Do you remember the uproar against Wal-Mart that was taking place in Indian cities sometime back? Small shop owners were scared that some big multinational company like Wal-Mart would steal all their Business. Big brands like Wal-Mart have more money, brand influence, sustainability, and better resources. They can control the market with their brand name.
Well, same situation is probably what’s in store for small-time tech bloggers in India. January first week, Times Internet Ltd. (TIL) announced their strategic partnership with online media giant Gawker Media to manage Indian versions of Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.
As a part of this tie up, Times Internet Ltd will have access to the brand, content, monetization, and sub-licensing of Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.
Why is it a big deal?
For one, Gawker Media is America’s largest independently owned online media company. They have a very big brand name in online media world. Moreover, they have eight websites and more than 40 million unique visitors worldwide.
With that, the sites with which TIL have tied up, are two of the most popular technology blogs in the world. This means that TIL will now have the access to elite resources in tech world, and would be able to create great tech content for Indian audience. Moreover, two big tech blogs generating content especially for Indian audience will mean that Indian technology world would get more attention online. Thus, Indian startup and tech companies can hope for better coverage on the Internet for. That means more competition for existing Indian tech bloggers.
How will it affect Indian Tech blogging world?
Indian bloggers are quite active in tech Blogging world. However, with big names such as Gizmodo and LifeHacker entering the market, it will be a tough competition for some of them. Indian tech bloggers have limited resources. Some of the blogs such as Track.in or Tech2.in are really doing well when it comes to providing up-to-date news about technology, startups etc. Such sites will now have to compete with International names.
You might ask Gizmodo and LifeHacker are already there on the internet. Indian audience can visit their sites and follow these blogs. So, what difference would it make after they come with Indian domain name? Well, it will not be any new thing for dedicated followers of these blogs. However, people who search for content on search engines, for example, ‘Most downloaded app on play store’ might land might visit these blogs more than other Indian blogs.
That is because when you search for something, search engine will try to get the result, which is more relevant for you based on keyword, orientation of search, and your location too. Thus, for Indian audience chances of Gizmodo (the Indian version) showing in the top search results will increase more than earlier.
This will be bad for native Indian bloggers. Gizmodo and LifeHacker are established brands all over the world. They can spend big on branding, promotion and marketing of blog. They could even staff tens or hundreds of people just to churn out quality content and dominate search engine results. Most of Indian tech bloggers cannot compete with these blogs as they have limited resources. Thus, with the entry of such big players, Indian tech bloggers will lose their target audience, at least to some extent.
Moreover, less number of users means less number of page views (affecting advertisements) and ultimately less revenue. Thus, entry of such big players in market also hits your pockets.
How should Indian tech bloggers deal with this situation?
#1: Take a niche path
The one characteristic of these blogs, which you can use as advantage for you, is that these blogs are generic in nature. They cover almost anything from Technology to technology-based movies. While this gives them a big audience base, this also gives you an opportunity to be unique by going niche for your blog.
You cannot compete with these blogs for such a vast audience, but you can go niche. You can optimize your blog for niche audience and write articles about your specific field (think gaming apps for Android or Samsung touch screen phones).
#2: Be More Personalized
Have you noticed what small shops in your locality do to survive? They provide personalized services. These small shops usually have dedicated customers from their locality. Moreover, these customers are very loyal to these shops. That is because shop owners know exactly what these people need. Moreover, there is a personal bond between them.
Try to do the same. Send personalized newsletters to your registered readers. Reply to each comment on your blog. Help people if they ask for your advice. Such gestures will help you establish a strong bond with readers, and you will get audience that is more loyal.
#3: Adapt unique style of writing
To get more users on your blog, try to adapt unique style of writing. How unique you may ask. See the example of Unreal Times. They are news site, which writes on generic stuff that happens in Indian political arena. However there take on every event is totally unique. They write satire, and still they are different from other satirical sites because of their visual content and ‘in picture’ section. You can do something same in tech world as well.
There are many ways of surviving heavy competition, if you are able to find the weaknesses of your opponent, and can convert them into opportunity for you. These big tech blogs, which are also content farms to an extent, have been running successfully in U.S. for more than a decade now, and still, there are many small tech blogs that have a dedicated user base.
You can survive if you creative, enthusiastic, and ready to take challenges. So, would you be starting a tech blog if you were starting a new one today? Let me know via the comments.