Archive for Rediff

One Stop Shops

Posted in India, Internet, Social networking with tags , , , , , on July 21, 2008 by manuscrypts

I’ve always had a soft corner for Rediff, perhaps because, once upon a time, it was the site that led me to new things on the internet. First it was email, and though I had the eudora and usa.net and a few other mailboxes too, this was the one most frequented and used. Then it was blogs. My first blog was thanks to Rediff again, they got me curious with the messages on the homepage, more than 5 years back. And though I did sulk with them later for taking away a favourite id of mine in an upgrade that happened a few years back, and switched to blogger because of the code wrestling matches they made me go through, like I said, Rediff is still special, a brand that I hold in high regard.

So it was wonderful to find that they’d done a :p to the strict media portal outlook and introduced Orkut and Facebook feeds inside their mailbox. Yes, it is a great bit of innovative thinking, but nothing stops it from being copied by others. So they can’t stop there, they have already taken steps to integrate iShare, I wonder if having newsfeeds inside the Inbox area makes sense, like perhaps an iGoogle. Rediff is also active on the mobile scene (they even , so if they can move fast, they can actually do a lot of innovations quickly, thanks to their numerous services, and oodles of content.

And it looks like they are moving fast – they have already invested in Vakow, an sms sharing site, and one that I know a lot of people are using to update on Twitter. Interesting. A mobile based microblogging platform should be fun. But the big news was at proto.in, when they announced their developer platform. What is great is not just the announcement, but the fact that it was announced at proto and not just as some PR release. Rediff is being sensible, and thats good news for the Indian internet scene. Ouch at this allegation though. (via webyantra)

Meanwhile, the guys who had massive success when they opened their API, had a surprise for me when I logged in today morning. And that was the new Facebook design. While the Home page is more a design reorganisation than anything conceptual, the Profile page is a totally different story. Well, its actually profile pages. From home, a click on your name (as opposed to profile earlier) takes you to the first of the four pages – Wall, where you can use filters for others’ posts and yours, and has your basic profile and friends as well. The Info page has all the details that used to be Information, Group and Pages. Photos are the next page and the last is ‘Boxes’, all the apps you’ve been adding, though I did see a few apps (common) on all pages. Are they Facebook’s own? I doubt that though.

The important part is that it looks like a deviation from the earlier social networking promise. Though that remains, this seems increasingly like a Twitter and more possibly Friendfeed like direction. This was something that was visible sometime back when a ‘+’ sign could be seen near all news feeds, encouraging readers to start conversations. That soon became a very conspicuous ‘Comment’ tab.

While I like all this, since it gives me more chances at conversations with ‘real’ friends, (there is only about a 20% overlap with my Twitter friends) I wonder if this is a regression as far as keeping the conversation within Facebook goes. If Facebook provides all the features that say, a Twitter and Friendfeed does, would you be okay with spending the lion’s share of your virtual time within Facebook?

until next time, the rise of socialism 🙂

PS. This is the 100th post on this blog :D. Thanks, all the commenters and the silent types. 🙂

Don’t call us, we’ll call you…

Posted in Brand, India, Internet with tags , , , , , on May 20, 2008 by manuscrypts

Read a very good post here on how words lured a potential customer in, but actions spoke louder and managed to get him out safely.

I had a similar experience with an entity i wrote about (like a lot of other people did) a few days back – in.com. Like I’d mentioned, I skipped the mobile invite and was content with an email one. And as they’d promised on the site, it arrived within 5 days (4 days – customer delight?). And it wasn’t just one, i got 5 of them. I started out with the first one, didn’t work. I thought it was just me, and tried the second, that didn’t either. No, I wont bore you with single counts anymore, none of the 5 codes worked.

Since i love to give the benefit of the doubt to everyone but me, i started googling for similar experiences, and found out there was at least one more guy like me. But the number of positive entries there made me try again, still didn’t work, so I guess the cosmos’ message is pretty clear “Beta, it’s not for you’. Sigh. Fine, i get the message.

