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Media Monday: Bharatstudent.com on for Sale- Is Indian internet media helpless?

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This was kind of “shocking” to me. With Alexa rating of around 500 and Indian rating in top 50 how can a website can’t generate enough money to survive on its own?

Last week Northgate technologies informed that it will be selling off two of its major commodities (bharatstudent and ziddu). Northgate registered a net loss of Rs. 170 Million in last quarter as against a profit of Rs. 225 Million for the same quarter last year.

Bharatstudent

This brings us to the same clich̩d question РWhat would happen to tens of social networking websites having both traffic and unique visitors but no real revenue model?

It’s apparent that these websites (Indian copies of Orkut and Facebook) relied on the fact that traffic is the only thing required to run any website, money will follow!

But they forgot the fact that Orkut is backed by Google and Facebook has 300 million users worldwide as against a mere 1-2 million (Indian) users which these Indian Social networks boast of !

Moreover, this a fact that real internet buyers still exist in far west, and targeting an India centric social network and hoping that they would buy your ads later is a real waste of time.

The sad story about Rediff reflects the same – It’s more than 10 years in operation for NASDAQ listed Rediff and it can hardly make any money. It’s a joke that Rediff has achieved an enterprise value of $42 million in 2009- Read this great post to understand more.

apna circle

Coming back to bharatstudent’s story, there are other social networks (professional networks, Indian social networks, etc etc) who have failed- minglebox.com, techtribe.com, apnacircle.com (surely would have been busted much earlier if Sabeer Bhatia wasn’t a millionaire) etc.

MIngle Box

Believe it or not, big media houses just haven’t got a hand of Indian Internet scenario as yet – When it comes to product development they say that Indian market is different from US and hence they are creating an India centric product, but when it comes to generating money they tend to believe that consumers across the world pay similarly.

What a joke !

Would be interesting to know your views on this…

[This Media Monday digest has been written by Rabi Gupta, a start up enthusiast and co-founder of iDubba (Intelligent Box).]

  1. MoneyMint.in says

    According to the company’s annual report there are 3 potential buyers for bharatstudent.com and ziddu. This article details about it.

  2. Pooja Gupta says

    Hi Rabi,

    Nice article.
    Just one question. It would be interesting to know that what price (or probably a price range) can such Indian websites command when they are put up for sale.

    Probably this is what the were looking out for in the first place – make a site, make it decently popular and then exit from the venture by selling it.

    Do let me know if you have any idea about the price range.

  3. vithal says

    Its always better to sell portals when they are HOT!

  4. Divyang says

    Look at it this way.
    We are at least 15 years back then the west’s web usage.
    But these 15 years will be covered in next 5 years under the influence of west on Indian janta. So start packing your bags. Ride gonna go crazy.

  5. Rahul says

    Dear Rabi,

    If you look at the comments on the article you referred you will see yourself what i am referring to, Again the content there is provided by Contentsutra without facts. Sure no one is denying Sabeer part funded this venture but we are not giving the credit to other people who might have funded this venture more Yogesh Bansal, Times of India….
    The news is around that Yogesh Bansal initiative closed the deal with Viadeo and this is the first indian networking site who went global. We know that the team is busy integrating the site with the global platform. May be the time will tell.

    1. rabi gupta says

      Hi Rahul,
      In this case I think you have some good info reg apnacircle’s internal position and I can’t argue that. Thanks for sharing this. I was just going by what I presumed, but good that you contradicted me with some facts :)!

  6. shardul mohite says

    I am not surprised to see that BharatStudent not doing well. Bharatstudent has been buying ads to sell ads. It is very obvious that this was going to happen one day.

    1. rabi gupta says

      Hey,
      this is really some interesting info :)

      1. shardul mohite says

        Just to clarify more on my statement,
        BharatStudent was generating traffic through online advertising. We have also seen that the sites they are advertising are also not usual site. They have been spending huge amount of money to buy ad-space on these sites (Even though rates are cheap there) !

        1. Bhavesh says

          Yes I am Agree with you Mohite

          BharatStudent’s traffic is not genuine, Most of visits coming from popups and ads. And i think Axill is also sister company of BharatStudent. Most ads runing on Axill is BharatStuden. BharatStudent also buy large space on Clicksor.

          I believe strongly that no site can earn by ads from ads.

  7. Rahul says

    Dear Rabi

    It is surprising to see bharatstudent go for sale, but I disagree on ApnaCircle.com this site is very much live thanks to his founder Yogesh Bansal who not only putting his own money working without taking any money, is merged with Viadeo.com and tianji.com they recently acquired unyk also. The global company is cash flow positive, what i understand is that Yogesh Bansal who has excellent relationship with times of India, this treaty helped apnacircle alot. It is also said that sabeer did not put much so not sure where you got these facts.

    1. rabi gupta says

      Hi Rahul,
      That’s really a good info. See the point here is apnacircle may be cash flow positive, but since its inception it hasn’t done very well in the market. That’s why it was first Times group which bought some 20-30% stakes in the year 2008 and this year during Feb Viadeo acquired apnacircle. When I read this piece of news (http://contentsutra.com/article/419-french-biz-networking-site-viadeo-acquires-indian-video-site-apnacircle/) it was apparent that website hasn’t done well and it was definitely funded by Sabeer Bhatia.

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