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Reliance closes its social network website Bigadda

The Reliance ADA-promoted blogging and social networking website aimed specifically at India, announces that it is getting out of social media services and transforming itself into a shopping portal.

Nishi Rath   Mumbai     Last Updated: July 6, 2011  | 08:59 IST

The entry of Web giant Google into the social networking space with Google Plus seems to have been the final nail for the Anil Ambani group's social networking venture Bigadda.com.

The Reliance ADA-promoted blogging and social networking website aimed specifically at India, has announced that it is getting out of social media services and transforming itself into a shopping portal.

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"This is a conscious decision to transition Bigadda.com to e-commerce business," said Rohit Sharma, chief executive officer (CEO), Reliance Entertainment (digital business).

This is a big change of world-view from its launch in 2007, when Bigadda.com claimed that social networking would be the "next big thing". At the time, the firm claimed that its local social media platform would be 'fine-tuned' for the Indian market.

It was, but in India, the space was grabbed by global players like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn . Even Google's Orkut, which initially was popular got wamped by the Facebook wave.

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Indian sites like bharatstudent. com, ibibo.com and desimartini. com, among other local sites, failed to make significant headway in the social networking space. Indian Web pioneer Rediff.com has tried several iterations of its blogging and networking sites.

"The digital space is dynamic and ever-changing. In 2007 when Bigadda.com was launched, we believed that local social media platforms would do exceptionally well. However, local social media networks show no potential anymore with dominance of Facebook and other global players.

We believe that the growth drivers of digital space are e-commerce, gaming and video-ondemand (VOD)," Sharma said. Sharma also added that as the group already has a strong presence in gaming with Zapak and VOD with Bigflix.com, this transition will cover the third growth driver as well.

The site had 5.5 million registered users of which 3.5 million were from the small towns of India. BigAdda e-commerce operations have been operational since last three months in the pilot phase. During these three months the group claims to have witnessed good number of orders compared to any recent e-commerce player in India.

"BigAdda has crossed Rs 2 crore gross value transactions per month in June and with its aggressive plans for next months, it is poised to be one of the leading players in the Indian e-commerce space with its combination of readers' offers and e-tailing business models," said a company statement. Amitabh Bachchan's daily blog, which was supposed to build its blogging platform will continue on its own microsite, www.bigb.bigadda.com. Bigadda.com began with six lakh users as of October 2007 and aimed to touch one crore users by 2010. However, according to industry sources, the social networking services of Bigadda has suffered a loss of more than Rs 40 crore and that might be the main reason to stop the service.

In March this year, it decided to shift away from social networking to e-commerce and set up Shop.Bigadda.com. Big Adda Shop offers items like phones, cameras, computers, gaming and lifestyle items, among others. According to sources, in an email sent to all users, BigAdda a few days ago requested users to download all personal data, including blog posts, images and other files by July 15, 2011, after which the data will not be available.

Courtesy: Mail Today 

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