Category Archives: Indian Web Space

Will b2c part of eBay India survive onslaught of eCommerce sites ?

Each day, a new ecommerce site gets started in India and 2 questions gets posted on OCC/Headstart mailing list about how to start an ecommerce site. There are already many sites in niche verticals like eyeglasses and watches and this is just the beginning. Now the question is, What will happen to India’s oldest B2B/B2C ecommerce site ebay India and how relevant it will be considering almost everything which people on selling now is already there on eCommerce sites. And the single biggest reason that goes in favor of ecommerce sites as compared to ebay is “Ownership”, as a buyer you know with whom you are dealing and that ecommerce store will deliver the product in the time with genuine product, something which is not the case with ebay seller.

I feels eBay India will remain relevant as far as C2C is concerned, people selling their used products on ebay (though there is lot of fraud going on there too, lot of stolen electronics are getting sold on ebay) will be there but the “shops” which are using ebay to sell their products, they are in serious trouble because they can not match the Pricing offered by ecommerce sites.

May be it a good time for eBay to reinvent itself otherwise it may be heading towards Rediff shopping like fate, where the independent sellers gave the bad name to rediff shopping and the shopping experience was never in control of Rediff.

Sad state of Indian Classified sites

Indian classifieds have so much potential but alas, spammers are killing them, Quikr, unarguably the best classified site in India is full of spam even though they have really good monitoring system (probably too good as my genuine ads too keeps on getting deleted!)

I think its a good time for Quikr to get Only Paid, they will lose lot of search traffic but even making the ads Rs 1 will get rid of all the spam as people are running pyramid scheme on ad postings.

IndiaTimes finally built a social networking (?) site but why ?

I just got a spam mail from some Nikhil Gupta who asked me to join iTimes, Indiatimes social network or something of that sort. The email had no option to unsubscribe and the registration link was just pointing to registration page of itimes which means these are mass spam mails with no tracking what so ever.

I can already see tons of fake profiles on the site and Indiatimes is also taking the usual tested failed method of leveraging on gossip, bolloywood, celeb pics and cricket. iTimes is probably late by 6 years and can’t even compete with orkut which itself is taking its last breaths in India, I am not sure what was the whole logic behind iTimes, Indiatimes probably wanted its own community and wanted to leverage on its existing sources but they are taking the wrong approach with very poor execution.

I really hope they can get rid of this cheap fake profiles, stop spamming, get rid of bolloywood, celebs and cricket and focus on real problems like say Exams, Ration Card etc otherwise the site is destined to fail

Type of Busness Ideas which will work on Indian web space

Normally I write in a flow and don’t reread the post so my apologies in advance if the post lacks continuity or has spelling mistakes.

In this post, I am going to write down what I feels, types of Ideas which are/will work in India. This is a casually written post with no research done and is based on my 7 years “hardcore” net knowledge :)

In India, we can categories successful web companies into 4 categories and I feels for next few years, all new successful ventures will come only in these 4 categories

1. Aggregators i.e. those sites who are aggregating information
2. Copy ideas from US web space (or from any other country)
3. Get offline to Online
4. Classified content like matrimony, jobs, buy/sale cars, houses etc
5. Solving some real problem (very painful to implement + not much money)

1. It is something which we are all seeing on Indian spaces, specially in travel industry. Aggregation works so well in India because Indian we space is still very immature and content is very fragmented, even the well organized site like nic.in seems to be very fragmented to me, lot of information but scattered, so if you can offer a service which aggregates useful data and information, the company can be huge success. Few ideas are, Government inquiries, PAN Card/passport/ration card, Exam results, Reviews etc

2. People are copying each other from the beginning of Internet, anything which works in USA normally gets copied to UK, Australia, India, South America and other european countries. A business model which is already tested in other country will always be successful in any other part of the world provided it is web based. Here is what I feels, Indians should look into other countries too to copy ideas, specially countries which have similar economy and people, for e.g. Brazil and China can be perfect countries from where Indian entrepreneurs can “take” ideas as the ideas from US normally gets copied very soon. I had explored China market in 2009-10 for brief period though couldn’t find much to implement in India, though I will highly advice people to look into China, Brazil, Korean, Russian and Mexican market for ideas.

3. Coupons, all kind of ticket booking, ecommerce and everything which is happening offline can be bring Online. I strongly feels, “anything which Internet has not touched will be eventually get touched by internet for good” (I read this on cdixon.org’s blog, please please read all his blog posts, its all gold!) so in India, find the pain points, things which people hate to do but are still compelled to do because of lack of online option and implement that.

