Categories of Consumer Internet

There have been numerous good blogs and discussions on the Web 2.0 or other Internet/media opportunities in India.

I’ve tried to create a more formal categorization of consumer facing Internet companies, based on the value they provide to the users and their role in the value chain. I believe the (at least short-term) prospects of companies within a category are similar and it might make sense to spark discussions for companies within a category.

E.g. I think there is a greater need today for editorial sites than aggregator and social sites (with some caveats). Social sites work better when there are more people who are Internet savvy enough not just to consume but also contribute to content, and aggregator sites add more value when their are enough editorial sites out there to aggregate.

I have fairly developed views and plan to talk about them in a future post. I first wanted to get your feedback on the categorization. I’ve placed well known US Internet sites in each cell to give you a better idea of this categorization, but also am maintaining a running list of Indian Internet companies at

Categories of Consumer Internet

Definitions –

Information Sites- Internet Sites where users go to consume and contribute information of any kind. Search, vertical portals, email are some examples.
Entertainment Sites – Internet sites that users go since it is fun. Expressing oneself, interacting with friends and family, listening to music/videos are some examples
Transactional Sites – Internet sites that provide a new, usually more efficient, medium of facilitating something people already do in the offline world. An easy way to characterize a transaction company is one that can (or should) advertise without any reference to ‘Internet’. “Find your life partner”, “get a better job”, “pay bills quicker” are some examples.
Retail Sites – Instead of using commerce which includes anything a user pays for (which could include information, entertainment or transaction), the scope for retail is B2C commerce where brick and mortar retailers are selling physical goods they manufacture over the Internet.
Editorial – Majority of content is developed by the site operator. This does not have to be original content, but also can be content aggregated from OFFLINE sources.
Aggregator – Majority of content on site is aggregated from other Web Site via technology. Typically the content creator and aggregator do not have a business relationship.
Social – Majority of the content on site is contributed by its users.

3 Responses to “Categories of Consumer Internet”

  1. GauravK says:

    Aloke, you make a very good point; thanks for pointing it out.

    In my categorization I did place companies that aggregate content via offline/biz dev sources as editorial and not aggregators. I look from the perspective of the users, if the information aggregated is available online elsewhere (irrespective whether it is a redirect or sold on own platform) the value to a user is fairly similar.

    So Orbitz is probably a hybrid between being an editorial and aggregator site. Compared to Mobissimo (which is a pure aggregator) it provides lesser flight options but more features like bundling hotels; however for a majority of users who are looking to buy tickets on American, Delta, United or other airlines Orbitz supports, these sites provide similar value.

    Anyways, point taken I will use something more black and white in giving examples.

  2. Aloke Bajpai says:

    Some of the categorizations in this research are quite dubious. Especially when Mobissimo is plugged into the same category as Orbitz.

    Transactional aggregation is of two different forms-
    1) Commerce – whereby I aggregate content and sell it on my own platform (Orbitz, Makemytrip, Yatra etc.)
    2) Pureplay Search (Meta-search / comparison engine) – whereby I search other portals / vendors for content and redirect to their platform to enable the transaction (Mobissimo, iXiGO, Yahoo Farechase etc)

    The biz models, philosophy, relationship with content providers is quite different for these 2 entities.

  3. Nagarjun says:

    Never trust an author who can’t be bothered to remove Word’s squiggles 🙂

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