After we did our last post on local search, comments & discussion indicate that people are not convinced, if community driven local search adds any value against the algorithmic ones. Here are some data points that I found very interesting.
LeeAnn Prescott says “Based on traffic to Local.com, Yahoo! Local and Live Local Search, it does not appear that interest in local search is increasing, but the substantial growth in Yelp’s traffic indicates that the social networking/local search combo is an effective means of engaging users around local content.”
This is very interesting but I am not sure if we can directly apply this to the Indian market. Nevertheless, I am expecting our local sites to follow suit. This actually prompted me to do a traffic analysis for Indian local search/social networking sites. Here is what Alexa shows:
Alexa traffic patterns might not be very accurate as it is based on their toolbar and I am not sure of the toolbar’s reach in India. But we can use this graph to compare traffic between these companies. MapMyIndia is leading here because there is lot of curiosity around maps. People spend lot of time trying to relate maps with their local knowledge of the city. And this shows why maps are important to create a complete local offering. If you take mapping out, Burrp and ilaaka are neck to neck. tolmolbol has little traffic because they are new. Most interesting is Onyomo that is been there for sometime but not getting much traffic. Anyone knows why?
Please leave your comments/thoughts on what you think of these charts.
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We recently spoke to tolmolbol, one of the newer players in India trying to make a mark in online local community/search space. This space is already crowded with the names like Ilaaka, Burrp, Onyomo, Sulekha. Ourcity and Guruji. Not to forget Google, Yahoo and Live search are/will be joining this game in India. This space now officially qualifies for “Indian fragmentation syndrome” similar to travel & DVD rental. Opportunity is there but not enough to attract a national play. Lot of smaller companies will trail the blaze and accumulate disjoint information about various localities in India. This should eventually get consolidated and customers are going to be benefitted with yet another addition. Here is tolmolbol (this name reminds me of tol-mol-ke-bol - the famous game show based on Monty hall problem), but that is just me.
1. What motivated you to start this venture?
The biggest motivation for starting tolmolbol stemmed from our frustration with not being able to find and locate dependable information about our localities. We couldn’t find a single online resource that provided a directory of local businesses and services across Indian cities. There was no platform at a national level for Indians to collectively voice their opinions about local businesses. And we were fed up with experiencing first-hand the indifferent attitude of service providers towards customers. Furthermore, there was no single portal for the entire neighborhood where members of the community could share tips, post classifieds, communicate events, meet interesting people in their vicinity or leverage the knowledge of their local social networks. tolmolbol is the outcome of our effort to address all of these problems.
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