A new social networking site – Bigadda (www.bigadda.com) – has been getting rave reviews in the Indian media. Claims like 15 members signing up every minute to the site hoping to attract 10 million users by 2010 are doing the round.
Intrigued, I decided to check it out and see for myself what the buzz what all about. So here goes.
The login page is quite fancy, with rich colors and images of seemingly cool people. Layout is easy on the eye. Every time you refresh or open the page subsequent time, different colors show up. Whoever designed it did a pretty good job.
But I am afraid thats about it.
Once you navigate inside, within no time you realize Bigadda has a long way to go and a lot of catching up to do. Site is still in Beta but hitting the members with Ads from Google Adsense. Considering the project is backed by Reliance, one would imagine them with deep pockets for initial seed capital. On the contrary, ROI is made to look like a day one concern.
Hoping to catch the latest of what was going on in the social networking circles, I ran a Search. I was not prepared for the results I got.
Lets go back a bit. What I like about Orkut are the Communities with lots of interesting discussions between members from various parts of the world. You can crash in and get started in no time, often times arguing till the cows come home. Looking to see if Bigadda had a similar feature, I queried for ‘Delhi University’. The first hit had something to do with Abhishek Bachan’s fan club. Scrolling down a bit, I spotted the result commensurate with my search term. But now we had another problem. It had just one member. Never mind that. They are still new. It would take some time for new members to join and for the site to subsequently pick up steam.
Trying to figure out the kind of demographic profile site had, next I pulled in the site members. Result showed 40 pages, quite impressive, but a cursory scan of the member pics showed that color shift was taking place. Creating a sort of blurry image. Perhaps they still need to fine tune what ever image storage and display technology that is being used on the site.
Other notable features mentioned in the, by now pretty clear, “sponsored” news report were like reading and posting etc through cell phones.
A better business plan would have been to make it invite-only initially, gauging the user feedback and incorporating some it which made good sense. Finally they could have thrown open the gates to all users. This approach was adopted by Orkut and Facebook successfully.
At present Orkut is the number one social networking site in India. After Brazil and US, India has the highest number of registered users of Orkut in the world. For Bigadda to try and unsettle that or even pose a serious competition would be an enormous challenge requiring some creative innovation.
All said and done, I wouldn’t yet junk Bigadda into the web2.0 deadpool so lets wait and see if the site is ready to fight the battle head on.