‘ Business ’ category archive

Domain Parking Industry: Some facts!

April 14, 08 by Bharani

How many times you typed a query in google and landed up in Parked domain/site (a site filled with text-ads with words related to your keyword)? I am sure many of you are annoyed by such domains…But such domains are slowly becoming a force to reckon with! There are so many millions of people on the planet who are not immune to text-ads yet and they do click on the ads invariably….

Some Facts!

Domaining industry is at estimated $2 billion, as people buy and sell domain names similar to stocks and property.

Domain industry to reach $4 billion by 2010, as people and businesses continue to purchase about 90,000 domain names every day.

As of April 2007, more than 128 million domain names registered worldwide!

Total Ad revenues from Parked domains was $800 million in 2006.

Combined Ad-revenue for Google and Yahoo in 2006 is $7.88 billion.

Combining the above two facts, and assuming that most of the parked domains are filled with text-ads from google and yahoo, Parked domains are contributing almost 10% of ad-revenues to google and yahoo!

Verisign has indicated that 23% of all registered domains are parked!

We can split ad channels into content channel (contextual ads on content pages) and domain channels (contextual ads on parked domains!). The domain channel has been growing at 37.5% and is fast cannibalizing the content channel.

Combining the above two facts, it’s evident that domain channel is gaining bargaining power and domain channel is something that google and yahoo needs to careful with. As of now the domain channel is largely fragmented, but just a question of time before it gets organized and proves to be a significant chunk of page views

DangDang – Amazon of China!

April 10, 08 by Bharani

Dangdang.com is the biggest online retail store in china, popularly called as “Amazon of China”.

Joyo.com (Now, amazon.cn)
store.sohu.com (Now, amazon.cn)

Challenges (initial stages)
1. Low internet penetration (0.14/1000 in 1999)
2. Low bandwidth/transfer rate (33.3 kbps)
3. Avoidance of Credit card for payments.
4. Lack of nation-wide courier services like FedEx.

Promotional Techniques:

1. “Lucky Time Activity” – A randomly chosen lucky hour each day, during which all purchases are made free.
2. “An E-love story” – A colloborating book authoring exercise involving the site users!
3. Membership scheme/Loyalty programs – Reward points/gifts depending on the buying patterns.

Interestingly, Amazon.com has already swallowed 2-3 major online bookstores in china. Amazon did try to swallow Dangdang, but dangdang resisted. Amazon offered $150m USD for 70-80% stake. Dangdang rationalized saying that it was interested in investor and not in a buy-out. Sources say that, Dangdang actually was employing this tactic (Delaying) to up the price offer from Amazon, instead it backfired, as Amazon went on to buy Dangdang’s nearest competitor Joyo.com for a meagre 75 million dollars!

Similar to paypal.com, a popular online payment solution, China has it’s own online payment solution in the form of yeepay.com. Yeepay partnered with various online stores including Dangdang.com. This partnership helped dangdang.com in a significant way to increase the online purchase tendency among the users. It’s worthwhile to note that yeepay has both online and offline payment collection mechanisms! A combination non-existent in india!

Marketing Methods – All OUT

April 09, 08 by Bharani

KAPL (Karamchand Appliances Private Limited), the parent company behind the brand “All out”, was the first-mover in the vaporizer mosquito repellant segment. Their initial success was attributed to the technological innovation (as far as India is concerned. Actually, the technology was borrowed from a Japanese firm called EARTH), first-mover-advantage and mainly to their marketing. Some of the marketing techniques employed by them:

* Television ads: They employed two major creative agencies namely Avenues and HTA to created tele ads. But the group wasn’t happy with the results and the message conveyed through the ads. Eventually, they came up with their own versions using animated version of frog slurpping all the mosquitoes. The ad was a huge success. Again, the group borrowed the idea from Japan!

* Advertisement on Video-cassettes: Video-cassettes were the dominant home-movie-watching means during 90’s. Moreover, the group found that every video cassette was duplicated 20 times in the grey market. So, they started advertising in the video cassettes. Needless to say, the move was a big success in spreading the brand awareness. This move was initially criticized by the creative agencies but later the agencies had to eat their own words!

