Recently we had reported that Google has decided to shut down Google Buzz and its micro blogging product Jaiku. The social networking space is indeed lucrative, but at present is extremely crowded. Besides the top performers, the others have very little stake in the social networking pie. Google seems to have understood this and decided in favor of an uncluttered approach. Rediff has decided to go the other way.
Rediff has launched Zarabol, which is almost identical to Twitter in feel and functionality. You can share 140 character (maximum) messages and follow other users of Zarabol. This twitter-like product also allows the users to follow topics or #hashtags. Zarabol also has a retweet feature called Sab Ko Bol. One of the features which is different from Twitter is that Zarabol allows users to follow ‘buzzing’ (read ‘trending) topics. Another distinguishing feature is that conversations are presented as threads.
Why Rediff decided to launch Zarabol at this juncture is not clear. To begin with Rediff has hardly any presence in the social networking/media space. It is more like the Indian Yahoo. They have been underperforming for sometime now, but off late the traffic on the site has again picked up. Over the last twelve months UV’s (unique visitors) to Rediff.com has been steadily increasing. It would seem more prudent at this point to concentrate providing better content on their primary site.
This is not the Rediff’s first foray into microblogging territory. In 2008 they acquired Vakow.com, which was also similar to Twitter but on the mobile platform. That move did not work out and Rediff decided to move on. The reason cited by Rediff was that the product was interesting but the market was not conducive to it. Three years later Rediff has again entered the social space with a similar product. In the meantime Twitter has grown in stature in India. Indian users are the third largest bunch on Facebook. Google+ is steadily growing as well. So the question is why would users, who are already saturated with social networking, start using Zarabol and further complicate their lives?
It is evident that Rediff badly wants a successful social product in their portfolio. They launched a daily deals site, Deal Ho Jaye, recently, but have failed to capture the user’s attention. Plus no revenue is yet being generated. The daily deals/e-commerce domain is crowded as well and any new entrant needs to have a distinct USP to be successful. The same goes for the social networking domain. Zarabol would have been a great product if it was launched a couple of years earlier, but in the present scenario there is hardly any space for it.
Will you sign up for Zarabol? Do you think it can become a part of your daily social experience?