Bigadda to scale down social-networking services
Moneylife Digital Team 01 July 2011

While Google is renewing its focus on the social-networking space by creating Google+, the ADA group's initiative is scaling down social networking services. Bigadda, the youth-oriented social platform, may remain as a celebrity blog and gaming site, the blog and Indian youth networking site, seems to have decided to focus more on its e-commerce initiatives rather than 'free' social networking services. This may have come as a real surprise to many Bigadda users; especially when other players are launching new applications or platforms on social network sites. However, according to market sources, the social networking services of Bigadda have suffered a loss of over Rs40 crore and hence may have decided to curtail it.

Just two days ago, in order to regain space in the social networking space from Facebook and others, Internet search giant Google, has launched Google+. According to the company, Google+ would let users to post photos, videos, messages and comments on 'real-world interactions' and 'real-life sharing' basis.

Coming back to the Indian social networking space, according to some tweets on the Internet, Bigadda, the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani (ADA) group's blogging and social networking initiative would close down its social networking service as soon as by 15th July. One of the tweets read, "From Bigadda: "We are scaling down our social networking services. Download your stuff now" As of frikking July 15, they're gone!"

While social networking sites, especially Facebook and micro-blogging site Twitter has been grabbing more subscribers, the same is not true for Indian social networking sites. Even Orkut from Google is finding it difficult to keep its users from migrating to Facebook.

However, in case of Bigadda, social networking was not its only identity. The ADA group launched in 2007 with much fanfare with ambitions to gather a user base of 10 million by 2010. At that time, Rajesh Sawhney, president, Reliance Entertainment had said, "The number of Internet users has witnessed an upswing and so has their need to socialise online and gain acceptance in the virtual world. Virtual handout plays a key role, because it gives them the space to be amongst friends and peers, while sharing an image of their own, which they would like to project. aims to evolve a youth community, and create a youth culture that will be cool and aspirational for them".

However, instead of creating this platform, Bigadda came out more as a blog space for celebrities than commonplace for socializing. Even in its initial days, Bigadda was more known for Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan's blog than any other thing. Over the past few months, Bigadda also tried to concentrate more on gaming, instead of social networking services.

It was surprising but not unexpected as well. According to a study on social media usage by Nielsen and AbsolutData, nearly 30 million Indians who are online are members of social networking sites and about two-thirds of them spend time on these social networking sites daily.

More importantly, Indians spend more time on social media than they do using personal email; says the survey conducted in May 2011.

While social networking sites are attracting more eyeballs or hits, some sites, especially stereotyped Indian sites have become obsolete in terms of content and features compared with Facebook and others. Therefore, their end was written on the wall. Bigadda has just ratified the signals that its financial backing may not last long.

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