Last updated : July 14, 2001
agencyfaqs! News Bureau,
When websites are falling over each other to hang on to the elusive traffic, Webdunia.com is lapping them up with consummate ease. At least for the time being. The driver: the results of the last board examinations, which it has announced on all its properties - Webdunia.com (Hindi), Webulagam.com (Tamil), Webprapancham.com (Telugu), and Weblokam.com (Malayalam).
Says Anu Babbar, vice-president, marketing & sales, Webdunia.com, "This is undoubtedly the single largest exercise ever undertaken in this country to drive audiences to the Net. Two million users using the service compared to the Internet user base of about 6 million. We started with the objective of reaching out to a significant percentage of the student population that appeared for the board examination. About 20 lakh students have checked their results online already (which is nearly 20 per cent of the student population that appeared for the board examination). This is a significant achievement in today's Net scenario and it reinforces the importance of language Internet in the country."
He has reason to be happy, given the immensity of the exercise. Webdunia had done something similar last year - albeit on a smaller scale - targetting only the states of Uttar Padesh and Tamil Nadu. This year, it targetted a potential audience of about 12 million students from nine state boards - Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Bihar) who took their Class X and Class XII board exams. "The fact that more than 75 per cent of these students did not have English as their medium of instruction made them the prime users of Webdunia.com's products (portals in four Indian languages) and services (email and chat in 11 Indian languages)," says Babbar.
The groundwork was not easy by any measure. Apart from co-coordinating with the education boards, the efforts for promoting and announcing the initiative were humongous. "We contacted 800 cyber cafes and 1,600 schools across 64 cities. NIIT centers across the country and youth hangouts were targeted. Our marketing team met up with school teachers and principals," says Babbar. On the other hand, this also gave Webdunia an opportunity to tap advertisers targeting this very attractive audience. Close-Up, NIIT Futurz and TVS Scooty came on board to showcase their brands.
Webdunia started announcing the initiative on its various sites a month in advance. "We developed promotables like posters/banners and put ads in the leading dailies of these states. While the exercise to reach out to the schools and cyber cafes was tedious, it enabled us to procure a huge database for future events," Babbar says.
So what was the motivation for this entire exercise?
Babbar says it has to do with the nature of the medium. In India, barely 6 per cent of the population knows English, but 99 per cent of the content available on the Net is in that language. Also, most of the education sites currently cater to a student population who are conversant only with the English language. "Our expertise lies in Indian languages technology and we believe that language Internet will break the 'Can I? Or How to?' phobia among the potential Net users in India," says Babbar. "For about 75 per cent of the student population, the medium of instruction is not English. Our online initiative successfully tapped the students beyond the metros."
The numbers are looking good already. Webdunia claims the registered user-base has increased to more than 6,00,000 post this exercise and as many as 1 lakh unique visitors visit the web site (Webdunia.com) daily, aggregating 30 million page views per month.
So, is there a lesson here for web sites scrambling for audience and advertisers? To put it in the words of Babbar, "The talk about the impending death of the Internet is all hype. If used strategically, the Internet can generate fantastic advertiser interest and an equal amount of user response as we have seen."
© 2000 agencyfaqs!First Published : July 14, 2001