India finally seems to be responding to viral marketing. After Orkut that seems to have taken off on back of viral marketing, last month Tagged.com showed a brilliant run (globally, but in India as well – its Alexa 33 for India already) on back of suck-email-addresses-and-send-invites functionality. Some of the local social networking sites also seem to be headed for critical mass.
The manner in which Orkut took off seems to be very different from Tagged.com though. Orkut seemed more organic unlike the mass messaging style of Tagged.com. Earlier, I believe hi5 had followed the same path. While this helps create quick base of users, wanted to get people’s views on what really makes them stick? What is the set of “local features” that Indian social networking sites can create to provide a superior offering to Indian consumers? One of the clear answers seem to be mobile interface to site functionality. The other one perhaps is local content such as bollywood. However, community is the central product of a social network, and that gets created automatically on a site as you get more people on.
Would love to hear from folks here on what they think is the killer app on social networking, which is their favorite network and why?
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Check out http://www.mobshare.in – A social networking portal exclusively for Indians but the first one to have a lot of “mobile” features attached to it… You can upload pics & videos directly from your GPRS enabled mobile phone, receive sms alerts for the CHIPS (scraps) you receive and lots more… Its more of a “moblog” sort of a stuff… Anyways, do check it out n enjoy…
I think half o these sites which are opening up every other day are useless and almost same as the others…recently heard of Reliance Entertainment coming up with this networking site which promises to be really good called http://www.bigadda.com, the site is soon to be launched for public and in the meantime, if u want to, u guys can check out the diff. logos on the above site n vote for which 1 u feel shud be the best…
Noticed this post a bit late, but would still try to put down a few words.
Speaking of Orkut, as you guys have aready mentioned orkut in your previous comments. It was
interesting to see how different people can have different views on why a community website like
orkut is or will be a success, or rather why would people use it. Yet another side of story can
reveal why people are really using it.
I never used orkut, untill last couple of months, even though my friends were all on orkut, because
i love to network in “real” rather than having to do that online. I ultimately joined orkut (i dont
have any of my real friends added to my friend list though) in an attempt to see why different
people use orkut.
I have friends who use orkut 15-20 mins between work, they say its a time pass. I have friends who
use orkut to stay in touch with friends although they end up scrapping only occassionally. I have
friends who use fake profiles and log on to orkut only to search new profiles and keep adding them
as friends. I have friends who visit orkut for mostly adult related content (orkut has not done much
to prevent adult-aration).
What is more interesting, is to read the profiles. They are self marketing of “how cool i am”.
Scrapping people to write testimonials and adding as fans, also point back to the same idea, the
idea of “referring myself”. Adding too many friends, only limited by orkut to not have more than
1000 friends, and uploading the “best-of-me” picture, indicating “how popular i am” or “how quickly
can i become popular”. The popularity is judged by the number of people visiting my profile and
number of friend requests i recieve.
Yet another interesting part is to understand the life cycle of an orkutter and the psychological
pattern as the list of friends grow or as the account gets older. Most of the cases have shown a
decline in the usage with time, as it lack in providing the same enthusiasm & fun. Pointing to the
case of stikyness (as satpal pointed out), the magnetic field gets weaker with time.
Viral marketing has helped increase the population of orkutters to over 48 million, yet stickyness
will prove in the longer terms, as was also pointed out in one of the earlier comments. Hopefully,
we will soon see google with a new plan of action. Orkut definetely has helped gtalk downloads, even
if there was not other revenue source.
So what we discovered was more than just thinking that the “the key is to pick a niche in terms of
providing people the access to some unique type of information or group of people”, as vineeth
mentioned. The key could also be to provide a platform to people to become popular and gain
recognition at the ease of interent.
How many of us do not want to be influencers, how many of us do not want to recommend others of the
topics we beleive we are experts in. Havent we seen vedios of people YouTubing themselves. Havent we seen people taking the pain to comment on questions from Y! Answers. Yet again, havent we ourselves commented on various posts of our interest, at times trying to get attention.
I beleive a strong case for any new community website would be “meferrals”. The concept we have not
touched in this post.
Another community website to attract millions of indians is not an easy play of the mind. Any
community involves people of varied tastes, thoughts and beliefs. Giving them the ability to
interact for non commercial reasons, got to be free. Credibility of the interactors may also become
an important point. We have already seen fake profiles putting off the orkutters.
Religion as deepak pointed out is one area, however topics like religion need a very carefull
handling and a serious need to investigate the social responsibility. Indian society is too fragile
when it comes to religion.
Parenting was another important point deepak raised. Parenting do have a potential to become a very
important topic of discussion in a community, as i beleive. Infact, we are already working on a
similar front, but for obvious reasons cannot talk much about it. But may like to share views over a lunch or pint of beer, thats how i like to do social networking 🙂