Understanding Web18’s Portal Consolidation Strategy (under In.com Brand)

Web18 started consolidating it’s portals sometime back and except moneycontrol, most of it’s portals have been moved under the domain, in.com.

Let’s try to understand the rationale behind this consolidation:

The Traffic

web18 total visitors stats

In.com, thanks to all the aggressive marketing campaigns (plus some other means) seems to beat Web18’s most-trafficked site and the cashcow, moneycontrol.

Apart from the total number of visits,In.com seems to attract more user engagement than any other portal:

web18 total PV stats

The challenges of ‘Too many’

How many brands/products can web18 create? What about the cost involved in marketing all of these properties?

After a while, what’s really important is user-centric features and not a long list of products (Google realized it long time back and Larry said ‘Features, not Products‘)

And consolidating all of them under a brand umbrella is where it makes sense – and only in.com can potentially be that umbrella (rest of the portals have a strong vertical focus) – you will notice that except moneycontrol, all other portals are now being redirected as sub-domain of in.com (301 redirection, so that they don’t lose any search engine juice).

Monetization?

The bigger challenge, in my opinion is monetization – majority of web18 properties’ (to be specific in.com, tech2, moneycontrol etc) ad inventory is still being monetized via Google adsense – something which just doesn’t make sense, owing to the rev share arrangements between Google and the portals (and that shows up in their revenues as well).

Essentially, they were leaving money on the table – and that’s why the investment (via capital18, Network18’s venture arm) in the newly launched ad network, Networkplay – so, do expect a synergy (and deep partnership) there.

Moreover, you need to consolidate salesforce in the times when advertisers are trimming their budgets – otherwise its damn difficult to sell sites having lesser traffic (like josh18/storeguru etc).

Now that In.com has redirected most of the portals, we do expect some sort of personalization in the portal – a sort of my.yahoo/iGoogle feature that can give a glimpse of content across all the sites?

What’s your take on in.com’s strategy?

Recommended Read: The Secret Behind In.com’s Traffic

Also, Network18 has shelved its IPO plans and is planning to raise Rs 2 billion upwards through private placement.

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