MIH, which is part of Naspers a multi-billion dollar global media company started a new blogging website Ibibo for the Indian market, and came out with the worst marketing strategy ever. The website was launched in August 2006 and started a sales promotion from December 2006, to increase registrations. As I assume they had only 50-100 individuals who had registered for their blog.
The pitch was ‘The Great Indian Blogger Hunt’ which pays cash for the top 250 ibq score blogs. The company is going to pay 1.5 Crores (£ 176,000) over a period of 1 year to the top bloggers of the month. The score is calculated by a stupid algorithm which is very easy to manipulate. In summary, bloggers will get points according to how many people visit their blog; the ratings people give their blog posts; how many blogs they post; and how many comments they get.
Within a span of 3 months, the Ibibo blogsphere has turned into the worst bloggers of all time. There are individuals (I can’t refer to them as bloggers) with above 6500 blog posts in a month. WOW! that’s above 200 posts a day, but what about the posts, they are absolutely ridiculous. Individuals post a picture and that is it, nothing to describe what does that picture mean, or what they think about it. Some just write one line quotes which don’t even make sense, and others copy posts from real bloggers and paste them. Now they should call it “The Worst blogger Hunt.” and of course they will win the worst marketing strategy competition, if ever held.
Comments were another thing I was monitoring. Most of the comments lack substance and are just limited to one liner comments like ‘Nice post, I have given 5 star rating, visit my blog and give rating.’
As much as it is a disgrace to blogging, something good came out of it. It has raised the social media awareness in India. There are individuals who have left the Ibibo and started their own blog on other blogging website.
The irony of this is that Ibibo has spent all this money and basically has promoted blogging rather than Ibibo and people who want to blog will never have their blog on Ibibo. They are going to have it on blogspot, WordPress or other blogging websites, but not Ibibo. Actually Google, WordPress etc… should thank MIH CEO Ashish Kashyap for this. Ashish Kashyap was the former sales’s operation head for google, India.
Now what was the MIH marketing team thinking??? Social Media is based on word of mouth (WOM) strategy not sales promotion. A simple distinction which I guess the MIH CEO maybe doesn’t know about, after his 12 year experience in spanning internet, television and radio businesses. Furthermore, WOM is more of a PR domain NOT marketing.
Well for the time being Ibibo has acquired an image to be one website where Serious Indian bloggers will not register themselves. As soon as the contest is over, I am sure that everyone is going to stop blogging there, as it is nonsense anyway. The trend has already started.