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ByIndia.com Goes Up For Sale On Ebay; SaffronConnect Shuts Down?

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It’s Buy ByIndia or Bye ByIndia…the site which was acquired by Web2Corp in August 2006 is on the block, up for sale on ebay, here. Is this India’s first portal auction? I’m not sure…the minimum bid for site starts at $500,000 (around Rs. 2 crores), and the auction closes on Feb 29th. There’s an alexa comparison with AOL.in, MSN India, Oneindia.in and Sify on the auction page, but contentSutra readers should bear in mind that Alexa isn’t entirely reliable. ByIndia was launched primarily as a search engine (they’ve compared themselves to Guruji in the sales pitch here), and claimed to be India’s Baidu. They later evolved into a social networking and search site.

But why is Web2 Corp selling what it claims to be “India’s leading social networking site and search engine”? According to the site: “Web2 Corp’s $5M funding for ByIndia.com didn’t materialize due to its lenders fallout with real estate markets, and the company can not afford to properly market or support the growth of the web site.” William Mobley, CEO of Web2 Corp says that the company is “moving away from developing large branded portals with ad supported revenue models to direct sales of its commercial applications, and holding on to ByIndia.com doesn’t make sense for us.” [via release and StartupDunia]

So is the bloom off the Social Networking Boom? It also appears that social networking site SaffronConnect has shut down. Here’s a video of the SaffronConnect presentation (thanks alertman) at the first Proto.in. A fairly large number of social networking sites were launched last year, and I’m wondering if any others have shut down since. Do let us know in the comments, and we’ll add to the list.

Update: Jhoom.in, which we’d written about here, has also shut down. The founder, Saurav Chopra, has joined Amobee, reports Pluggd.in.

8 Responses to “ByIndia.com Goes Up For Sale On Ebay; SaffronConnect Shuts Down?”

  1. Though this article focuses on Social Networking Industry loosing its shine, I personally think there is a huge potential even now for new players to get in and make it big. The vacuum exists for industry specific, interest specific social networking portals and i am sure in the next decade we will see big players getting into this league.

  2. In a recent trip to China, i remember thinking that the one thing Indian's had over the Chinese (and I am not talking at an individual level) is that we have the ability to be independent thinkers. Each Indian thinks, eats and works differently and that gives us the ability to do many different things as a nation.

    It now strikes me that maybe we have taken this whole "we are different" to a level where we imagine small differences and tout them as the biggest differentiator ever. Be it our politics or our businesses. Whats on offer is actually more of the same Or as we say in the punjab "santa singh or banta singh … one and the same thing".

    These are not failures, this is the death of clones and as we have seen in STAR Wars … clones die. We need ideas that are different not differentiation from existing ideas. No one remembers who climbed mount everest last week or the 2nd man on the moon or the 3rd man in space. It was as tough for them but unfortunately, its the first that counts.

    So what do we do in India? Well, first we stop walking like sheep, from the biggest company in india to the smalles guy…BIG ask but hell its worth a shot. Just because your neigbour makes a good living selling tea doesnt mean you should do it as well.

    Secondly, we solve a problem….somehow, something is missing online that is not attracting the Indians in masses. whether through the mobile or internet. Even mobile data penetration is not going up. The next big opportunity lies there and a huge pile of gold lies at the end of that digitised rainbow….what will bring mass indian's to use data!

    Let the games begin!!!