We had earlier written about voice based blogging service by Airtel. Now Indiatimes has introduced a similar voice-based social networking and blogging platform, called ‘HiBuddy’ for Reliance mobile phone users.
Similar to internet- based social networking sites and blogs, HiBuddy will enable mobile phone users to create their own profile and network of friends, send voice messages and also record their voice posts or clippings, which can be shared with or accessed by other members. For this, users will be required to call a number (58888199) and follow the interactive voice response (IVR) system to create their profile, add friends and record voice clips. Whenever a user posts a new voice clip on his profile or blog, his HiBuddy friends will get an SMS update. (via)
Apart from social networking and voice blogging, the platform will offer dedicated voice content channels, which will be created by the company. Similar to video channels on video-sharing sites, the voice channels will be a storehouse of voice-clips related to different categories of content. For instance, HiBuddy will have a cookery-related channel, where mobile phone users can listen to voice-clips for different recipes. There will be channels related to jokes, cars and bikes and dating.
The website’s introductory note reads:
“Busy at work? Have time constraints? Can’t get access to Internet? Here comes a quick-fix solution-Hi Buddy! India’s first voice based social networking platform introduced by Indiatimes where you can meet and greet your friends and family.”
Well, first of all this is not India’s first ever voice based such service. At least for blogging, Bubble motion already had Bubbly existing in India.
Also this new social networking cum blogging service is chargeable – apart from the call charge of Rs. 1 per minute, there is also a subscription charge of Rs. 15 for 15 days. Though the service as of now is only for Reliance users but the short code for dialing used is of Indiatimes.
So, does this mean that HiBuddy will extend this offering to other mobile operators as well? Though it’s too early to comment on the business feasibility of mobile based social networking and blogging services but the trend seems to be definitely picking up fast in India – Airtel, Bubbly, Ibibo and now Indiatimes, seems like popularity of social networking and blogging on internet has given reasons to all these players to try riding on mobile penetration which anyways is much higher as compared to internet in India.
Like we said earlier, the attempt is obviously to maximize air waves (voice is a commodity these days) and monetize via premium service.
What’s your take on such services?