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Alibaba.com And Infomedia Form Strategic Partnership in India; Why Am I On Indiamart?

I’ve noticed Alibaba.com advertisements on the Economic Times website over the past week, and sensed that something was up. This explains it: the China-based b2b classifieds portal has announced a tie with Infomedia India. This is, as per the release, a “multi-year” strategic relationship, and extends beyond the Internet into the print domain, where Infomedia has special interest publications.

David Wei, CEO of Alibaba.com has said that India is a top priority for the companys global plans, and Infomedia will help provide on-ground support including sales, marketing and customer service. Some numbers: Around 20,000 Indian companies have signed up each month for their India channel since Jan 2008, and Alibaba.com has more than 400,000 members in India, and they hope to double that number. Alibaba has, reportedly, 27 million members from over 200 countries. They’re targeting a market of over 8 million SMEs. In India, Alibaba will compete with the likes of TradeIndia.com and Indiamart.com, both B2B marketplaces.

But here’s the strange thing: I’m listed on Indiamart! On Oct 18 2007, I received a mail from them informing me that I’ve automatically been registered. No permission sought, they just created an account, added my details including my mobile number, and just sent across a username and password. Randomly, they’ve added ContentNext (contentSutra’s parent company) in two categories: “Studios, Film Production & Multimedia Production Services” and “Advertising Agencies, Consultants & Designers”. Other mails and reminders were received 2nd Nov, Jan 16th and more recently on April 15th. Thankfully, they’ve only cold-called once – on the 25th of Feb. None of this changes the fact that I shouldn’t have been automatically added, without my permission being sought.

Update: I met Dinesh Agarwal, Founder and MD of Indiamart yesterday. He said that they’re following the standard Yellow Pages model of data collection, wherein business owners are listed in a directory. Indiamart gives users the option of deleting/modifying their details in the directory (I was given that option), while in case of a print listing, you’re stuck there for the whole year. The rules, it appears, are different for personal sites – and I was looking at this listing from a personal perspective – and different for a business site.

13 Responses to “Alibaba.com And Infomedia Form Strategic Partnership in India; Why Am I On Indiamart?”

  1. I think they should have al-teast the permission to use your information before they created the account for you on Alibaba.com maybe they are getting paid per member registration from Alibaba.com

  2. UDAYAN GHOSH

    B2B portals are no doubt helpfull for the businessess. I too have been working with an e-commerce portal, namely http://www.globalonlinesubscription.com, where I found that almost all corporate houses whome I communicated were happy with the portal.

    Still I would like to say that if a businessman does not want to be listed, let it be isolated. E-commerce companies should ensure a mechanism to do this (like we have a system to sign Agreement before listing any company).

  3. Mr. Pahwa,

    These things happens all the time. Anyway, one is getting business out of it. Therefore, I have no ado about it. In fact, I was able to get business through a Canadian B2B portal through such a listing, though I was a international transporter. In the first call, I had even blasted this tele-sales executive. After convincingly becoming a premium member, I am today an advocate of leading B2Bs.

  4. Nikhil,

    You may give a try at http://www.toboc.com. Toboc is a B2B portal for importers, exporters, brokers, transporters and service companies. Browse directory of companies, trade leads and product images. Business can register here for free or paid membership.

  5. I think it would be best if users be acknowledged to know how their infomation be used for a specific purpose before someone else can make use of it.

    The users should be the ulitmate decision makers.

  6. I agree with pradeep as a manufacturer I am happy that my information is
    being circulated to more and more buyers.

    Even I am a member at Indiamart once they list you they send a confirmation
    with all details and if you are not interested you get it delisted. So that is a sort of permission only.

  7. Though dont know much…….. But sounds confusing that how can one be interested to be listed on one B2B and ignoring other B2B. i myself is listed at all the 3 places and got good inquiries from all three. :)

  8. Nikhil Pahwa

    Pradeep: as a consumer, it's my choice whether I choose to list on the site or not. They may contact me to check whether I want to list or not (more than once is spam), and after that it's up to me. Listing me without permission is unethical.

  9. Pradeep

    I found nothing wrong if they have listed anybody. If we are benefited by one B2B and other one is listed us, we would definitely be benefited by the other also. rather i be happy if people themself take initiative and lists me. Rather i would fully cooperate with them.