Pricesbolo – the indian price comparison website

With online shopping all set to take off in India and players getting prepped for it , a site like pricesbolo was no brainer…. but the site has one unique advantage over its colleagues and that is the fact that it reflects prices from offline merchants as well and does not aggregate prices from online stores only…

The services are currently offered in 2 cities i.e Chennai and Bangalore and has been launched by emmosys technologies private ltd. I am very curious to try out the services but unfortunately with Delhi not on the list yet , i have no choice but to wait.

Videos may Cripple the Internet

Times of India had an interesting article today , which stirred up some memories of past debates, on how Video will kill the Internet…or to be more practical clog it like hell. In practicality its not restricted to Videos only and other contributors would include images, online gaming etc as well.

The article claims that last year a “google owned video site” (No guesses here) consumed as much bandwidth as the Internet in total did in the year 2000. Nemeretes Research predicts a bandwidth squeeze by the year 2011, the overall demand will outpace supply growth. This will result is a slow download speeds etc which will eventually affect the overall usability and enjoyment of certain services on the net.

But others state that technology is also growing at a fast space and becoming more and more efficient in the dissemination of data and would eventually match the digital traffic growth rate.

Google Acquires Doubleclick

Google has agreed to cough up close to 3.1 Billion USD to acquire Doubleclick , one of the which is heavily into display, video and banners ad’s.

The move is clearly an attempt by google to move into the promising display advertising arena and simultaneously create obstacles for Microsoft entering into online search. The merger of these 2 giants will undoubtedly provide humongous servings of inventory to advertisers across the globe.

Internet Connectivity in India worst in the world.

The theory that India suffered from the worst quality bandwidth, both in terms of speed, response and reliability was always more of a ‘unofficial fact’. A recent report released by Internettrafficreport.com has brought into light figures which now make it pretty official.

The site reports that overall Indian has an index of 74 with a response time of 253 milliseconds – which pretty much puts us in the backseat as far as this issue is concerned. Comparable countries like the USA has an index value of 98 and a response time of just 13 milliseconds. The higher the index the better , the lower the response time the better.

The hindubusinesline suggests that the reason for this is that despite having some of the best services, it is artificial choking and high prices that are to blame. Artificial cap restrict the availability and higher prices restrict smaller ISP’s from being able to buy the necessary bandwidth required to service their connections and thus eventually leads to a customer satisfaction nightmare.

Operator’s on the other had disagree and state that there is enough capacity and it is on a rise whereas prices are determined by ‘free market’ dynamics.

Irrespective of who is to blame or where the issue lies, it is vital for all concerned to improve the quality , reliability and overall customer satisfaction drastically. With Indian poised to be one of (if not the) largest Internet consumer with respect to connections, issues such as these hit deep and hard into slowing the overall growth of the industry with additional affects on the online advertising industry in India as well.  Unless we are able to reach a critical mass which results in a bulk of the large spenders moving online, or having online budgetary components the growth in internet advertising spends remains restricted as well.

My other thought on the matter is – If operators state supply to be more than demand in India, then why the hell am i still downloading at 10KBps on a 256kbps connection ?

Expedia In India

The US based online travel company Expedia is finally in India with expedia.co.in. The company had recorded a turnover of close to 20 Billion dollars last year and are operating in 17 countries.

The online travel  industry here is estimated to be a 2 billion USD plus in2007 – 2008 and Expedia’s entry , other than strategic, also holds and add’s support to the projections.

The site will offer access to over 75000 hotels and resorts and 3000 destination activities.  worldwide. I am eagerly looking forward to how some of the other established players will react now.

The ebay boycott story

Many of us in India might be unaware of the turmoil which developed and played out in ebay during the course of the last 2 weeks. Being someone who has been with ebay since its Bazee days and used the site on numerous occasions for both selling and purchasing I tend to follow anything ‘ebay’.

In a nutshell, powerseller’s asked for a week long boycott on listings post ebay announcing major policy amendments, which were:-

Fees: While front – end costs have come down, ebay is increasing cost in the backend which would have higher final value fees as a consequence and thus lesser margins for the sellers.

      Feedback: Sellers are not allowed to leave negative feedback on buyers. This change has possibly aroused the most passions and is clearly skewed to protect buyers and raises the chances of sellers being ‘exploited’ by fraudulent and non-serious buyers. Having had experience on both ends I know for a fact that there are as many bad buyers and there are sellers and fail to see the “functionality’ aspect of this policy and tend to agree with the powerseller’s that it is preferential in nature.

      While going through the FAQ I noticed what may appear to be ebay’s , irrational , logic behind this. They wrote “buyers will be more honest when they are not afraid of receiving retaliatory negative feedback”….which is in my opinion total BS….. Combine this with the change in the algorithm and buyers have the power to essentially bury a seller from results by giving negative results…and at the same time get away with not adhering to the buyer-seller policies laid down.

      Search / Ranking feature: Possibly the most lease publicized change is to the “best match” feature. Starting next month the logic will prefer sellers with high and detailed customer ranking ratings while essentially burying listings of sellers with lower volumes.

       

        The impact on India is slightly less, and given the small brand value and volumes it commands as compared to the US, UK the uproar, if any, went unheard. As per the site announcement section the changes that are going to hit us are 2 & 3 of the points listed above.

        The feedback change has been clearly announced, and the change to the ‘best match’ feature will be universal of course. There is no mention of the listings costs as such except that Indian sellers listing in the international markets might come under the preview of the new fees structures. All that the site states is ‘.will get same pricing benefits’

        What was the impact of the boycott however? Spokesmen from ebay have downplayed the entire week long boycott stating that there were next to no repercussions because of other than a drop in listings (which ebay claims was made up by the surge they saw post that). I however read an interesting calculative article here which suggests the following

        On a conservative drop of 2 million listings, with each listing lowest fee being 20 cents the total loss just from this drop comes out to be 400,000 USD , on the conservative side. If one takes a more realistic look at the insertion prices i.e which are as high as 4.80 and takes a more realistic average of 1.20 USD per listings….the total losses are 2.4 Million USD a day. This does not additionally include extras such as stores, or fees etc.

        Stating that a surge in listings to 16 million does not help. Ebay had to undertake 2 promotions to get those volumes back into the system. One of these was a 20 cent day listing… this translates into ebay effectively loosing upto 4.80 per listing. The overall impact thus is substantial….

        What is also important to consider is that the boycott was largely unorganized and thus lacking “efficiency” …but the support and the bonding between the community is clear to see and can serious pose to be a big risk to ebay the next time it happens, because it would involve more people and be more organized as well.

         

         

         

        Google adds additional Search Box within Results

        I think google’s been testing out a new application over the last couple of days. I was on google and searched for amazon at s0me point and the results page had an additional search box to be able to search within amazon straight (See image below). I tried it out with a couple of other searches as well but did not see it again. Pretty cool though.

        searchbox.jpg