Ronnie05's Blog

Cashing in on Orkut

Posted in Revenues and Monetization, Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on March 2, 2009

2009 should be the watershed years in terms of monetizing of the social networking sites through ads targeted on user specific information. Mark Zuckerberg knows it and Google is doing it. Orkut which is the No 1 networking site in India is tieing up with IPL to create its own brand positioning platforms to lure advertisers. What it offers advertisers is a better opportunity to create engagement and branded pages, groups etc with its users… to create its own buzz. Ultimately at some level it may serve as a online brand building medium with a decent RoI.

“Last year, we built a stronger base of marketers and invested in internet advertising. In 2009, we should make revenues from our social media platform,” says Google India Managing Director Shailesh Rao. Google is banking on converting its vast network of Adwords advertisers to Orkut, where they can place targeted and contextual advisements on various social communities and user profiles, reaching individual customers directly.

orkut-ads

According to comScore data, in 2008, Google sites ranked as the top property in India, with nearly 20 million visitors. Orkut registered nearly 10 million visitors, marking a growth of 39 per cent. Orkut Apps, the blog that has become popular for software developers to market their social applications, has also opened new revenue streams for Google. An estimated 45 million internet subscribers drove the online advertising mark
et to Rs 240 crore in 2008, and according to Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) estimates, it could touch Rs 2,500 crore by 2011. But a harsher financial outlook in 2009, combined with an expected fall in online advertising, is forcing the networks to focus more on making money from existing subscribers than on adding new users.
The only catch is the belief that a user on social networks is browsing to keep himself updated with his network of friends and to interact with them. Thus he is immune to ads. It is now Google, with its formidable access to users and adv
ertisers and customized solutions, which is going to test the axiom of “immunity to ads on social networks”. Whether it can extend the success of its ad sense and ad words is what we will see happening through this year.

Nokia – Skype: Jinxed as partners?

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates, Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on March 2, 2009

skype-mobile-300x204The MWC (Mobile world Congress) was a spectacle this year as well (as every year!). The Mobile world had a sneak peek into New Technologies, new devices, new services and new partnerships happening around.

One of the most promising partnerships annpounced was that of Nokia and Skype.According to this partnerships, Nokia would integrate the Skype VoIP software with its N Series flagship N 97 on the S 60 platform for its consumers in Q3,2009. This would enable consumers to sync their phone address book with their Skype contacts and make calls over VoIP to them. A computer call would be free and users will pay Skype for voice calls to Cell phones or landlines. Skype as an application is free for download to cell phones. However it would require a 3G service or a Wi Fi zone to allow this service better.

This is a classic case of convergence media being offered to consumers (who now have a choice of making a call through their cellular operator as well as VoIP). Skype is the biggest beneficiary of this partnership as it piggy backs Nokia’s reach in geographies where the lap top will take some more time to estanblish itself. Thus Skype, Internet and VoIP will leap frog emergence of lap tops to tap into the VoIP technology. However there is an unexpected backlash from UK operators, O2 and Orange who obviously view this partnership and the technology ofered being disruptive in nature. The sources cited state that the partnership of Nokia and Skype would wrest away control of their consumers by offering easy access to an application that could hurt their call revenues.

To quote verbatim: Mobiletoday.co.uk’s source said to them that this was yet “another example of [Nokia] trying to build an ecosystem that is all about Nokia and reduces the operator to a dumb pipe…But if you spend upwards of £40 million per year building your brand, you don’t want to be just a dumb pipe do you?” The source added, “Nokia have tried several ways to own the customer over the years and operators have had to say no.”

The adjectives to describe the operator outrage are “furious” and “venting their anger” amongst others. Operators have also stated that they wouldnot stock up Nokia devices if Nokia doesnot strip the application. Thus we have an interesting situation out here, since Nokia wouldnot want to walk back on its MWC partnership with Skype for fear of a loss of face. However inability to do so, may jinx the N 97, a device where Nokia is betting a lot to fight back on the smartphone platform. It doesnot have a US carrier for N 97. Not having a UK carrier could be worse for them. It needs the operators to subsidize the N 97 for the smartphone users. We may see Nokia walking back on the Skype partnership after all, at the end of it. PS: One would remember Nokia’s earlier attempts at trying to have a eco system of consumers all for itself without sharing it with its eco systems partners. An earlier example was the Comes with Music service which it started short circuiting the operators (who also saw this as a competition to their own music stores).

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