Times Internet launches interest-based network

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | December 21, 2012
After the recent launch of Alive App, Times Internet has come up with an interest-based network, itimes.com, to engage with the audience.

Times Internet has launched interest-based network, itimes.com, which allows users to create their own interests and follow others' interests. Once the user logs in on the website and creates his/her ID, he or she can start posting interests and initiate discussions, post pictures, write blogs, post videos and check events happening around it.

Developed by the in house team of Times Internet, the concept of the network revolves around the fact that topics are more important than the people who post them.

Archana Vohra

Archana Vohra, business head, Times Internet, says, "After long thought we found that there is a lot of stickiness possible on the content side. We needed to consistently engage with our consumers but in the right way. There are different topics of interest, various categories of topics and different types of people who post on it. So we planned to create something where the driving point of our network is not the user but the content."

Currently, itimes.com has more than 5,000 interest topics and a large number of people are active on it. It includes interests such as passions, celebrities, sports, places, campaigns and other subjects.

The network operates on a unique concept, where people who start an interest may lose its ownership if they discontinue their activity or the quality of their posts is not up to the mark.

Vohra says, "The website works on a strong algorithm that decides who owns the interest. The algorithm maps the comments and posts on a specific interest and after calculating its relevance, it allows the ownership of the interest to a person. Depending on the quality of posts, people can lose ownership of an interest they initiated at itimes.com. Here, the number of posts comes in a latter priority of the algorithm as compared to the quality."

Vohra further adds that Times Internet needs a couple of weeks to settle down before it actually begins to promote the website, for which the group has a huge marketing plan.

Though she refrains from sharing the plans on monetisation of itimes.com, she says that Times Internet is expanding and will come up with something new in the next 30 days.

Speaking on how itimes.com will be different from Twitter and Facebook, Vohra says, "Unlike Twitter, which has a more discovery-oriented approach, and Facebook, where people see photos and posts but do not consume information, itimes will be able to connect people from different walks of life who have similar interests, and act like a common platform for them."

Satyan Gajwani

Earlier, itimes.com was a general social networking site but now it has shifted its focus towards interest based networking centred around relevant topics and content.

This is the second launch from the Times Internet kitty within a week. On December 16, the company launched its first augmented reality app called 'Alive', which supposedly saw more than 2,50,000 downloads on the day of its launch.

Satyan Gajwani, CEO, Times Internet, says, "Times Internet has over 32 million visitors every month, who interact with our varied content offerings. itimes.com is oriented around building communities around the topics people care to read about. It's an interesting proposition and we hope that it will engage users and help create and curate relevant content."

Times Internet is the digital network of the Times of India Group that was launched in 1999. It operates a portfolio of web and mobile properties that engage millions of users globally through mobile value added services, e-commerce, email, blogs, music, video, and location-based services. It includes properties such as Times of India, Economic Times, Navbharat Times, Indiatimes Shopping, Zigwheels and others.

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