Personally, I love these kind of ideas most as they are solving some pain which means you never have to spend much on marketing, Indians love to talk and will talk about your service if it is good. Paying online bills is a great idea which I wanted to do but this has alrady been done by ICICI in 2000 though done very poorly.

4. From 2000 onwards, all the classified sections were moved to the web, Matrimony, Vacancy/Jobs, Buy/sale cars/vehicles/houses etc. This was very natural thing and I feels now there is nothing much from classified which can be moved to web, may be very narrow niches like “services” and “Rent”, these are being done by sulekha but still there is a good scope for launching a vertical business, specially on Rent.

5. I love businesses which come in this category, the problem is, there are not too many, due to over complexity and low returns. I wanted (and still do) to solve the problem of waste in India, we all know this is Local municipality’s responsibility but they are too numb towards this, the problem is, I realized that this is a very big thing and I don’t have the resources and will/”balls” to do it. There is not much money in it either so just like every Indian, I too want to see the change but don’t want to do it myself *sigh*. Some great ideas can be giving small loans, education, hospitals, vaccination, houses etc

Why I love IXIGO as compared to other travel sites and why usability and design matters

In the past 3 months I have traveled a lot and is planning to travel more, on 7th February, I will be at entrepreneurship summit which will be held at IIT Bombay, now for such travels, I normally look at all the top 4-5 travel sites to find the cheapest hotels and flights, though after using them couple of times, let me assure you, there is no price difference between any, so here is my tip to other guys to save some money and Time, stick to one OTA site and they will help you to get more concessions in long run as old customer.

Now to the Post Topic – why on the web, Design and usability matters specially when you are in competitive field, Online Travel Agents and Hotel booking is a low margin, cut throat businesses with way too many players playing volume game trying to lure the same set of customers chasing limited amount of money, this is where I love ixigo, it is a no frill site with no ads, very clean design, no images and offers what the users wants. All other sites pushes something else too or shows ads or are not user friendly and ixigo certainly stands way apart from them.

ixigo

I am of course no way associated with ixigo, just a regular user of it who feels others travel sites should work on usability and design of their sites to make them more responsive and interactive to retain the customer.

Review of Online Flight Ticket Booking Websites of India

I am not a frequent traveler but I do spend good time when buying a plane ticket on various online travel and Flight ticket booking websites in India so I felt to write a review about them from a “users” point of view to help first timers. I have only reserved air tickets with them so I cannot comment on any other service of theirs like hotel booking. If you want to read a professional albeit older review, you can check it here

(Below sites are not listed in any particular order)

DO read My Opinion at the end of the article too.

1. Yatra – Probably the biggest OTA site in India.

Good -
1. Has a really good starting user interface
2. Gives option for flights of +/- 2 days too
Bad -
1. The Display results are not shown properly, it can be improved
2. The number of results for my flight were certainly less as compared to other sites

2. Ixigo

Good -
1. Has excellent user interface, certainly the best among all sites
2. The rates were probably the cheapest though it directly pulls raw data from the sites so doesn’t count insurance or
Bad -
1. Just a search engine so eventually you just need to buy the ticket from the airline website but I don’t think this is a problem

3. Makemytrip

Good
1. Has a decent interface though can improve better
2. Shows Discount Prices too
Bad -
1. Results contains way too much information on a single page which makes it confusing for first timers

4. Cleartrip

Good
1. has a decent interface though can be improved as I can see lot of white space in results
Bad
1. For my queries (of various combinations) it certainly did not show many results and was certainly not the cheapest, may be because they added their own fees too in it.

5. Travelguru

Good
Didn’t found any as they are using ixigo flight search engine
Bad
Didn’t found any as they are using ixigo flight search engine

6. Ezeego

Good -
Didn’t found any as could not use the site
Bad
1. I am still trying to understand why they went with such domain name ?
2. The initial search interface needs improvement
3. While searching, I got apache tomcat error!

My Opinion about all these flight booking websites of India – Almost all the sites were showing same listings with same prices (with a difference of Rs 50 or 100 in some occasions) so I don’t think it matters much which site you are using for buying online plane ticket. Though its not a bad idea to open all of them and compare the results, it doesn’t take more than 5 mins to do this anyway. You may want to look at ixigo alone if you are in a hurry as I have seen it showing maximum possible flights with minimum fare.

Disclaimer – I am in no way associated with any of them and the opinions stated above are purely my observations and views.