Social networking is the next big thing. Correction - the current big thing. Anything 'big' and naturally, an Ambani needs to get into it. And I mean literally.
After the Big 92.7 FM stations, we now have a 'big adda' - an orkut-myspace clone from Reliance ADA. This is something like Rupert Murdoch deciding to create a myspace - instead of buying it out from some dudes.
Can it work? Hell, no.
When you join Myspace 'Tom' is your first friend. He is a real guy, a cool guy. Someone I want as a friend, if only in a notional sense.
When I register at Bigadda, I get this slob as my first friend. No kidding! And a message that reads:
"Hey friend! Welcome to Bigadda. Boss here, the dude of this wonderful place. Any queries, comments or feedback - Just scribble me and I will take care of it. Enjoy!" Sheesh.
The second problem is Bigadda is a free for all. Although they claim 'the website is accessible to internet users only via invitation' that is so not true. Anyone can join. In fact, you don't even have to be a member to see the profiles on the site.
Lastly, myspace caught on with young people. The average age of the recent Bigadda registrant appears to be 28. The age distribution is something like this (each page contains 24 profiles)
Age 16-20 - 4 pages
Age 20-25 - 17 pages
Age 25 -35 - 22 pages
Age 36-50 - 4 pages
Age 50-59 - 8 profiles
Age 16-20 - 14 profiles
Age 20-25 - 3 pages
Age 25 -35 - 3 pages
Age 36-50 - 6 profiles
age 50-59 - 0 profiles
As anyone in the s-n business knows, like attracts like. With tons of middle and aging folks on Bigadda which young people would see it as a cool hangout??
Now maybe Reliance figured that cool young Indians are on orkut (and now a bunch of them is moving to Facebook). So instead of weaning them away - too much hard work - let's just attack a different set of people. Bored office workers.
In fact who says a s-n site is for the young only? People of any age should be free to join. Why should Bigadda discriminate against people over the age of 59?? Let a hundred profiles over a hundred bloom. Let this be the site where the lonely octogenarian finds people with whom to swap tales of lost and found dentures...
Considering the user generated content on the site right now, that sounds seriously interesting!