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A few days later than we’d heard, but never mind that…Shiksha.com, the education portal from Info Edge (BOM: 532777) India (Naukri.com Group) has gone live. I’ll just go through it…In the meantime – take a look and tell us what you think (in the comments).
Update: The site looks rather busy, allowing students to explore colleges, join discussion groups/networks around colleges. There’s an answers feature (ala Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Answers and AskNaukri), with props for those answering questions. Maybe there should be props for recommending a better color scheme for the site as well…
There’s a comprehensive alerts feature – users can set alerts for important dates, updates to answers, exam forms, scholarship info, college alerts etc. This is critical, since alerts will encourage repeat usage of the site (how about segmented Business Events alerts for Brijj?). Info Edge could also start a weekly/daily important dates newsletter, like CoolAvenues has. The alerts section is rather comprehensive, with at least 6 events every day. The key for Info Edge, is to have an edge in terms of info (heh), and yet make sure it isn’t overwhelming for the user. Businesswise, another key section is Test Preparation – an information and advertising space for coaching classes, which I think will emerge as a significant advertiser segment for Shiksha. The company has also tied up with career counselor Kum Kum Tandon for career related articles.
More in the extended text on Shiksha vs Study Places and Mobile initiatives. Do tell us what you think of Shiksha.
Shiksha vs Study Places? The Study Abroad section has no mention of Study Places (one of Info Edge’s investments), so I assume it’s not been powered by them. There are several areas of overlap between Study Places and this segment…somehow, just saying that “the market is big enough for both of us” just doesn’t cut it..
Mobile? The only mobile integration that seems evident is SMS alerts. CEO Sanjeev Bikhchandani had said a few quarters ago in an earnings call that mobile contributes less than 5 percent to revenues, and we haven’t heard of any significant mobile initiatives since Insta Hire, though there has been an operator tie-up for job-search with RCom. Perhaps a WAP site for Shiksha, and indeed WAP sites for their other properties would help. A WAP link with alerts would help drive GPRS usage, particularly since, from what I hear, GPRS usage from India has become significant. Last July, Apoorva Kumar- VP & National Head- Mobility, Ad Sales & Investments had told contentSutra that the company plans to deploy AskNaukri across operator WAP portals.
Update: They’ve just issued a press release: Hitesh Oberoi, COO of Info Edge has said that the company is targeting users in the 15-24 age group. The education market in India is at Rs. 120,000 crores, with over 10 million people registering for higher education each year. Shiksha has over 70,000 listings, and Info Edge will invest $5-10 million in the portal over three years. Moreover, they’ll allow education institutions to upload videos, presentations and documents to communicate with students online. They’re setting up a sales force for Shiksha, and have 50 people across the top 8 cities in India.
Disclosure: I have an inconsequential number of shares of Info Edge