Tuesday, May 08, 2007

7 things to know about the web in India before...

1. Check out this Alexa list of top 100 sites visited by Indian users.

There are no UGC-driven sites in that list. Most of the action is taking place in Walled gardens that started in the 1990s, and in the social networking sites outside India.

2. No original ideas
Save a few examples like Zoho which can still make it big in the online office applications area, most startups are knock-offs of popular applications, often made up to flip.

Huge site deals like the fluke Indiaworld (it was the first), Jobsahead, Baazi are far and few. Of late, a South African Group has bought out a Couple of sites inspired by Flickr and Indeed.

3. Small user base
Going by different surveys, there are anywhere between 8.5 million - 40 million Internet users. Broadband is still relatively expensive and most are not power users, that is, people who spend more than 4 hours online.

Those that do are chatting or looking up hot chicks on social networking places, among other things.

Many users are cybercafe-based users.

India might be the fourth in terms of net users but only 4.5% Indians have anything to do online.

A wide range of travel and matrimonial startups are gunning for the same space. Recently, real estate sellers have gone after the same 4.5%.

It is not surprising that the most successful Indian blogger writes for an international audience to make a living. I used to be the managing editor at a blog network and the CEO was unwilling to launch blogs for Indian audience at first.

4. The typical Indian consumer is a value consumer

She goes for discounts, among other things. I do not have details about adsense clicks from India but I can bet they are nothing to be proud of.

So, how do you monetize you social networking startup, or your Youtube clone?

5. Online shopping has still not taken off in a big way
People are afraid of scams. Moreover, Indians tend to be credit averse (though this is changing fast) and there are no widely acceptable online Debit card transaction services in India.

6. Few are paying attention to unglamorous but promising niches
Online education, online transactions, online publishing other than blogs, podcasts & instructional videos, etc

7. Where are the mobile applications?
There are more mobile phones in India than PCs. However, where are the applications than even a farmer can use? For example, how can sell his produce using his GPRS mobile? I am sure he can spare a hundred note if the transaction successful.

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At 5:33 PM , Blogger ankurindia said...

things are not as bad as you are saying . still indian top sites are worth billions of dollars .. dont see the present , just think about growth .. and remember peoples who are on internet are well educated and have sound financial background .

At 7:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you know that Rediff.com, one of the top portals, made only $1.5 million in profits, after almost a decade in existence?

Nice points.

At 11:58 PM , Blogger Harshal said...

The problem with this post is, its easy to say that most ideas are knock offs of something that exists in the US.

But how about concentrating to get some original idea? rather than bragging and blogging on non existence of one.

Get reviews of H1B consultants at :

At 2:05 PM , Blogger Pramit Singh said...

I share your pain that we have few instances of successful innovation in India.

However, I have pointed to successes like Zoho. Moreover, I have written about niches that hold much promise but are not being addressed by anyone.

At 4:04 PM , Anonymous Arvind said...

Nice post, Pramit! And thanks for complimenting Zoho :-)


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