* Advertisement on Radio: Evening programs and Cricket commentaries were the targets as far as the Radio was concerned (AIR).

* Advertisement on Television: The group chose to sponsor the news program rather than sponsoring heavy-weight programs like KBC.

* Sponsoring song/dance sequence: The group experimented with sponsoring every song/dance sequence in movies on television and Satellite channels. Since every movie had atleast 4-5 songs and equal number of fighting scenes, audience ended up watching the ad atleast 5 times. The channel surfing was relatively less prevalent during those days! The result: Brand attained high mind-share among the customers!

Caveat: A survey revealed later that, many audience were not happy with repetitive viewing of same ads. Experts advised that such repeated ads telecast might prove counter-productive if continued. So, such kind of campaigns is useful for short periods…but for longer periods, it’s best to reduce the frequency of ads.

* Exchange scheme: Years later after the launch of the product, the group initiated “Deadly exchange scheme”, where a customer can exchange mat machine of any brand for the vaporizer. This move helped the growth of vaporizer segment.

Winning Mantra from Mahabharata

March 24, 08 by Bharani

Pretty good interpretations 🙂

Theory is vastly different from Practice!

February 15, 08 by Bharani

It’s very easy to read about starting a business from scratch, setting up the operations, organizational structure, Marketing strategies and financial fundas….But when the time comes to implement what one has studied for himself, the world teaches the ground realities..hard facts…and the importance of the practicality in life…

While the progress at Antya has been good so far, the progress isn’t sufficient enough. We are in the phase of executing the crux of the business plan… GENERATING REVENUES. Facing some challenges in that front but overcoming one by one..Talking with various industry experts, investors and validating the ideas and plans is quite insightful…but have to admit that it has been stressful at times too…But hey! what’s the fun if everything goes smooth according to the plan? There should be twists and turns..surprises and failures before one sees the success…Otherwise, it will be very difficult to replicate the success as one wouldn’t have learnt to cope with obstacles and challenges!

OK..It’s been 4 months since I quit my job. What have I learnt?
– I have learnt the art of being very productive whilst working-from-home. Coping with this new lifestyle!
– I have understood the value of money! Seriously, frugality was slowly missing from my life with all the easy money from corporate world!
– I have realized how diluted the quality of workforce has become. Hiring is very difficult! Either people have shallow knowledge or knowledgeable people come with a very expensive price tag. It’s probably easier to hire fresh minds and train them. Can’t afford to spend time and train now…in a fix!
– Getting to know the world of Venture capitalism and angel investors.
– Building decent contacts in the internet industry.
– I have come to realize how many people working in the internet industry are NOT gung-ho about internet. In fact, they are all doubtful about the prospects…All the internet companies have their hopes pinned on the the projected growth except for handful of companies which work on transactions.
– I am learning to think INHERENTLY “How to make money? How to reduce costs? How to execute fast? How to overcome competition? How to take help? How to sustain? How to spot opportunity? How to add value? How to differentiate?”..I mean it.
– I am learning the basic formalities of setting up company, legalities, agreements etc.,
– I have been lucky enough to have very supportive family members. So don’t have the additional burden to cope up with the family pressures.

Internet Connectivity affected!

January 31, 08 by Bharani

Due to the damage to the two undersea cables, internet connectivy is affected in India. News reports claims that 60% bandwidth is unavailable across India. The internet traffic between India and America, Europe is impacted. This damage would impact the revenue-stream of internet-based businesses…

Since Antya is hosted in United states, the site might be slower than normal until the cables are restored. I guess now I will have to include ‘internet-connectivity risk’ as a key risk in the business plan 🙂

Presenting @ Proto.in

January 14, 08 by Bharani

Antya will be one of the 20 products to present/demo in one of India’s premiere start-up showcasing event, PROTO. The opportunity came in at the right time and we look forward to maximize the opportunity. As I hear, it is not easy to get shortlisted! and it makes me feel the gravity of the event…More updates later….

2007: The Year that was!

