If there’s one Indian site that has been executing exceptionally well since the Web 1.0 days, its undoubtedly MouthShut.com. Since inception, they’ve constantly innovated and evolved and over time, have amassed a huge,huge number of user generated reviews. Not to mention the strong community that has developed on the site. Never mind if they dont get as many blog mentions as some of the more newer startups.
So, why should someone buy MouthShut ?
As per a recent survey by Nielsen, 73% of Internet accessing Indians trust online user reviews over other means of advertising. That is more than advertising on TV, radio, magazines and search engine / online banner ads. Considering that MouthShut is the main (and probably only) consumer reviews site for the Indian subcontinent, you can only imagine how much influence it yields on the average, online, Indian user.
So, who should buy MouthShut ?
Amongst the international players, I’d say Yahoo, MSN, eBay and AOL. Yahoo has always been a proponent of community building, but considering the recent turmoil surrounding Yahoo, I’d say they have other things on their mind. MSN and AOL are both laggards when it comes to their Indian presence. Buying MouthShut would give them a good boost in terms of traffic, community and a decent competitive edge over Google and Yahoo. Of course, buying MouthShut would make the most sense for eBay, since MouthShut strategically fits very well into Shopping.com, the reviews site owned by eBay.
Amongst the home grown portals, I’d say HT Media should seriously consider it – they’ve been lagging the other Indian portals as far as their online strategy goes. Since they’re playing catch up, they might as well consider growing inorganically.
I’d love to hear what you have to say.