India: Outsourcing is bad for America

An Indian newspaper slams H-1B visas and U.S. immigration policy. Or does it?

By Andrew Leonard
Published February 2, 2007 6:02PM (EST)

An Indian newspaper slamming outsourcing and H-1B visas? How the World Works is always a sucker for unexpected juxtapositions, so when Rob Sanchez's JobDestruction Newsletter linked to a supposedly "great article" on H-1B visas and outsourcing from a newspaper called India Daily, I had to investigate.

Indeed, the unsigned editorial reads as if it could have been written by the virulently anti-H-1B Sanchez himself, although the command of English syntax was not so hot.

Irony alert No. 1: The article is surrounded by Google ads linking to a plethora of Web sites offering all kinds of help with your outsourcing needs, as well as how and where to obtain your own H-1B visa.

That was mildly amusing. But what was India Daily? Precious little information about the publication, which has an entire section devoted to outsourcing news, along with sections on Bollywood movies and Indian sports, is obtainable from the Web site, which features an extraordinary number of un-bylined articles. The entire enterprise has the distinct feel of a mostly automated aggregator of news feeds designed to be a vehicle for delivering targeted Google advertisements to people interested in Indian affairs.

A WhoIs lookup revealed that the "administrative contact" for India Daily is a company called Systems & Software (Sysoft), which itself is a division of Integratise Inc. Sysoft's main business, it appears, is crafting online computer education courses targeted at the job requirements for programmers listed on HotJobs or, as well as a few custom-designed business management processing applications. Advertisements for Sysoft services adorn every page of India Daily.

Irony Alert No. 2: Sysoft is headquartered in Whitehouse Station, N.J. The owner of Sysoft appears to be a computer scientist named Sam Adhikhari, whose bio declares that he worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories from 1985 to 1996, and "as a professor at a State University in New Jersey for many years." Adhikari, for what it's worth, is a fairly common surname in the subcontinent.

I ended up with a bit of a different take from Rob Sanchez on the "greatness" of the India Daily editorial attacking H-1B visas. To me, it reads like a troll, a device meant to attract Indian software professionals from all over the world who will be enraged at its puerile rhetoric, but then, in the midst of their apoplexy, will find themselves clicking on the various Google ads on the site. Kind of brilliant, but not so great.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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Globalization How The World Works Immigration India