January 01, 08 by Bharani

Well, it feels like a short while ago when I re-capped 2006, but another year has passed in a jiffy…

Highs: (In chronological order)
– Starting a new job (Senior Product Manager @ ibibo Web Pvt Ltd) at new location (Gurgaon). First taste of internet industry.
– Being part of the core team that launched (DWAAR), India-focussed search engine.
– Getting Married. Varalakshmi is an extremely understanding and very caring wife. Lucky to have her as a life-partner…
– Learning Driving and getting my licence!!
– Buying my first car. Hyundai Santro Xing (Space Silver).
– Visiting Maldives (Heavenly place in earth).
– Visiting Taj Mahal with my wife. Being an Indian, too late to visit the Indian wonder that is part of the seven wonders. What a structure! What a symbol!
– Visiting quite a few religious places (Shirdi, Mathura, Gokul, Sripuram, Sholingur, Tirupati, Akshardham).
– Taking the entrepreneurial plunge & forming my own company called Antya Web Private Limited. Sunny Saurabh is my partner in this journey.
– Getting the seed funding for Antya. The seed fund has given us more confidence to continue the journey than anything else.
– Launching our own product, Antya. A site to find or discover websites across various topics.
– Featuring in Statesman Delhi for Antya- A full page article comprising 2400 words!
– Featuring in Indian Express, Technology edition for Antya.
– Interviewed for “Tech 4 U” section in Hindustan Times.
– Rise of the Antya in Alexa. Currently it is ranked 1764 in India. When launched the rank was 16905. It took just 20 days to reach under 2000! Antya is improving well in US too. Promising start for a long journey ahead.
– Getting my hands on Apple iMac Desktop (20″) loaded with Mac OS X Leopard edition. Interacting with Apple Mac is a Larger-than-life experience!
– Getting to know Bruno, a Labrodar, an extremely loveable and intelligent pet of my friend sunny. It’s amazing to see how fast he has grown from a small pup in May to a big boy now. Wonder how big he will be in another year 🙂

– Death of a close cousin. She died of cancer.

Overall, Year 2007 has been pretty eventful for me. Year 2008 is a critical year for me in many aspects. Entering 2008 with loads of hope, courage, confidence, dreams and determination.

A quote to remember for me this year:
“…It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change…” – Charles Darwin

Antya gets Seed-funding!

December 04, 07 by Bharani

By now, many of you would have noticed about the funding for Antya.com. Just capturing the news bits here…

Pahwa Knowledge Based Services has also seed-funded a search engine called Antya.com, which is a web discovery engine that helps people search for specific websites on a particular topic, says Pahwa. Antya.com will also offer regular search service like Google and will be launched in beta mode in a few weeks

Source Agency Faqs

He’s also funding a soon-to-be-launched India-focused search engine, Antya.com

Source Business Week

Prominence of APIs == death of “Web Scraping”?

October 11, 07 by Bharani

I did a brief research on the sites that are exposing the information to the world (other websites that is). Leading websites like Yahoo, Google, Technorati, Amazon, CNET, eBay to name a few are in the forefront when it comes to exposing the information through APIs.

What is the rationale to expose the information, that is supposed to be an asset or “Competitive Advantage”?. The rationale is pretty evident when you observe the way the information is exposed and the way the exposure drives traffic back to the originating site!

This article in read/write web summarizes the thought and concept beautifully. The internet is transforming to one giant structured database…

ProgrammableWeb neatly summarizes the APIs from various websites. As of today, there are 523 APIs available.

In Indian Context, the APIs haven’t caught up in a big scale. So the practice of “Web Scraping” looms large. Huge number of Yellow page companies boasting lakhs of business-details illustrates the effect of “Web scraping”. Same set of data problems can be seen with each Yellow page company for the simple reason that everyone copies the same set of data and repackages it. No one gives credit back to the other site.

When Bixee.com offered a one-stop search for all Jobs in India, by crawling and extracting information from all leading Job portals including Naukri, Naukri reacted negatively by filing a law-suit against Bixee. Later Naukri realized the complimentary nature of Bixee in generating traffic back to them and decided to expose the data in legal channels. If the information is scraped for the purpose of “Search and Redirection” to the original site, “Scraping” has a positive effect.

I cannot remember a single service that is successful through “Web Scraping” without redirecting back to the original site.