Rediff not towing Google or Facebook

By : |November 13, 2008 0

PUNE, INDIA: The online community portal has gone live with its first set of third-party applications with its open platform Rediff iShare and would be opening up more like News or Money Biz into a platform in the next three months possibly.

This effort of taking its erstwhile services into a platform mode shows its focus on rich applications, but as the portal claims, comparisons with Facebook won’t fit here.

While Rediff iShare itself supports any application compatible with FBML (Facebook Markup Language), allowing Indian and international application developers to open up to Rediff’s users, the strategy, as the company maintains, is not similar to that of Facebook.

Denying any comparisons with the social networking major Facebook that has many third-party applications flanking its core, Preeti Desai, VP, Marketing and Strategic Alliances argues, "We have opened up our content APIs for sure but our focus would be on development with a context. It will not be a case of 1000 developers but a case of extreme stress on context-driven development.”

Yet it would be a very open and democratic mode of application development, she added. There are about 20 to 30 developers at various stages for the portal and the effort is on trying to understand what users want.

The portal that has seen a surge in video content, user-generated content, Bollywood and music content on its Share services has outlined search, rich applications and localized content as key parts of its strategy.

With about 72.4 million registered users so far, the portal also denies any strategy impact or weaning away of users with Google‘s blitzkrieg in the industry.

"In terms of ranks, we might be at third after Yahoo and Google but talking of our strengths around very-localized focus and insight-based services, it’s hard to match us on these parameters. Fast is our focus and we still beat competitors in speed,” Desai added.

“There is no loss in market share and a certain set of users have been very loyal with us thanks to our customer insight on better and local services. Specially in small towns, is pervasive and at times a by-default desktop denizen owing to its speed and localized USPs.”

Talking of Google, it has three areas of interest – mail, search, and social networking and the latter two are another story altogether, Desai said.

As per recent Comscore May 2008 traffic figures for India in terms of total unique visitors (000) Google ranks first with 19,746 (000) followed by Yahoo sites, Microsoft sites and then Rediff with 9246 (000) visitors.

The May stats also show a 27 per cent jump in the Internet usage in India from last year and that India Internet base with its 28 million still represents only three per cent of the population, leaving room for tremendous growth.

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