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Brands look at blogging as primary online marketing activity as it allows sustainable work with a community

Vineet Rajan is a
full time director with Scissor Paper Stone Web Solutions Pvt Ltd and heads
client strategy at In this exclusive interview with India
Digital Review, Rajan discusses how brands can look at blogging as the primary
marketing activity online.

What was the objective
and idea behind launching IndiBlogger as a blogging community in India?

Vineet Rajan is a
full time director with Scissor Paper Stone Web Solutions Pvt Ltd and heads
client strategy at In this exclusive interview with India
Digital Review, Rajan discusses how brands can look at blogging as the primary
marketing activity online.

What was the objective
and idea behind launching IndiBlogger as a blogging community in India?

We noticed that the Indian Blogging Community was growing
but offered no avenues to connect bloggers with other likeminded bloggers. We
ourselves were bloggers and found it hard to network with others. When we spoke
to other bloggers, we realized they felt the same need; and so
came into being. It is a social network that aims to connect bloggers across
India with each other and build the community into a very strong network.

How many bloggers do
you have in your network now?

We have over 27,000 bloggers in the network as of today. All
the registrations are manually verified and have gone through a strict
submission guideline process. The network is open only for Indian bloggers who
have existing blogs.

What were the initial
challenges that you faced while convincing the bloggers to be a part of your

The initial challenge was never getting bloggers on board;
since this idea came from the bloggers themselves. The challenge lay in
providing the right platform for the bloggers. Till date we have never
advertised and the growth has purely been organic. The entire
credit for what is now goes to the blogging community who have
worked closely with us, giving us timely inputs to make it better. The
IndiForum, where bloggers discuss a lot of aspects of blogging, has been a
breeding ground for new ideas, suggestions and feature requests.

What does a blogger
get by being a part of your network?

Bloggers, being part of, can most importantly
network with other bloggers. They can find numerous blogs of their interest,
add people to their network, send messages, take part in forum discussions, get
their blogs reviewed, attend blogger meets and take part in exciting contests.

We, at believe that more than any of these
services, it is essential to encourage new bloggers and to give due importance
to diligent bloggers; which is why we came up with IndiRank; an organic scoring
methodology for bloggers that takes not just the mozRank, Alexa rank, page rank
etc in consideration but also the most recent and frequency of blogging.  Programmable badges and widgets can also be
put on blogs by bloggers. Most importantly, it is the feeling of being part of
a community that is active, which has avenues to learn and grow as a blogger.

What is your
screening procedure while selecting bloggers in your network?

Every blog that is submitted for the directory listing is
checked manually by a moderator to see if it complies with our submission
guidelines, and also to check if the blogger is of Indian origin. A blog
listing will show up in the directory only after the blog has
been approved.

The screening process involves checking for the following:

1.          It must be
a blog and not anything else. The term “anything else” includes
company websites, product promotional pages, discussion forums, link/doorway
pages, and bulletin boards.

2.          If we
suspect that a blog contains duplicate or unoriginal content without giving due
credit to the original source, we check it with Copyscape or Google. Blogs
found with plagiarized content will not be approved.

3.          Blog
submissions containing pornographic, adult or obscene material is not allowed
on the IndiBlogger network.

4.          If someone
has just started blogging and has only a few blog posts up, or if they haven’t
updated their blog in a long time, the account is put on hold and we check back

5.          Lastly, the
blogger must be of Indian origin

Many feel that
blogging has been dead of late. What are your views on the same? How do you see
the uptake to blogging in new bloggers?

Blogging has been in the process of evolution with the
advent of social networks. But Indian bloggers continue to leverage newer
platforms while enhancing their online presence at the same time. The way we
look at it is, either you have multiple online properties and manage them
individually; or you create a central hub for your online presence.

The increase of the number of bloggers joining has also been going as forecasted. We are growing at around 80%
YoY. As a trend, we have seen that those who wish to create a stronger identity
for themselves look at blogs along with other online outlets such as Twitter
and Facebook.

Indian bloggers have also slowly started professional
blogging, instead of doing it just as a hobby. This number is increasing each

What is the average
number of posts you get on in a month?

IndiVine is the place where bloggers submit blog posts which
can be promoted by other bloggers. It’s a platform that both new and old
bloggers use to popularize their content. The entries here link back to their
respective blogs. On an average we get around 20,000 submissions in a month.
There is a spike in this activity during contests; since the contest platform
uses the IndiVine engine.

What is your revenue

We essentially leverage blogging as an effective
communication strategy among online community influencers, thus helping
everyone, including brands, to reach their target audience through bloggers.

So far we have conducted more than 50 blogging contests and
an almost equal number of blogger meets across the country.

Through the contests and meets, bloggers also gain insights
into brands and their products when such campaigns go live. So these are
actually win-win for everyone since they all drive the core mission of which is to bring the Indian bloggers together as a stronger

IndiBlogger has been
in the forefront of promoting brands through their blogger networks. How have
you seen brands perceive blogs as a marketing medium?

Blogger engagement activities are in right now and the
credit for this goes to the bloggers themselves. Bloggers in a way are the top
online socialites because of their various technical skills. Their inherent
need to express their opinions and themselves goes a long way in helping them
openly talk about everything on their blogs. They also have the skill to sell
the content that they write to their readers through Twitter, Facebook and
other content sharing websites like Digg and StumbleUpon.

One of the recent success stories is Surf Excel Matic, a
brand targeted towards the urban woman, which had a total reach of over 2.5
million readers. Brands are looking at blogging very excitedly mainly because
here instead of the usual media outlets online like ads, Facebook fanpages etc
they are able to see the effectiveness of word of mouth marketing and the
credibility associated with the same. Over the past years, we have also seen
more and more brands looking at blogging as the primary online marketing
activity mainly because of the sustainability of working with a community.

You have regional
language bloggers in your network too. Have you done any campaign in any
regional language for a brand? has been connecting bloggers across India for
over 4 years now. As a network it has allowed bloggers to encourage other
bloggers to blog in their mother tongue; helped other blog readers to take
inspiration from bloggers and hence begin blogging. Close to 20% of the
bloggers on blog in regional languages, the biggest chunk being
that of Hindi bloggers. So far, the brands have tried to reach out to all
bloggers mainly focussed on genre and interest and not on language. So we see
good amount of participation coming from such bloggers in contests and blogger

What are your
thoughts on competition from a social media agency as there are lots of them?

There are many social media agencies, but we don’t compete
with any of them nor do they need to compete with us. We have a healthy and
mutually beneficial relationship with all agencies. does not get
involved in social media management; and sticks only to building better and
effective blogger engagement eco-systems. Social Media agencies that associate
us add greater value to their clients since in order to connect with the
bloggers they need a partner which has the blogger community in place.

What are your future
plans for IndiBlogger?

We will continue with our existing market
penetration and product development strategy. Soon, we will be launching newer
products which will make a house hold name. But the entire
product development and penetration would happen around blogging aimed at
building better eco-systems for better brand-blogger engagement.

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