India's first & largest social network exclusively for bloggers, with a base of over 25,000 members – that’s IndiBlogger. Entrepreneur & Founder of IndiBlogger, Vineet Rajan, tells all about it to Swati Maheshwari, exclusively for YourStory.inTell us about Indiblogger in detail.
IndiBlogger is an initiative that was launched on August 15th 2007, and now has a base of over 27,000 bloggers from all across India, making it the largest and the first social network exclusively for Indian bloggers. It is the only community engagement platform that allows brands to actively engage with bloggers; via contests, blogger meets and specifically designed marketing campaigns and platforms.
There are other blogger directories in India. What sets you apart?
While other blog directories continue to remain directories; IndiBlogger evolved into an engagement platform where bloggers are empowered to use the platform to gain readers and at the same time help brands leverage it much the same way they are using Facebook and other networks. The robustness and social networking capabilities of IndiBlogger has ensured that brands like Samsung, Pepsi, Dove, Cleartrip, Tata DOCOMO have partnered with IndiBlogger to run successful blogger engagement campaigns. Simply put, we’re not just a directory but an engagement platform.
What instigated you to start Indiblogger?
We started off trying to just create a directory; that allowed bloggers to submit their blogs for a link back. Over the years we added more features based on what the community demanded on the IndiBlogger discussion forums. Soon we built IndiVine, chat applications, IndiRank – the only ranking algorithm for bloggers in India; and made it into a solid social network exclusively for Indian bloggers. In many ways, it’s like LinkedIn for bloggers with an exclusive dashboard, activity feeds, lets them track other bloggers’ posts and much more.
How do you make money?
We make money by leveraging blogging as an effective communication strategy among online community influencers, thus helping everyone including brands to reach their target audience through bloggers.
How many registered bloggers do you have on Indiblogger?
We have crossed 27, 000 registered bloggers. All Indians are eligible to register; and the moderation is done manually by two community engagement managers. We check for plagiarism, porn etc. before approving any blog. Over the years, we have rejected many more blogs than those approved, for not adhering to set standards.
How many hits do you receive on the website every day?
We don’t consider hits on the website as a benchmark. Since we are a social network, what’s more relevant is the number of logins in a day; which is around 5000 on an average.
Tell us about the team at Indiblogger – How big is it? Are you looking at hiring?
The team comprises of four directors. Renie Ravin, who is the Web Architect and MD; Anoop Johnson who heads Marketing, Karthik DR who heads Business Development and I head Strategy. Apart from us, there are 10 other members who are primarily into creative design, product development, event management and community management. We would be looking at hiring in the next few months for product development. We would be needing programmers in PHP, MySQL and other open source technologies.
Tell us about your background.
All of us were in well settled and good paying jobs before we took the leap. Renie was the first to quit after having worked with many web development companies in the past and had also started his first web development company back when he was 16. Anoop Johnson started his career as an engineer in Ostfold Software and moved up the ranks to become a Manager. Karthik too started work with IT companies like IBM before IndiBlogger. I am a computer science engineer with an MBA in Marketing from Symbiosis. I worked with HP for a while; and decided to take the leap too. Interestingly, we all connected with each other through blogs!
How do you see the digital media space growing?
Surely, the digital media space is growing by leaps and bounds. The size of the industry at the moment is around 1400 Crores and expected to grow to around 2500 Cr by 2013. So, we are surely in the right industry.
In the online media space, blogging is yet to be harnessed fully; because it’s a maze to many; and doesn’t have too many evangelists like for other social platforms. But that’s exactly the gap we are bridging; and our strength is personal selling and creating a huge pool of ambassadors for IndiBlogger. Our growth over the last 4 years has been purely by word of mouth and we haven’t spent a penny on advertising or any sponsorship.
In terms of growth; we look at growth in terms of the size of the community and size of business. The community has been growing at close to around 80% YoY; which is phenomenal compared to markets like US and Europe. Our year on year revenue growth since 2009 has been 300% and we are expecting better results this year.
Tell us about your offline initiatives.
IndiBlogger’s growth started with offline events – blogger meets. When we launched in 2007; we had a series of 9 blogger meets with Microsoft as the principal partner which paved way for us to make great inroads.
Since then blogger meets have figured as the primary offline initiative; and have grown to a stage where IndiBlogger meets rival the biggest blogger meets worldwide. Typically, we have around to 250-300 bloggers at each event. Each blogger meet is a brand specific event; where we drive engagement and buzz around a product or brand; like the one for Samsung, to be held in Bangalore.
Other offline initiatives include getting bloggers better acquainted with a brand’s initiatives such as for Dell or for Akshaya Patra, where bloggers visited a school to shoot a video to share their story with others.
What are your expansion plans?
We don’t wish to diversify into other aspects of online media but at the same time, we want to continue with our market penetration and product development strategy. Soon, we will be launching newer products which will make IndiBlogger a house hold name. But the entire product development and penetration would happen around blogging aimed at building better eco-systems for better brand-blogger engagement.
Do check out their website for more details www.indiblogger.in