Web18 to shutdown In.com and Other Properties? [Updated]

Update (Jan 9, 2014): In.com has moved it’s tech portal, Tech2.in.com to Firstpost. Tech2 was among the highest revenue earning play for In.com.

Originally published on Sep 9, 2013: The Internet arm of Network18, Web18 is reportedly shutting down In.com and several properties.

“.. employees were handed over three months’ severance package and asked not to report for duty from 26th August. The web properties that are likely to be shut down includes, in.com and CommoditiesControl.com while others will be kept alive nominally. Moneycontrol.com, the flagship property will be run by a handful of staff [Via].

In.com Lose the Heat
In.com Lose the Heat

As per other reports, around 300 people were handed pink slips.

The mass terminations were supposedly decided in a Macau offsite earlier this year where Managing Director Raghav Bahl had told his marketing team that they do not need any specialist journalists. [Via]

Read : Future of News : Print Down, Digital Up | Indian Print Media’s Innovation Dilemma: Digital Natives Are Coming

In.Com : A Scraper’s Journey?

The domain was bought for close to a $1mn and in the initial days, In.com gained a lot of traffic from the .in (especially government ) websites (read : The Secret Behind In.com Traffic). The company spent a huge amount of money to promote ‘world’s smallest @email id’, but then the campaign bombed because the world had already moved on to Gmail.

Important to mention that In.com launch was one of the well-orchestrated GTM execution in digital space during that time (made it to our top launches). And then, the content scraping took over. At one point, the company was even showing Bing search results in its pages that were getting indexed in Google! But then, Google released Panda update and the drop in traffic shows up on In.com’s (search) traffic.

in.com search traffic
in.com search traffic

In.com : Distribution of Traffic

Take a look below (via: Alexa) and you’d wonder whether In.com is all about two properties? IBNLive and Tech2 drive 60% traffic to the site, while the homepage gets ~20% of the traffic.

If you are an umbrella brand, this is a worrisome data. For the uninitiated, In.com wanted to do a Yahoo (whose homepage was one the most visited page on the web) – i.e. have the most trafficked homepage and have plenty of sub-brands (MTV/Colors etc) beneath the umbrella brand.

Subdomain Percent of Visitors
ibnlive.in.com 51.24%
in.com 20.98%
tech2.in.com 10.16%
mtv.in.com 8.71%
compareindia.in.com 6.41%
colors.in.com 3.22%
mail.in.com 2.55%
hindi.in.com 1.47%
burrp.in.com 0.72%
sim.in.com 0.38%
biggbossbangla.in.com 0.26%
biztech2.in.com 0.17%
godigital.in.com 0.12%
secure.in.com 0.11%
youngturks.in.com 0.07%

For In.com, maybe it’s a case of the sum being lesser than the parts, as some of the individual brands (like IBNlive/Tech2) probably stand a better chance if they stay independent (like MoneyControl).

The parent company, Network 18 reported a loss of INR 6.8 crores in June 2013 quarter and the layoffs are a part of cost control mechanism.

Time for media empires to rethink journalism? Is content industry learning from this?

Aside, we are hiring!