There’s another tangential set of experiences. I have always bemoaned the lack of a good ‘Amazon-like’ site here. So whenever i notice there’s a new player in the field, whether it be rediff’s feeble attempts, or newbies like gobookshopping or the flipkart guys (who i got to know of through a brilliant marketing exercise of giving away bookmarks outside the Strand Book Festival) I immediately sign up. The next thing I do is check out if they have stocks of a book that I’ve not been able to get offline.

The latest case is that of ‘Dublin’ by Edward Rutherford. I have asked all three entities for it, but have not got a response. Rediff actually billed me for it and then sent a mail a few days later stating they didnt have stocks.  And this is not the first experience of the kind.  However i keep getting ‘push’ messages from them about ‘latest releases’ and ‘mega discounts’. I wish they’d understand how much difference a conversation with the customer makes. Meanwhile, Strand would note it down in their book and give me a buzz as soon as they got the book.

until next time, action and satisfaction

Rediffined

Posted in India, Internet with tags , , , on May 5, 2008 by manuscrypts

Just noticed the rediff homepage has had a small makeover. The Get Ahead section which used to be at the bottom of the top set of tabs, has now been promoted to one of the tabs. And the entire bottom space has been taken over by  iShare. And if I’m not mistaken , Q & A, Rediff’s version of Answers, has also been promoted.

The other thing i noticed is a ‘Compare Mobiles’ at the very top. But that did not impress me much because while it wasn’t just limited to mobiles, and included DVD players, microwaves and a host of other things including gaming consoles and automobiles, the interface is not as good as say, Compare India.

Meanwhile, had written earlier about how I thought Rediff was getting increasingly active in the video sharing segment. The change above also points to the same pattern, and the overall attention to user generated content. This assumes greater significance if you consider this story, which predicts a You Tube-India launch a couple of days from now. With rediff’s equity and reach in the Indian market, and You Tube’s cutting edge tech, this will be an interesting locking of horns, especially since YouTube is quite popular in India already.

And talk about coincidence, the banner that was playing at rediff when i was checking it out happen to be from an entity called MyPopkorn. According to their ‘About Us’ section, thay have professional content from television, movies etc and in genres like news, romance, comedy etc. Where do they fit in this new ecosystem of video sharing?

until next time,  web killed the video star? 😉

Share Market

Posted in India, Internet with tags , , on April 15, 2008 by manuscrypts

The success of youtube and the mega deal had spawned a lot of wannabe sites locally – Apna Videos, Video Dubba, Desi Lassi etc. There was even one called SuckooBai, though i don’t know its current status. A fairly comprehensive list can be found here. Though the sites have attempted a lot of localisation, I’m not sure how much of traffic they’ve been able to manage. Its actually a bit of Catch 22, isn’t it? As a user I’d like to share it on a platform where it gets maximum exposure, and as a visitor, I’d visit the site where i can expect maximum content.

The last couple of days, Rediff has caught my attention, purely on content merit. Rediff, as a site, has massive traffic coming in because of various things. It has been updating itself on a regular basis for a long time now, news, mail, blogs (I started blogging thanks to them), shopping, images, classifieds, air ticket comparison, stocks…These are diverse things, and rediff, in my view, is using its existing equity quite well to leverage its new products. But, we digress.

What caught my attention yesterday was the trailer of Sarkaar Raj, followed today by one of Spiderman 4, though the latter has many fake versions on YouTube already, so…  I also remember the c2w april fool video finding its way here, and as the day’s top blog. Not to mention the trailer of Love Story 2050. Rediff is increasingly encouraging content providers across media platforms to use its iShare. Desi content creators most likely will have a limited understanding of digital media, and would be more than happy to share the content on Rediff’s platform. And it’s not just videos, its also pictures, music etc. And over a period of time, there’s no reason why it cannot become a stand alone brand.

I can already see one snag though. A lot of us started blogging with rediff, but when we became familiar with blogging, moved on to blogger/ wordpress/ live journal/ typepad etc because rediff was nowhere close in terms of user interface design, technology etc. If they learn from that, and keep updating themselves on the tech front, they stand a good chance in the share market 😉

until next time, if.. rediff