Thursday, December 17, 2009

State of Internet Business in India: Same ol, Same ol

Rajesh Jain, the only man who made it big in the Internet scene in India in the past 10 years, and one of the few who understand, care and freely share about the realities of the internet in this country of Freeloaders, Yappers and Snake Oil sellers, paints a true picture of the sorry state of Internet business in India:

Internet: 50 million (growing 10+ million/year), with 6 million broadband (256 Kbps) connections. About 50% access from cybercafes
Ads: Rs 700 cr ($150 million; 3% of media spend)
Transaction drivers: Tickets, Trades, Matrimony

The Times of India must be making more through Ads than the whole internet scene does in India. Among the so-called transaction drivers, railway ticketing takes a bulk of the sorry-looking cake.

Really, few Internet companies are making any money out here. And no, I am not counting in the SEO/Spam/Rewriting Service providers. Among the 50,000 or so active Indian bloggers, Amit Agarwal, a tech blogger, stands out as the lone happy blogging/publishing success story.

All in all, considering the Indian userbase, heavy on chat/email/job hunt, low on contributions, monetary or intellectual, you forgive that most Indian startups are made-to-flip types. Rajesh says,

Top 4 Indian portals losing about Rs 150 cr a year.

Cheaper and ubiquitous broadband may help in faster Internet adoption but how do you make consumers out of users? Perhaps all those so-called social media gurus must have the answer, if only they could turn their attention away from gullible, stupid corporate types.

Last one to go, please switch off the lights.

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