

Own Google with well developed and optimized blogs focusing on key topics that will send big traffic our way.

Share that traffic amongst each other.

Grow bigger with time.

Have the premiere portal for Thailand travel in a year or so of time.

Am I making any SENSE to anybody?

 

 

Proactive calls from TOT to fix my internet?

My g/f answered the phone yesterday – they had already hung up.

She called back. They asked which house she’s calling from. I heard her tell her the complex we live in… I said, WHO IS THAT?

She said they said they’re from the internet place. I said, TOT? She said she didn’t know.

Apparently these guys were NOT from TOT – and they didn’t know where our house was or anything… but they knew her phone number which is on the account for TOT 1MB download ADSL that we have in Surat.

They wanted to come out and look at our house! I said, NO. They said that they will help the line go faster. I said to my g/f – tell them that we don’t need any help. She hung up.

We called TOT. They said that they hadn’t started charging us yet for the service until we agree that we’re getting good speed out of our connection… but that they hadn’t had anyone from TOT call us.

So – these guys got numbers from the TOT accounts and are using them to either convert people from TOT and into their own broadband service – or are scamming by putting spyware on the computer or something that listens to the line – or whatever.

Be careful with this! If anyone calls you and doesn’t know where you live for a service you signed up for – never tell them. Not many people – not any? are pro-active about calling you up to see how everything is working out for you with a new service.

I’ve not heard of that yet – anyone heard of anyone doing that?

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