Blog Post

The Hindi Blogosphere, Content Deals And Limited Advertising Options

Amit Gupta, at Global Voices, writes about the monetization difficulties faced by those blogging in local languages – in this case, in Hindi. Gupta says “Ad revenue from programs like Google (NSDQ: GOOG) AdSense is just about nil when it comes to Hindi blogging,” and only larger local language media sites are benefiting from advertising from direct sources. He points to an interview with Jitendra Chaudhary, administrator of Hindi aggregator Narad, who believes that monetization will come from big media sites, who will look to Hindi bloggers for content. He suggests that they specialize in niche segments – like technology and management tips.

There are a few local language media portals: MSN, Yahoo, AOL, OneIndia and Webdunia have content in many languages; BBC and Josh18 (Web18), have Hindi news content. Then there are sites like Tarkash, Nirantar, Lokmanch, and a hindi podcasting site called PodBharti (some info on them here). Blogvani is another Hindi blog aggregator. What Chaudhary doesn’t say in the interview is that advertising will not be a viable option for Hindi blogs and some sites, because the volume of traffic is likely to remain low; which is probably why he recommends that bloggers gear up for content deals.

Update: Something of a debate in the comments to this post. Also, via Alootechie, I came across this government release, which suggests that the dearth of local language content could limit the number of Internet users in India: growth is saturating among English speaking users (around 5-10 percent of the population). More local language content will mean more local interest in the Internet. Hindi isn’t even in the top 10 languages on the Internet (source: InternetWorldStats.com). There are some challenges, in terms of standardization of fonts and Internationalized domain names.

19 Responses to “The Hindi Blogosphere, Content Deals And Limited Advertising Options”

  1. Karthik

    To add to Andrew's comments Tamil is within the top 5 languages of Wiktionary (free dictionary) and featured in the front page. Most medical, mathematical and scientific terms are featured in Tamil Wiktionary.

  2. Yes as Ravishankar Shrivastava said my blog http://hindinovels.net is also making $4-$5 per day. Initially the I faced the problem of not getting suffincient ads on my blog but slowly it picked up. I think the google adsense engine is intelligent enough to pick up the proper keywords, May be from some english content appearing on your blog / site.

  3. John Andrew

    Tamil is by far the biggest Indian language in the internet. Internet content in Tamil is more then ten times that of Hindi. Of these half are SL related and many are Malaysia/Singapore related and remaining India related sites. Tamil Wikiedia has second most articles but in terms of content space is the highest (twice of Telugu). Also most technology related articles in Wikipedia and else where in the internet are in highest in Tamil compared to other Indian languages. Also word etymology (birth and word standardization) and related discussions are by far most active in Tamil than other Indian language where transliteration from English is popular (partly due to the small Tamil script).
    After Medical related sites and blogs including Siddha, Allopathy and Ayurveda are highest in Tamil. Literature and poetry related sites are also highest in Tamil than other Indian languages.
    First language to have free internet glossaries in various area such as and VLSI, Computer, Medical, Aviation etc. is not Hindi but Tamil (best example is http://www.geocities.com/tamildictionary).
    It is not wrong to say Tamil officially only regional but unofficially global.

  4. Even if anyone is earning it's nothing compare to what blogs written in english earn. Most of the hindi readers still from India only and they looks content related with India while this is not true for english blog.

    English bloggers have larger scope or window to pull readers based on their content.

    Another Problem with Google adsense is and actually the reason for low earning that it doesn't show the Ads related with content so thus the probablity to click these ads by someone is very very low.

    But still I would say it's better than what it was 3 years back when I started my first hindi blog.

  5. Earnings in hindi writing can never be compared with those in English in any form .It is very difficult to survive as a free -lancer in hindi media,leave alone surving on ad revenue for a hindi-blogger.

    I have heard several time that there are full-time hindi bloggers . Are they really earning enough from the ad revenue that they could survive without any other source of income. It is too difficult to believe if its true.

  6. People don't want to write a lot in local languages (blogs) because Adsense doesn't digest Indian languages, so we don't have enough content out there. Adsense will not start digesting language content as there is not enough out there.

    So who takes the first step forward? I think both parties should – bloggers should start publishing content in Indian languages and Google should start working on enhancing Adsense.

    Needless to say, we get the highest referrals from Google, followed by Yahoo. Since Sept 2007 we have seen noticeable referrals from Guruji. Recently Rediff too started languages search.

    The increase in traffic from India for Oneindia could be due to two reasons – increase in internet usage and more people heard about Oneindia. Yes, NRI traffic will be an important component for language portals not just for now, but forever.

