Category: Web 2.0


I’ve always been interested on how brands start using the internet in India; and most websites they come up with I like to term them as “download wallpaper” websites – cause they didn’t offer any thing beyond that.

Sometime back in the history of time; I’d written a small white paper on “internet branding” which offered the much confused brand/marketing manager on how to step on the internet by designing what kind of website. And, that was a time when static websites was the way to go.

Today, Internet offers some level of maturity – but I see a long way to go. My colleague also discusses how FMCG co’s can utilize the internet better for their brand.

I’ve covered 3 websites here for different brands and how they match up to other style of making websites. Please note I am not paid by these guys to review their work and all opinions/thoughts are personal.

Johnson’s Baby

Babycenter.in

BabyCenter.in HomepageJohnson’s extensive baby product line and legacy of users give’s it a strong reason to be associated with a website to do with “Baby Care”.

The site is largely a replica of BabyCentre.co.uk but they are in the process of generating content for the site given different situation which exists in India.

I like the simplicity in the website – as it represents an Yahoo! Answers approach, no flash or background music to irritate you.

It attempts to answer key questions for to be parents; and offers top level Q&A for many frequently asked questions.

The brand element is a little weak beyond the website’s homepage; but I am sure these guys are working on it.

Brand Integration: 1/5
Design: 3/5
Usability: 3/5
Content: 2/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Lay’s

whatstheprogram.com

Firstly, this site was almost a week late before it came online & they kept advertising on the TV! Not a good thing to happen; cause I’ve seen a lot of traffic to micro-sites originating directly and followed by Google & other internet advertising efforts.

Whatstheprogram Homepage

This site has a nice look & feel, but the performance degrades across different browser a problematic area when it comes to usability. Also, it tends to be a bit noisy with it’s default background music. Overall the site performs well with the load time, but I wish it had some bit of flash optimization done to improve performance of the site. Else, it’s a good site – technically.

The site’s aim is to integrate with the larger brand message of “whats the program”(pronounced as whatz the prograamm”) promo – which intends to position “Lays” chips as a key ingredient to any “program” you make – which translates to – group activity, i.e. bunch of friends getting together to watch cricket on TV, so “sports program” to watch cricket on TV & Lay’s the perfect element of snacks. Sure, but the TVC sucks.

register_whats-theprogra.jpgSo what it takes to be part of the “program”? The signup page is a little tacky & you have to sign up even to subscribe to the newsletter! The sign up page also allows you to create your avatar; but I couldn’t see it appear after my signup page 😦 not even on my profile page 😦

The avatar are not customizable & the one’s on offer are just about ok & I don’t know why they have been randomized on display. Keep the 2 sexes in the same line! again bad usability 😦

I donno what is the purpose of asking “when was the last time you ate lays?” & that too as a mandatory field! is this a sign up page or a survey form? This is a clear sign of a traditional marketing manager being a part of designing the website. Seriously – this information is redundant. I’d rather send out survey forms to my users than ask this once & forget about it.

invite_whatstheprogram.jpgI explored “Entertainment Program” section; which lists movies & theater events taking place in select locations. Since, the site revolves around the getting friends together – you have the option of selecting an event & inviting your friends to meet up! Ok, point taken, 1. I don’t see the point of having static pages, 2. What is the benefit of using Lays website to invite friends = will I get a discount coupon for Lay’s Purchase? nothing of the sort.

I see a good possibility of integration Yahoo Local or tie-ups with some local movie theater for better online prices or even some sensible mash-ups! the potential is yet to be explored of this platform.

Also, the site doesn’t have a Privacy Statement! So, I really wonder how would they use the information I’d provide them!

I am happy with the design of the website with some teething usability issues – which I am sure they’ll resolve. But if they can’t keep the content live & latest = the site is bound to die. It’s a good integration of the overall website; but I’ll see how the site evolves in time.

Brand Integration: 5/5
Design: 2/5
Usability: 2/5
Content: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5

TVS Apache

nowornever.in

This is one of the good bike sites around, and it brings in many factors of good site together. It has product content, community participating, offline ecommerce & little bit of fan site appeal.

tvs_home.jpg

This site also suffers from performance degradation across browsers & really irritating background music. Something most web designing company’s should now take into account – why put the music in the background! apart from adding on to the load time; it slows up the website. And the flash & html integration means – the music starts to replay on every page you load even if you decide to turn it off on the first page. Please get introduced to frames!

bike_cover.jpg

I like how the site integrates really cool bike merchandise – only problem is to buy the stuff offline. But you can buy tshirts, key chains, helmates, bike covers and whole bunch of other stuff.

I think they should tie up with ebay if ecommerce if coming up to be very expensive & cut the lag time to actually get these stuff moving. Seriously, if you are the site owner – get an ebay shop & start selling online.

The site has a whole bunch of improvement areas including content & engagement factors. The site comes very close to the “download wallpaper” kind, but I am sure TVS will bring in more aspects of the internet marketing tool kit & evolve this site.

Please seriously consider improving it – you have a great site going for yourself!

Brand Integration: 4/5
Design: 2/5
Usability: 2/5
Content: 3/5
Overall rating: 2.75/5

Advertisements

With social networking catching every dot.commer’s imagination, it makes all the more sense to add business sense to it. After all business is all about networking.

I started business networking back in 2002 with Ryze.com; the site stopped to evolve & I joined Linkedin.com. But with the evolution of web 2.0 and ajax support interfaces, we are now talking serious business networking.

My first example here is pairup.com : the site works on a simple concept of sharing your contacts & travel plans. And if it finds someone you know in the same destination – it’ll give you an alert! I wish it integrated with Plaxo!

KLM is taking Flying & Golf to business networking. They have 3 sites dedicated for business networking and the common platform – Golf. Cause all high flyers play it! It just reverses the approach & tells you whom you can find where. Check out there sites > www.klmclubafrica.com or www.fbgolfclub.com or www.clubchina.klm.com

If travel portals are smart enough like Yatra which introduced Raahi to garner traffic – imagin the potential it holds for travel portal to build loyalty & networking capability.

I am sure we in India are still busy deploying Adsense to make money… web 2.o can wait!