The great Indian blogosphere - a business opportunity?

Written by: Madhur

On Feb 20th, 2007

There has been quite a bit of talk in the mainstream media as well as in the blogosphere about the blogging phenomenon in India. If the numbers are to be believed, they are quite significant. 35% of the entire Internet users expressing themselves through blogs! Not a bad number to start with. Also considering that China is much ahead at 77% as well as the fact that number of Internet users in India is set to explode in the next few years, the bloggers and readers represent quite an attractive segment to me.

Now the question is whether there exists an unsolved problem in this domain? Look at this virtual world where all these bloggers live in - the Indian blogosphere. Now think of ways how people explore this world. There are some tools such as blog aggregators, a few scattered blog directories, some search engines, but nothing really compelling. I find it difficult to discover new interesting Indian blogs. There is no way good way for me to search the Indian blogosphere. No good way to find what others are reading.

Here’s a solution - think of technorati with a dash of mybloglog with India focus. Following is what it would do:

Top blog lists: Indibloggies is doing a good job in bringing top blogs to the fore on an annual basis, but keeping track of them on an ongoing basis (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) would require algorithmic means like technorati employs - based on how frequently a particular blog is linked, how many daily subscribers, how many readers mark the blog as their favorite, etc.

Discovery of new and interesting blogs: Once you have an active technorati like community, blogs can be discovered based on categories, tags, what people are commenting on etc. Services like Desipundit and Blogbharti are doing a great job in surfacing great content from across the Indian blogosphere, but making it scalable for really catching all the little blogs everywhere would again require a combination of community activity and algorithmic ways of doing this.

Blog search: If all the Indian blogs give a ping shot to this service, the blogs can be indexed and effectively searched with Google Blogsearch like service, focused on Indian blogs. We have ourselves created a Google customized search engine to do our research for posts - try out the search box on the top right corner (make sure to select the radio button to “iLeher trusted sources”).

Integration with news: One of the very widespread patterns in the blogosphere is someone (mainstream media or one of the blogs) breaks the news and others write their opinions on that topic. Wouldn’t it be nice if you can see listings of top news everyday and see what bloggers are talking about those news items?

What are your thoughts? How do you navigate through the Indian ocean of blogs? Would you like to see an Indian technorati?

Sphere: Related Content

Entry Filed under: blogbharti, desipundit, indian blogs, indibloggies

7 Responses

  1. 1. vijay said on February 20th, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    Its true in west many bloggin sites are part of mainstream, to someextent this can be repeated back home. One of thing most marketing gurus always talk about india & few other asian regions is people donot like to change there habits or try out new things.

    this inertia to new things is very crucial for any idea to break.

  2. 2. abhinav said on February 20th, 2007 at 7:16 pm

    Madhur,

    The question is - how does one monetise this? Or does one do ads on the search site?

  3. 3. Madhur said on February 20th, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    Just after I published this post, I realized someone is definitely going to ask this question, since I so conveniently ignored the $$$ side of business altogether.

    Anyways, off the top of the head, other than ads, one more way of making money that I can think of is charging for bringing content from the blogosphere to mobile in the form of mobile feeds, sms alerts, etc. Check textmarks.com and 4info.net

    Anyone else can think of more business models here?

  4. 4. Vivek Garg said on February 20th, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    big rant starts here …

    Content aggregation is a tricky business. In this particular case, we are generating content algorithmically of content we dont own. so we cannot make money of content generators (atleast not to start with). Not owning the content means you cannot charge money to content consumers. Well, you could if your aggregation is compelling. But if you charge money @ start, you would not build enough customers to pay your bills. So you subsidize consumption and make it free in order to build an asset in terms of consumer base. Now we have two things.
    1. customer base coming to your site
    2. really cool aggregation algo.

    question is how to make money now?
    anyone in web 2.0 world will say “ads”. yeah .. that is an option. contextual ads. second option may be to charge content owners to provide “sponsored links” on search. Still falls in “ads” category.

    so if you are not into transaction based business. you make money off Ads. I dont think anyone will pay money to get it on their SMS or mobile feeds. but you can do contests and generate premium sms revenue. you can extend the brand to organize events and conferences and raise money. you can start jobs and classifieds. all things point to the way to make money through blogs. And this one is blog about blogs. So the same rule apply.

  5. 5. Madhur said on February 21st, 2007 at 7:50 am

    Good points Vivek. Will be interesting to see how services like 4info and textmarks are taken. Btw, the obsession with ads is not necessarily a web2.0 phenomenon, it goes back to pretty much the time when Internet started ;)

  6. 6. vivek garg said on February 22nd, 2007 at 3:09 am

    obsession with ads.. hmm .
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising


    “Commercial messages and political campaign displays have been found in the ruins of ancient Arabia. Egyptians used papyrus to create sales messages and wall posters, while lost-and-found advertising on papyrus was common in Greece and Rome.”

    “While advertising can be seen as necessary for economic growth, it is not without social costs.”

    “One scholar has argued that advertising is a toxic by-product of industrial society which may bring about the end of life on earth. here

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