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How industry people see Web18’s new portal In.com

What are industry people thinking about Web18’s new portal In.com? Will it help in getting more users on the internet? Also what would be its impact on the existing players? Sanjay Trehan, CEO, NDTV Convergence; Mohit Hira, director, marketing, Indiatimes.com; Faisal Farooqui, CEO, MouthShut.com; and Mrutyunjay Mishra, director, JuxtConsult share their opinion with the AlooTechie readers.

What are industry people thinking about Web18’s new portal In.com? Will it help in getting more users on the internet? Also what would be its impact on the existing players? Sanjay Trehan, CEO, NDTV Convergence; Mohit Hira, director, marketing, Indiatimes.com; Faisal Farooqui, CEO, MouthShut.com; and Mrutyunjay Mishra, director, JuxtConsult share their opinion with the AlooTechie readers.

According to Sanjay Trehan, In.com has got a ‘hip’ brand name, looks interesting and is fraught with possibilities. He finds the website a cool amalgamation of multiple user touch-points. However the product still needs to evolve and acquire more depth, Trehan has added.

“I think it (In.com) is clearly a ‘Meta Site’ to earn revenues from referral in a long term from the combined user base of the Web18 group,” Mrutyunjay Mishra has said. “Soon you will see them registering people from each vertical to this site, before they even pump in money to start acquiring new users from other sources.”

“Currently, In.com is mostly aggregating content,” says Faisal Farooqui. “But ultimately Web18 will have to start creating its own content for In.com and also integrate all of its existing online brands into the new portal. This is because content aggregation in itself may not be enough to offer unique service to retain users on the site.”

On the question of whether In.com would help get new users on the Net, Sanjay Trehan has said aggressive marketing on a sustained basis will help attract more users. But positioning would be the key.

Mohit Hira has a different opinion, “I am not sure if another portal will grow the market. In fact, I don’t think it will bring in new users unless there is something really different being offered and fills a need-gap that isn’t being met today. With yet another horizontal, we will all be scrambling for the same user’s timeshare and the same advertiser’s wallet-share… If the market is to grow, accessibility needs to improve – not just bandwidth but costs.”

Mrutyunjay Mishra of JuxtConsult has said, “The effort in its current form doesn’t look like ‘something to get new users on the net’ in near term at least. If they are going to bring in some other changes to this product soon, particularly if they have some ‘local language and mobile strategy in place’ and will unravel it in a month’s time… then it can be new benefit for a person who can access internet but is currently not interested.”

“In the long term, a lot of new people are going to come to internet anyway with broadening of internet access. In that scenario there will be enough opportunity for survival of multiple portals as gateway to the internet. In.com then makes sense as a gateway to Web18’s so many other properties,” Mrutyunjay Mishra has added.

Will In.com have an impact on current players? “Any new effort always has an impact and so In.com will also have some impact. But quantum of impact is what would matter. In order to eat out market share they would have to create mind share. As of now it is too early to say anything,” says Mrutyunjay Mishra.

Mohit Hira of Indiatimes thinks In.com may impact some minor players or some larger players where users are bored. “But Indian youth are fickle and may try new stuff for pure novelty before coming back to where they were,” he has said.

“The war for horizontal portals is going to be very expensive as the horizontal is already established,” according to Faisal Farooqui of MouthShut. Sanjay Trehan of NDTV Convergence adds, “Current players may just tighten their belts.”

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