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I have decided to write a few words on who I am and why I created this project.  


Due some reasons I would prefer not to reveal my true name right now. I will do later, I promise. For now, I will use my online identity - Mike Blackbird.

I live in Eastern Europe, where I study for my PhD and work as a junior lecturer and researcher in the field of e-commerce. I hold Master degree in Economics and E-commerce. Even though my undergraduate grades were far from perfection, both my thesis and final grades (combination of GPA, thesis and defence) are A - highest possible. Before completing my Master degree I was offered a research position at my home university, which would finance my PhD studies. I was more than happy to accept it.

My research and teaching interests include:

• Web 2.0

• Web Information Retrieval

• eCommerce researcher and lecturer

• Search Engines, SEO

• Virtual Communities

• eCommerce business models, Internet Marketing

• Usability, Web Audit

• Internet Banking

• Technology Entrepreneurship

I also have some professional experience as:
- Internet marketing manager,
- product manager (Internet Marketing industry) - Spain,
- web designer - Spain,
- E-commerce consultant,
- Internet Marketing consultant - USA,
- Search Engine Optimiser
- Researcher

My international work/study experience includes: Baltic countries, USA, Ireland, Finland and Spain.

As you have read before, my supervisor passed away last year. He was the only person at my university that I could write my PhD with. Even though, my university is a home to top-notch researchers, most of the professors here are strictly economics oriented, not having any idea what or myspace are. This constrains my research to economics related issues only

The death of my supervisor gave me a final impulse to start looking for a new place to conduct my research and do my PhD.

I was considering USA, UK and Scandinavia. Although some of the leading professors in my field expressed their interest in working with me, they were unable to help me secure funding. At this moment I earn $300 a month, while the cost of applying to 7 grad schools (including the cost of GRE and GMAT) varies from $700 to $1500 (click here for details). As an international student I would also have to take TOEFL. Add text books and prep courses to this (I am not a native speaker) and it adds up to a substantial amount, which I cannot afford.

While it is true that European universities don't always require you to take GRE or GMAT - they are at the same time less likely to offer you a studentship. On the other hand, studentships in the US are very competetive.  

If I wanted to study at University of Washington, School of Information (I really like Seattle and Dr. Karine Barzilai-Nahon was really helpful to me in the past) - I would have to be able to pay $47,076.00/12 months. With my current income, it would take me about 50 years to save up for my PhD :)

I tried taking a loan but no American nor British bank would give me one as I am not a resident. If there is anybody (a person, an institution, a bank) that would like to donate or lend me money to cover my education - I am open for cooperation :)

Anyway, taking into account my financial situation, I have finally lost hope that I will ever be able to conduct my web2.0 research.  So now I am turning to the Internet community, asking for help in mentoring me and collaborating with me on this project.

All this may look like I am whining. Well, it is true. Kind of. It is a way for me to express my frustration. But no worries. With your help and 25mg of Zoloft from time to time, I will over come it and perhaps we will produce something of substantial value.

I would like to invite you to this cooperation. I have a strong belief that together, we can achieve something outstanding.

            research proposal

                        about me