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Reliance To Start Social Networking Site

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You’re reading this here first: ContentSutra has learnt from sources that Anil Ambani company Reliance Entertainment is working on a social networking portal that they intend to launch shortly. The site will be similar to Orkut, but with additional features. More details when we have them.
A social network seems to be the ideal platform to connect the many Reliance Entertainment ventures: Zapak, Adlabs, BigFM. Zapak had a launch budget of $2 million; lets see how much Reliance Entertainment puts behind the launch of their social net…
Reliance Entertainment President Rajesh Sawhney Discusses The Big Picture
Rajesh Sawhney, President Of Reliance Entertainment On BIG FM Online, Gaming And Music On Demand

21 Responses to “Reliance To Start Social Networking Site”

  1. Praveen

    So, everybody is into S/N. And if you listen to all the founders, they are all in it for the long haul. They know that it is still a nascent market and they need to have patience. We hardly have about 2M broadband users. We need to have the technology enablers aka the bandwidth companies to not only slash b/w costs, but promote the benefits of broadband. Because every S/N company's revenue model is the same-advertising. You cannot advertise to a market where 70% of users are in dial up mode.
    Maybe thats what Reliance should do – slash broadband, work with vendors to offer a total package-pc,connection and experience

  2. i disagree Andy. Orkut is a great way of keeping in touch with friends and renewing old friendships – which in my opinion is an investment – much less a waste of time as you so casually mentioned.

    Innovation always helps – perhaps if they tied up with Nokia and took the moblogging platform to another level – that might be something to watch out for.

  3. It would be extemely interesting to follow Reliance's foray into Social networking scene. Why follow the numbers which are published today in internet usgae? Why not look at mobile penetration and work off that number? Before Reliance took over Mobile market, numbers were bleak for mobile usage too. Also, Reliance is know to "grow" market and not use the current market.

    An the whole hoopla of "why change Orkut" is baseless, becaz at the end of the day Orkut is a time waste and a chatroom' at its best. What needs does it cater to? Isn't this a fad fuelled by NRI ad rich families kiddos? So, anythign which provides some meaning and mobile interactivity would steal the show.

    And I really pity smaller players who are "me too" products. They should pack up and run!


  4. PraveenL

    Think reliance would have done well to get into fufilling some need (like an Indian Linkedin) rather than creating yet another S/N site.
    Still think "BA" would do well!

  5. Rajivness

    controversy is the best tool in any media company's arsenal. Like that James Bond Villian – Media Mogul says – nothing sells better than Bad News! Look at how Tehelka became a tehelka and a household name overnight or how marketeers got a lot of attention by being banned (MR Coffee, Tuff Shoes). I think controversy is the best way to go and a great marketing play – if executed well. Paris Hilton did it well by leaking that sleazy hotel video that became an internet hit overnight and the most downloaded video for over a month or who can forget the world famous – much talked about the pamela-lee video – these people definitely have pegged people's triggers right and know what will evoke a response and fan a phenomenon.

  6. Rajivness

    convergence is the call of the day. If can get streaming media (audio/video) integrated into my blog/profile – i might consider trying the service out. UGC would be a huge driver here – both for content – text, video, audio and others. The service needs to be seen as KOOL and a place to be before it tips into a phenomenon and before mavens and connectors begin to endorse it within their respective circles of peer influence.

  7. Tx Pranav,

    I saw somebody touch upon the mobile aspect of SocNet <Prasath: Reliance Mobile>; however if you observe new Anil Ambani group businesses and more so Reliance Entertainment, offerings targetting underserved areas, there seems to be a concerted effort in the group's strategy to target specific verticals rather than go horizontal.
    Mobile will be very interesting, not necessarily following Dodgeball or Twitter as examples at the two extremes of mobile centric SocNet, neither along the juvenile attempts at creating notification services using SMS [like the local offerings], but find middle ground in terms of user experiences.

  8. Renu,

    If you see the IAMAI report on Internet usage in India, you'll see that email, news, jobs and matrimony are still the top activities of online Indian population. So, yes — social networking does not gel with a whole segment of people (to some extent me included).

    Also, remember, a great chunk of the 9.43% of Indians on Orkut are NRI's too. Those should be excluded if you were to determine the actual number of Indians on Orkut.


  9. What this will be is a niche (games, entertainment) socNet. nothing more, nothing less. Hence there is no 'concept' nor 'need' to lure
    users away from orkut, etc.

  10. Hi Nikhil/Pranav,

    Gr8 scoop, I have been tracking the scene and have done meetups with most of the new SocNet businesses IBIBO, Yaari, MingleBox et al and have noticed that almost all are driven to compete with Orkut, which seems to be a result of the current 9.43% of 40 mill odd users. Indians now are third largest next to 66% brazilians, 10.2% Americans.
    However the main thing to note here is that if you focus on the basic numbers only about 10% of the IAMAI number of 35% [3.6 mill] is on orkut.
    So are the other 90% intenet users here completely uninterested in social networking… or havent found Orkut interesting enough? For long scraps have been the mainstay.
    The Indian users have some nice communities too, however there is a lot more that can be done.
    Now thats where the real muscle of BigFM, Adlabs Films, Adlabs Multiplexes can come in handy.
    More soon, lemme try and find out more too.

  11. Nikhil,

    It did with facebook, because facebook exclusively catered to the US univ. students (ie, you could register only if you had an *.edu email id). Just like Gmail restricted signup initially, this created a frenzy for facebook. also, originally, meant only for

    once it took off, only then it spread like wildfire. So, in a way,I wont say that the users 'switched' to facebook.

    Myspace got to where it is because Friendstr screwed up – in terms of site performance, mismanagement etc. And myspace offered haven for all these friendstr defectors — thats when myspace starting takin off.

    But as I said – Reliance has Adlabs and Zapak. As you put it in the post, integrate the content from the other two to lure in the users. As an example – Adlabs releases a movie – and then rabid fans can join the community and invite other friends. obviously, one can devise many such (& better) technics.

    Finally, with all the mishappenings with Orkut and Govt India, who knows – Reliance may be able to leverage those – just a long thought.

  12. Akshay: is it about free, or about friends already being there?

    Here's a hypothetical example: Lets say I'm playing multiplayer chess at Zapak– I'm anonymous as is the other person…reliance can connect the two of us using the zapak login ID on the social net. secondly, not everyone is there at social networking sites, and reliance has the media (BigFM) and money muscle to get new people there…the difficulty will be in retaining them, I think…since many of them will find their friends online at orkut, and could easily switch.

    Pranav: I have a different theory on Orkut: Orkut acquired users one by one. I signed up, and then just forgot about it. What really got it going was that in September 2005 (I think), Orkut was integrated with google accounts…the emails sent to everyone about the integration led everyone to log in again, and search for friends again…the sustained activity followed thereafter.

    I still think Reliance will find it difficult to get users to switch, but it's not unknown to happen. it did with facebook…

  13. nikhil,

    thats some scoop..

    One thing I've always wondered about new social networking companies. How to lure the current user base from Orkut ?

    Orkut wasnt an instant hit. It took a long time (at least cpl of years) to get where it is in terms of Indian user base.

    And the main hindrance in social networks – you would move if your entire network moves.

    However, considering reliance's muscle and all the affliated holdings (adlabs, zapak)..they can create the right bait for users.