Trying to make space for another social network, a 'decent' one this time - The Decent Planet story
Entrepreneurship starts with a solution to a pain-point, which is common to many people. One evening while having dinner in a roadside food joint Piyush Grover and Piyush Pandey were discussing the obscenity and impersonation rampant on social networking platforms. The discussion continued till wee hours, and by that time, the duo had concurred to launch an obscenity-free platform, The Descent Planet, where individuals network and interact with like-minded folks. Anyone who wishes to be a part of The Decent Planet, needs to fill the signup form which has some basic questions, post which the platform approves applicant for its usage. While studying the user's form, The Decent Planet tries to gauge the thought process and the applicant's interest level. Later, the platform checks their online presence to see if there's any tendency or history of indecency.
Sharing his motivation behind the venture, Piyush Grover, co-founder, The Decent Planet said “We experienced a lot of indecency within the social networking space. Having realised the seriousness of this problem, and how (in a broader sense) it impedes the flow of intellectually stimulating discussions, and the fact that we couldn’t find a solution anywhere, we thought of coming up with a solution.”
In terms of traction, the startup got a few hundred applications sans any marketing effort so far, out of which 50 percent signups have been approved. The Decent Planet predominantly has a proactive approach of not letting potential trouble-makers to pass through the entry barrier; it claims that, as of now, none of the social networking platforms uses this approach, giving a free-run to trolls, spammers and obscenity lovers.
“Decent environment is extremely conducive for thought-provoking and intellectually stimulating discussions, mature/rational arguments. And yes, none of this takes away any of the fun elements of the website,” added Grover. The Decent Planet aspires to build a culture of decency, initially by applying a manual filtration process, which will eventually run in parallel to core users acting as recruiters, and finally more automation merging with the existing setup.
The Decent Planet aspires of getting 1 million users in next 15 months. This will include concepts like 'Decency Quotient', Reference/by pass code. In future, The Decent Planet intends to integrate 'Gravity' which will be a clean, non-intrusive, curated dating application which will take into account Decency Quotient while addressing the problem of approaching the potential 'SO' (significant other). Besides this, the startup plans to bring in an online debate platform, third party apps, social gaming, astronomy themed design, 'The Best Of The Internet' and a mobile app. On competition front, to some extent the startup competes with global players such as Badoo, Fropper and Stepout.
Given that decency has been a matter of concern for various people when it comes to social networking space, a rather ambitious effort, it'll be interesting to see if the network is able to gain a critical traction. However, the social networking space is highly competitive following the might of giants like Facebook and Google. Meanwhile, over the past one year, despite of crowded space, Indian entrepreneurs have been bullish on launching social networking platforms targeting different set of interests. For instance Zumbl - which allows its users to have chatting, tagging and sharing with no profanity while Mumbai based Imlee helps you discover everything about your family.
If we look at attempts made by Indian startups in social networking space, most of them have failed to gain significant traction. Reliance-backed social networking and blogging platform Bigadda was forced to shut down in 2011 following weak adoption. Ibibo which stands for iBuild, iBond, started as an Indian social networking site in 2007, later in 2009 it pivoted to a full-scale ecommerce organization.
What are your thoughts about future and adoption of newly-launched social networking sites?