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A metropolitan city India (NRI)
Rediff – The best Indian portal
Jun 23, 2004 07:31 AM 2684 Views
(Updated Jun 23, 2004 07:01 PM)

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The 'Net is a waste of time, and that's exactly what's right about it. -William Gibson


Information Superhighway is really an acronym for 'Interactive Network For Organizing, Retrieving, Manipulating, Accessing And Transferring Information On National Systems, Unleashing Practically Every Rebellious Human Intelligence, Gratifying Hackers, Wiseacres, And Yahoos'. -Keven Kwaku


Note: This review details only about the Rediff.com portal. There is a separate section for shopping, emails et al.


INTRODUCTION


I am crazy about getting information. I like to keep myself up to date with the happenings around the world. A site that I have a like you now - like you not relationship is Rediff.com. Rediff was a spin-off from the Rediffusion, an ad agency and was called as Rediff On the Net when it was launched. From the initial days to current scenario where it is one of the largest India based portals, Rediff has come a long way. I have used rediff over the years for various reasons. It started with a reliable information resource, chat site, email (briefly used), Homepage (used once), Financial market insight (Used heavily in 99 & 00), Tamil News (they cut it off soon), Instant Messenger in local languages, A phonecard purchasing site, Blogs and matrimonial listing, You name it and I have used it.


Rediff has provided a lot of things to me personally. I agree that it has a lot of scope for improvement and it may look odd at times when it comes to features (I shall delve into it in detail), but Rediff is a great site and was a first in many sorts to Indian markets.


REDIFF – A HISTORY


As mentioned, Rediffwas started in 1996 and is a NASDAQ listed business (REDF). Rediff is still a loss making organization and is expected to turn-in profits in a year or two. Rediff is also eyeing for a lion’s share of e-commerce in India, which is expected to hit $0.5 billion in 2006. Rediff is a leading brand when it comes to Internet content delivery and is competed by Sify.com, IndiaTimes.com, Msn.co.in and yahoo.co.in. It has revenues of about 18 million (2003) and 23 million registered users to its portal.


REDIFF – ANALYSIS


Rediff is primary known for


Θ Tazaa Khabar or breaking News


Θ Business, Movie & Sports News


Θ Sports Event Updates


Θ Rediff Specials


Θ Wonderful Editorials (Accomplished Journalists as well as freelance ones)


Θ USA Specific portal (was useful to me when I was in US)


Θ Hindi & Gujarati Portals (Used to offer Tamil, Telugu also)


Θ 1 GB Free Email (Woo hoo!)


Θ India Abroad Magazine


Θ Matrimony services


Θ Web Logging feature


Θ Messenger


Θ Rediff Radio


Θ Other rudimentary portal features such as astrology, celebrity chats, ecards, Songs and music, games and interesting topics.


Θ Revenue maker for Rediff, e-commerce initiatives


Well, well, well. I do not want to sound like a Rediff salesman but it is quite something for it was the first to introduce many features for the Indian user.


I shall give the ratings for the various online browsing features before I delve into pros and cons of the site.


Θ Website load time – ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ stars


It is quite fast site to load and view. I never faced any issues with the site, as it does not focus on graphics except for specials which have better loading time compared to others


Θ Site experience – ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ stars


Rediff is a better in aesthetics, compared to other sites. Indya.com which folded, used to have heavy duty color and other things but Rediff is aesthetically well off.


Θ Site Navigation – ♥ stars


This is one feature Rediff needs to focus more on heavily.


Θ Features – ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ stars


More than enough for at current context. E-commerce and shopping features can be enhanced though


Θ Content Timeliness – ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ stars


It is almost instantaneous


Θ User Interactivity – ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ stars


Well done, when you take 23 million users and approximately hundreds of thousands simultaneously browsing


Θ Site Performance – ♥ ♥ ♥ stars


Better compared to others


Θ Security – ♥ ♥ ♥ stars


Good


PROS or Well Done


♣ One of the leading content provider. Samachar is good but is not very effective as many publications make the site look clumsier


♣ A lot of things in store for a user. Almost complete portal for Indian User.


♣ 1 GB Free email. First of its kind.


♣ Wonderful cricket analysis


♣ Wonderful sports coverage


♣ Great Election specials


♣ Nice Movie news and great reviews


♣ Very good editorials


♣ excellent freelance writers


♣ Nice, content rich topics


♣ Average and well to do chat software


♣ Multi-lingual mail/messenger


♣ Great information feed and lively users


♣ leader in portal enhancements for Indian users


♣ Nice blogging features


♣ Great slideshows


♣ Very good e-commerce site


♣ XML/RSS Feeds


CONS or That’s not goods


♠ Clumsy front page. So very cluttered interface. First time user may feel bad


♠ Out of links and a lot of 404/page not founds


♠ Poor navigational tools


♠ Poor use of screen real-estate. It is fixed and big resolution users are at a loss.


♠ Poor customer service for e-commerce users


♠ Average chat features


♠ Unfocused business strategy


♠ Not much investor confidence (It was slapped with class action lawsuit, not long ago)


♠ One may have to search to navigate


CONCLUSION


Forgiving its shortcomings, Rediff is a great portal and a leader of online content delivery. Though it is not a profitable company yet, it is a clear leader in portal experience in India. As Amazon took more than 5 years to deliver a profit, Rediff may took an year or two before turning in profit, as it has a strong client base and partnerships with leaders for many of its ventures. All the best to rediff.


REDIFF is a great site. GO FOR IT


I hope you liked the review. Do comment as time permits.


KALIL


Cyberspace: A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation. -William Gibson


The Internet is like a vault with a screen door on the back. I don't need jackhammers and atom bomb to get in when I can walk through the door. -Anonymous


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