  7. Nikhil, the world of online advertising is not synonymous with AdSense, there were ad networks before & there are ad networks which came after AdSense. :) But yes, contextual ads will have a problem till the time readership increases & only then advertisers will start putting out ads in indian languages when they will see that there's a large number of audience out there. And yes you are right about that talk that we had when we met at IHC sometime last year. As for ranking, well as per my blog's stats, most of the traffic sent is by Google ofcourse. Raftaar used to send some traffic till a couple of months back but nowadays some traffic is coming from Guruji & Webdunia. I'm sure that other hindi bloggers who keep an eye on their stats will confirm that there's some activity on this front, traffic is coming from search engines, not a great deal but it does some in some significant amount.

    The thing is that since Google made available their unicode transliterator on their different properties like Blogger, Orkut etc. more & more people, who were unaware of the fact that hindi can be written in unicode without any font problems & that too in an easy phonetic way to which they are used to, are trying this thing out & using it. So I think that means the change is happening, people are adopting it and while a number might drop it soon, some I guess will explore further definitely! :)

  8. Nikhil Pahwa

    Hi Mahesh, thanks for Ravish Kumar's blogs link. I kept searching for naidunia, instead of naisadak. What do you think precipitated that increase in traffic at Oneindia since mid-2006? about the chicken-and-egg situation, I think content needs to be there before anything else happens. Again, how have the search engines I mentioned earlier, been for you? Broadband penetration is something I'm still very skeptical about, so I would never bank on that. International traffic, perhaps.

    I'm afraid I don't know enough about Tamil blogs since I don't understand the language. I'm told that Malayalam content is also quite popular, and Manorama has a substantial readership.

  9. Nikhil – regarding the NDTV editor's blog, I think you are referring to Ravish Kumar. See http://naisadak.blogspot.com/

    Regarding not able to make enough money from Adsense, it is a classic chicken and egg problem. Google and possibly Yahoo will invest into language ad solutions once they see there is sufficient traffic in language blogs. As Nikhil mentioned there has been an increase in Hindi blogs over the last 3 years. We have seen an increase in Tamil blogs also.

    For now I believe India will be a reading community when it comes to Indian languages on the net. i.e. we will have more readers than writers. Over time we will find more writers. While keyboard/font is an issue, serious writers don't find it as an issue. They want to write, they will write with existing technology.

    We at Oneindia.in have seen an increase in traffic from India since mid-2006. Hopefully the broadband penetration will improve at the earliest which will help local language portals and blogs.

    Cheers,

    Mahesh

  10. Nikhil Pahwa

    Amit: not in the near future, at least…and not via Adsense. I agree with Jitendra when he says that content deals are a better option. I've also noticed a tremendous increase in Hindi content on blogs, over the past three years: we'd talked about it at a bloggers meet at IHC once. Interesting that you should mention search engine traffic. Could you rank the search engines? How would you compare search engines like Raftaar.com, Guruji.com and the one at Webdunia? Also, one of the NDTV India editors has a Hindi blog: I don't remember the URL.

    Debashish: you just mentioned a gold-mine there. An investment blog in Gujarati!

    Ravishankar: can anyone sustain themselves on a Hindi blog? My guess is – not yet.

  11. Recently some one posted that Hindi Blog Mohalla is generating revenue through Adsense @ $4 a day. Bhadas had also declared that it had started generating revenue. IMHO, about half a dozen other Hindi blogs were also generating ad revenue. It means, the path had already been created….

  12. Jitendra's suggestion is plausible but difficult to realize. Majority of Hindi blogosphere writes personal blogs, most of them churning out poems and views on current affairs. Rest of the lot comprises of Journalists and Techies. The Journos, like their English counterpart, use their blogs as an extension to their day-time job, the issues they talk about are already covered in Main stream media, their emaphasis is more on networking. No wonder then that topical blogs are only a handful and to create one you need subject matter expertise.

    The good part is: hundreds of people are joining the Indic blog bandwagon each day, lot of them coming from varied backgrounds, there are investment advisors, doctors, house-wifes, bureaucrats and acedemicians. They will surely bring in novel content. However, as you rightly pointed out, unless Indic blogs evoke enough readership, income from contextual advt would be limited owing to limited traffic. Its good that though Adsense officially does not support Hindi you can actually notice lot of Advt in Gujarati, Hindi script being shown on India centric sites.

    We are just hoping that its just a matter of time when the critical mass is hit :)

  13. Nikhil, I don't quite believe that ads won't be a viable option for hindi blogs. Since the last 2+ years I've been blogging in hindi – I've seen an increase in readership, I've seen an increase in number of blogs & bloggers a lot as well, more & more people are coming on blogs from search engines as well. With time, the readership will definitely grow more, maybe not as much as some other languages but still it will reach a point where ads will definitely look promising as revenue generators. :)

    The point is that if Hebrew can make its mark, if chinese can, if european languages like Spanish, French & German can, then so can Hindi which is amongst the top 5 spoken languages in world.