14 April 2008

Online Indian Men 2.0

This post by KrishAshok is hilarious on so many levels.

Startup Sundaramoorthy and Venture Venkatakrishnan meet up at Barista, Besant Nagar over some coffee. Actually make that Latte with carcinogenic artifical sweeteners. And they discuss some very disturbing Internet stats. The Indian Blogosphere is also overwhelmingly dominated by women. A look at any comment thread in the Indian Web will convince you of that.

Alarmed by statistics like 60% of Facebook and 55% of MySpace users being women, they wonder how they can reinvent / invest in Web 2.0 for Indian men. They break down the usage pattern of Indian men online.

After looking at stats, they decide to launch these Web 2.0 companies:


An exclusively male social platform where men can share, discuss and vote up ideas on how to restore male hegemony on the Indian blogosphere.

Mattr - beta

Flickr for Indian Men - I used to be a Flickr user, but now there are too many women there. They and their enhanced visual sensitivities, passing judgement on my weak reds, insubstantial beiges, poor shadows and anaemic contrast. Bah. I have always wanted an all-male Photosharing app where real men can post photos without all this critical commentary from women, where we can also privately share images of item girls we secretly love.


An exclusive social video site dedicated to videos/songs we cannot watch with the family.


A social platform, where rural machismo is on central display. I’m talking Kaavadi, extreme piercing, Jalli kattu and of course, walking on coals.


Online Indian Men 2.0

Great post Krish...as always!

Sadly, there is a lot of reality in KrishAshok's post. A very important lesson for Web 2.0 aspirants in India is:

  1. The Web 2.0 in India is way different than the Web 2.0 community elsewhere
  2. Indian users just want to hang out; they are not interested to express themselves or create content

There is not even a single online forum or digg-like blog. I think some Indian company even tried and failed. Even if it was successful, I highly doubt there will be any useful information sharing. If you look at the Rediff forum discussions, you will never go back to that site. I'm also positive that most guys stalk gals on Orkut and leave "can I be your friend?" messages.

Writes one frustrated blogger about the Orkut testimonials

She is a good girl. Absolutely fantastic. If you haven't met her you don't know what you are missing" insists one testimonial writer on a orkut profile. As a reader - I am not sure how to react to these testimonials. They make me feel like a customer. I like what I am seeing.

But what confuses me more is that these Shailaja's of the world have allowed these testimonials to do a fantastic marketing pitch for her but she wont let boys have 'fraanship' with her. In the 'about me' column she writes 'please dont request friendship from me if you dont know me' (this is really really common in most girl's profiles).

And the boys in orkut. Boys in general. I mean God had a wicked sense of humor when he created such a sex starved species such as the male homosapien. I guess most men in orkut are walking hard-on's. Most men enter orkut , browsing through profiles, internet, skype directory thinking " i need to get laid. will she work".

Plugdd.in writes on why Indians flock to social networks and do nothing

The 53% who want to make friends are obviously part of the desperate-for-dating gang members, but the rest of the stat is important for one reason:

To understand What is it that Indians do not use a social network for?
The answer, as I understand is “Hanging out”..

Unlike the US kids who spend a good amount of time on myspace hanging around and “expressing themselves”, Indians aren’t the usual hangout (or ‘cool’?) kind, and instead use socionet for a defined purpose.

Now, this obviously goes against several socionet startups’ mantra (who want Indians to express themselves by uploading cool pics/videos and more..) and a clear reason why few of them have folded (like jhoom.in) and others are almost on the verge of dying.

I don't want to imply that building an online community is impossible. I don't see enough websites that facilitate fun and content generating ideas. Almost all of them seem to be ripping off crappy MySpace. I haven't seen a original, content generating site...yet.

That's the state of India Web 2.0. If anyone is dreaming to build an online community, build content, get a lot of traffic, monetize it and be a successful company, it's really hard. Good Luck with that.

1 comment:

Gargoyle said...

I've often felt that the problem lies with just sticking an Indian skin on what is essentially an American concept. For an completely Indian networking site to work, I feel the online version would need to mirror real-life social dynamics. I don't have an answer really - I've got as far as recognising that it works differently at a fundamental level, but haven't worked out what the magic thing is.