[Guest post by Raja Shekhar – he has some interesting suggestions/ideas to Indian Internet companies]
For the past many years, I had some ideas regarding how to utilize e-mail service and offer various other services effectively. As I have weakness with my writing, I never put it down until last year. I wrote the following e-mail (November, 2007) to all top brass of Rediff.
I just would like to share few thoughts on Rediff’s offerings to make it more competitive over other players like Google, Yahoo, Facebook etc. The goal of any Internet company is make the users addicted to its services. Counting over 50 Million users, Rediff has great strategic advantage over its competitors having a specialized focus for Indian Internet users. Straight to the point, my observations are below:
- Rediff should design a service similar to iGoogle where in, logged-in user would have all the offerings as widgets. This page should incorporate Web 2.0 features such as the following.
- All widgets are available to the user on a single page(or multi-tabbed screens) and moreover he would have control over placing/ordering of those widgets.
- When a user clicks on a widget for maximizing it, then the widget turns into a full-screened service (similar look of current offering). However on a specific corner, he would see more IMPORTANT STUFF of other services (I would explain this in the following notes).
- By default, when a user logs into a particular service,say email, he would see the maximized screen of that particular widget (in the example scenario, it is email).
- Each user would have a public profile and a private profile (this categorization can be increased to 3 or more, however let us stick to two types of profiles for the sake of explanation).
- Public profile of an user contains all the widgets containing the services those he would like to share. This could be his personal photos, personal videos, Blogs, personal notes etc. Also remember, this includes the favorite stuff such as photos, videos, bookmarks, blogs etc all those but of others (content).
- Common Private profile contains the stuff which the user would like to share exclusively with his personal friends.
- Public profile content across all the services is searchable.
- In any service, user has options to share with others. For example, while watching a video (ishare) he may would like to inform his friends as the video content is good and this should be through a “note from friend”.
- Also each widget can be customized by the user about its position/placing or other settings such as shared/unshared with a specific user.
- On the usual e-mail screen, when the user moves the cursor over any email id (or on right click menu) he would be able to get many social network options such as “Add as my friend to profile, Scrap him, See his profile etc”.
- “Important stuff” which appear when the screen is maximized to a specific service are basically from the other services are: Scraps, Birthday Reminders, Updates on Friends private profiles, etc. “Notes from friends” could also be included here. This is the minimal line of the total widgets page. Also these notes includes, chat applet and this could be a default option unless the user opts it out for a period.
- Subscription to a particular service is by adding a widget. This procedure of addition is similar to iGoogle/Google Desktop gadgets.
- Ads do appear in a particular fixed location of the screen.
- When Rediff goes mobile, you can place the widgets as a linear list. The goal of this is make all your services are interlinked with each other and the best, you would have at least 60 million user base for each of your offering. I believe that Google is having similar plans in mind in launching iGoogle. I came across a news that even yahoo has similar plans in this direction. However, specialized focus on Indian content would make Rediff to compete with global majors.
Surprisingly there was no reply from anyone of the top management at Rediff.
Do you agree with Raja’s suggestions?