Unhappy with a product or service? Want to rant against the brand?
Now you can ShoutOut!
“The consumer right laws in India are not implemented well and going to a consumer court for small issues is really cumbersome,” said Avinash, co-founder, ShoutOut. ShoutOut hopes to address this pain point.
ShoutOut is based out of Bangalore and was bootstrapped by Avinash MB and Santosh AR. “We were experimenting with several internet ideas during our free time. Both of us fell in love with this idea as we could contribute back to the society by enabling consumers to fight big brands,” said Avinash. They started working on the site in September 2011 and the site was launched on 1st February, 2012.
Speaking about what differentiates ShoutOut from other user generated content websites or platforms, Avinash pointed out, “The problem with most user generated content websites like review websites, etc is that one can never trust the content written on them as it is easy to manipulate the data. We decided that we should build a trustable brand which would ensure that only screened content is available.” All content on the site will be checked by a moderator to ensure that the information presented is genuine.
This will not only add trust to the ShoutOut brand, but also make brands sit up and take notice of the platform and respond to complaints.
Avinash used to write a blog called smellthecheeseblog.com, where he shared stock tips on a PIYP (pay if you profit) model. This was the time when he realized the potential of internet. He currently works for a telecom MNC in Bangalore. Santosh is also a telecom professional and has 12 years of experience in the industry. He has a MBA degree from IIM (Bangalore).
A study conducted by the ShoutOut duo reveals that there is enough demand for such a service to exist. “We see that there is potential to get around 300-400 complaints per day and this assessment is based on existing products which are not addressing the problem in the right way, so we surely have bigger potential,” mentions Avinash. He also said that it is difficult to determine the size of market in case of a project like ShoutOut, because they are marketing a concept.
They have not yet defined their revenue model. Online ads are one monetization channel they have thought of and the others will be decided once operations are in full flow. Their vision for ShoutOut is for it to be the preferred destination to make product decisions based on complaints posted on the platform.
Currently they are looking for funding from like-minded angel investors and VCs, which will enable them to market this concept in a big way. They also plan to enhance the website to the next version.
“The experience of starting up has been fun as we spent several weekends trying to determine what our product should finally offer,” said Avinash. Discussions with the UI designer were challenging and so were finding the right developers, within their budget.
Creating India’s first scrollable webcomic featuring Rajini as a mascot was a fun experience for the ShoutOut duo. They wanted people to talk about the site and concept and using a unique promotional method seemed the right thing to do. “The conceptualization of the Rajini comic was interesting as both of us are not from a creative background. After several round of discussions we finally narrowed on a concept which we thought would work and then went about finding the right talent to execute a world class promo,” said Avinash.
We at YourStory think ShoutOut is a startup to watch out for.