The Potential In Blogging
March 9, 2013 9 Comments
Ever since I attended the HP Connected Music IndiBlogger meet,I have been on the look out to know more about IndiBlogger and here’s what I’ve found:
IndiBlogger.in was launched in August 2007 as a free blog directory for Indians. However, the founders Renie Ravin(MD), Karthik DR(Director Finance), Vineet Rajan (Director Pre-sales and Consulting) and Anoop Johnson(Director of Marketing) had a bigger game plan: to mobilise the blogosphere, a nascent field at the time, so that companies and brands could engage with their customers.
The idea was conceptualised by the founders (barring Rajan), all in their 20s, at a party in early August 2007. At the time, Karthik and Johnson were selling security solutions for Ostsold Software, and Ravin,also Johnson’s childhood friend was working as a Web architect for Broadspire, a software company, in Chennai. Convinced that they were on to a good thing, the trio quit their respective jobs shortly afterwards and focused on their start-up.They started with an investment of just Rupees 10,000. Rajan left his account manager’s job with Hewlett Packard, Hyderabad, to join IndiBlogger after a bloggers’ meet in Pune, in March 2008.
Luckily for the founders, they found an angel investor in their friend Nitin Bindal, who chipped in with the seed capital of Rs 32 lakh. The money was spent on building infrastructure and marketing. Since the founders are based in different cities, conference calls are one of the biggest costs for the company. Ravin is based in Chennai. Johnson lives in Bangalore,Karthik in Delhi and Rajan in Mumbai.
Here’s how IndiBlogger works: Registering one’s blog is free of charge and members must publish at least five blog posts to continue to be a part of the community. The company’s eight-strong team handles support and moderation from Chennai and Bangalore. The revenue comes from connecting brands and bloggers via unique blogging contests and meets, which are organised periodically across the country. The idea stems from the fact that brands see value in connecting with bloggers, who can influence the purchase decisions of their peer groups. In fact, a Neilsen report, Global Trust in Advertising Survey 2011, shows that less than a third of Netizens trust advertisements, while 92% have faith in peer and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Initially, the company survived on the angel money, with the founders trying to contact the companies that were into digital initiatives and address their needs through brand engagement events. The challenging part was to convince the companies of the value IndiBlogger provided. February 2008 was a milestone year, with Microsoft sponsoring their first bloggers’ meet in Bangalore. Of the 57 bloggers who registered, 50 showed up. The income generated kept them afloat till more work came pouring in. In the first year of operations, the company generated a turnover of Rs 40 lakh, but the founders did not take a salary for the first couple of years, managing on their personal savings.
In March 2009, they managed to rope in their first independent client, a local radio station in Bangalore. Today, their clients include Lakme, Castrol, Apollo Hospitals, Mahindra & Mahindra, Cleartrip, Vodafone, Dove, Samsung, Surf Excel and Fiat, to name a few.The venture turned profitable in June 2010. IndiBlogger has held over 6o blogger meets across the country, and in September 2012, they held their first international bloggers’ event in New York.The blogger meets are mostly outsourced to event management companies who liaison with core members of the IndiBlogger team.This year they are aiming for a turnover of Rs 4.5 crore and are aiming to double that by 2015.
For most of us, blogging serves as a good pastime, a forum to air or read views and opinions and perhaps motivate action for causes we feel strongly about. If we ever consider monitization,we don’t think much beyond ads and affiliate marketing or perhaps attracting customers or clients for our businesses.Whatever,our success in the latter venture,the first two normally generates pennies for most ordinary bloggers.However,these four avid bloggers have shown us how a little creative thinking and entrepreneurial action can turn a hobby like blogging into a money-minting venture-a over Rs 1 crore business, to be precise. So keep blogging. Don’t let anyone convince you it is a waste of time.Starting a blog today is not akin to blogging in 2007,but the interesting thing is that the majority of the world is still to get connected to the internet.Think how valuable your blog could be when the internet becomes as ubiquitous as the television.And remember to think in terms of using your blog to solve real world problems,to increase the scope for earning from it.Better still think in terms of organizing and working with other bloggers.