Interesting Times

All my favourite sites absolutely trashed Indiatimes’ attempts at social networking – ITimes. I didn’t log into the site myself, and I doubt if i will, until either something drastic happens to facebook or itimes brings in such a revolutionary feature that it totally blows me out of my stasis. And from what I read in the Contensutra article, that has not happened, at least not yet. To be fair, though the reviews have been scathing, I saw some comments at Contentsutra, which gave iTimes a chance.

I’m sure the Times group will soon launch a blitzkrieg to promote the site through print, radio, mobile, Indiatimes which pretty much covers media options. Oh, okay Times OOH, Zoom, Times Now also, happy? The possibilities are endless, from using social media as a platform to fight serious issues (and campaigns like Lead India) (Read this) to building Bollywood/fashion based communities based on Zoom content and everything in between. The only snag is how much of good integration have we seen with the existing properties?

The WATBlog post mentions how internationally, its usually the tech guys who build web properties and the big media guys come in later. I think it has a lot to do (sigh, again) with interent access. The internet has been adopted by the mass there, and they can actually build a brand on the web. But lack of penetration here means that either the techies need huge pockets and backing (eg.Ibibo – Naspers) or they have to wait for a looong time for the critical mass – revenues. The alternate scenario is happening where a media company has the money and the media (reach) to promote a web property. The problem, i guess is when they use existing/sub standard resources, and apply learnings from other media, which just won’t work.

In the larger picture, remember that HT bought Desi Martini, so we might see the same players fighting on a different platform. And so, while it does sound like an Apple platform for news sharing, we’re in for some interesting times.

until next time, whats next twitimes? 😉

8 Responses to “Interesting Times”

  1. Yes its just a different platform. Its like sabse bada social networking kaunsa?

    And all of the are essentially the same thing. The services all these sites for are identical. So then they try to be unique and appeal to their niche markets, like desi artini to NRI’s etc. But unless your product is better than the established players(read facebook orkut), as in unless you have a USP, it just wont do. Signing up people isn’t necessary, their being active is. In web 2.0, its more to do with user interaction than with just number of people signed up or enrolled.

    Rishabh Kaul
    Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS-Pilani

  2. Well, as I’d mentioned in the post – not having a integrated login with wasn’t a good idea. If you already have content, then why not leverage it? On the other hand, I do think the interface is clean (for now), and the features are standard. The API will be critical. Time can make a success of this with a media burst – people tend to underestimate the resources at their disposal. It doesn’t take much for people to switch, provided there isn’t a burst of spam to begin with (like what happened with

    Apropos the techies vs mass scenario – that’s one of the reasons why Cross Media is a significant move this year. Last year, the Internet co’s realized that just an online play wont help them in getting scale – it has to go offline, it has to go mobile, it has to to TV. For other media like TV and print, they’ve realized the opportunity of having a community that they can monetize on their existing properties. So the Internet is emerging as a platform for creating stickiness, while mobile and offline are means of monetization. Hmm…this comment could be a post. 🙂

  3. What’s Interesting here is that iTimes is trying to take networking to next level. They have a unique feature and have integerated a a fully functional email into the site. Which is not just adding to the privacy but also provides the site to be used for more than one reason.

    It’s also quite encouraging that the largest media company is not binding the users by its own content

  4. manuscrypts Says:

    rishabh: agree, but in this case, the usp could be the product itself, or the media thats used to push it

    nikhil: on the contrary, its precisely the offline media might of the Times group thats the crucial factor here for the switch, though I’m ambivalent about the stickiness that it can guarantee, that would have to do with the product… classic example – Times Now, which happened in an already cluttered space, and is now No:1, but then the net is a great equaliser :)…and yes, that would be a post 😀

  5. manuscrypts Says:

    Deepak: yup, mail could prove a good feature, but wonder why it wasn’t indiatimes… as far as content goes, if they prevent third party stuff, that would really harm them… these days, it should be taken as a given, unless of course, the benchmark is rediff (not likely 🙂 )

  6. […] the new term). So, then, is everyone trying for a balance? Similar to Nikhil’s comment on a post a while back, are marketers using offline for reach and online for stickiness? You wish. Thats […]

  7. From what I can gather, they’re creating a parallel brand to Indiatimes and will probably pull content from the mother-ship anyway. Given their marketing capabilities, it’s a great move. Whether itimes will succeed as a social network or as an email… only time will tell (pun not intended). I think it’s different, it’s clean… but then I find facebook very crowded – like a Mumbai suburbian maill on a Sunday. And orkut is cheap… yuck! Let’s see what kind of apps itimes gets in.

  8. Hemantika Says:

    It’s so true that facebook has become really crowded now and Orkut in India is just cheap.
    I think we all need a change and i can guarantee that itimes is worth it for a change. Everyone should try it and as we know they are in the beta stage right now, more cool stuff is sure gonna be found there soon enough.

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