The Middle Path

Lamenting about the state of the internet in india is second and sometimes even first nature for this blog. This was the last major rant. It usually surprises me that even with India’s growth story and the obvious uses of the internet, our internet penetration is languishing in single digits. Yes, we have infrastructural issues, and relatively high broadband costs, but is that the only reason? I had started this thread in the post linked above, and I have a little more now to say on it.

There are a large set of users who are still happy with the basic uses of the net (mail, a bit of chat, news etc), a subset who use it for jobs and other classifieds. There’s another bunch who are constantly experimenting with blogging, microblogging, and keeping up with a Flock or FF3 browser. There’s a third set that is above the first, but their interests end with orkut and Facebook. I think there is a huge divide between sets 1 and 2. Does that mean that the number of people who are working on the next set of useful products/services for India might be a minority, or worse still, not exist at all? Dangerous!

So it was refreshing to come across two websites yesterday – the first through a mail inviting me to the premiere of Meri Dhun.  The second one, from here, to a site called Yo Macha. Completely unrelated, because Meri Dhun allows you to personalise songs by changing the lyrics. Their studio will then compose, record it and send it to you in a ringtone/MP3 format. And Yo Macha which claims to be, rather pretentiously, India’s top destination, allows users to rate photos, blogs, and an assortment of things from colleges to social networking sites and anything and everything in between. As an aside, while their revenue model is now restricted to SMS revenue sharing, banner ads and generating traffic for CPC?CPM ads, maybe, when they get enough registered users, they could provide corporate services like dipsticks for brand communication within the desired TG?

I digress!! While they are completely unrelated, but for one small connection – they are not based out of the uber cool Tier 1 cities. The first is from Indore, the second from Jaipur, and both are based on little everyday things that people do in India. I am not even getting into evaluating business models, scope etc, but a thought crossed my mind. Perhaps there is no big killer application that’ll kickstart the net revolution in India, perhaps there are only these smaller drops which will make a bigger drop and perhaps something even bigger in the large indian media ocean. Maybe thats the way the Internet is going to take off here.

The in between space in india, bridging the gap between the web 1.0 users and the people who are moving beyond web2.0, by building stuff that interests and/or provides value to the great Indian internet middle class.

until next time, net gains, thats all that matters

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