Tag Archives: Tech

Arzoo.com got fixed

A few days ago I pointed out that Arzoo.com does not have an option to search/buy One Way tickets. They silently fixed it.

arzoo got fixed

Here is the broken version:

arzoo.com

Response from Makemytrip and the update by Arzoo.com is promising. These companies are following blogs/media and working on the feedback provided.

User feedback is free QA :)

Update: I guess I posted the post too soon. Just found – searching for tickets from SFO to New Delhi redirects me to a blank page for both One way and Round Trip on Firefox 2.0.0.4 and WinXP.

Gaming consoles in India may actually work

I was reading about the PC Gaming on Starupdunia. I don’t really agree with the statement:

Gaming consoles and games are cost prohibitive in the Indian market.

I think they can be successful if things are done ‘Indian’ way. Consoles like Wii might actually do really well in India, where 5yr. old kid to his 70yr. old grandparents can play on the same console. They might end up playing slightly different games though. Wifi, over-the-net multiuser playing capability and cheap/free game downloads would help people to adopt these consoles.

One of the biggest issues in India is ‘PIRACY’. If a company can come up with a way to let console owners download or order free games that’ll be awesome. Making money with embedded ads should work. To make it better, if game/console can access the Internet – show real time ads, otherwise show pre-programmed Ads such as Coke banners in the Tennis game. The free-game-with-ads should work for any market.

Selling strategy where selling cheap consoles so that they can make money by selling games, may not work that well in India. I think if Wii starts selling in India (or may be they already do?) it should just around 10,000 INR.

Makemytrip.com not working and Arzoo.com needs some work

makemytrip.com down

us.makemytrip.com has not been working since at least two hours and is still not operational. Sometime back I was getting an explicit error page when I searched for tickets, but now it is trying to load the results page infinitely. I don’t know how a site like makemytrip afford to be non-functional for such a long time. It would mean loss of a few hundreds if not thousands. I wonder if they have process/server alerts set up and they are aware of the problem. It would be really funny if they are not aware of the problem.

On a similar note I saw Arzoo.com’s big banner on O’Farrel st. in SF (near Naan n Curry – location makes sense). Arzoo is a venture started by Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail fame) a few years ago. During the .com bust they had to end the operations. He has now re-launched it as a (yet another) Travel Portal.
Here is the funny part: The site does not have an option to search for a one-way air ticket (at least I couldn’t see it). If they do not have the option, they need better Product Development team and if they do have it somewhere they need a better UI team.

arzoo.com

Cheap web development

One of my contacts at Linkedin asked a really good question. I was thinking about a business model related toit a few days ago. I wanted to share it with non-linkedin folks.

Question:

What would you like to see in a web development and web solution providing company, serving the web needs of individuals, home/ family businesses, small and medium sized businesses? What areas do you think current providers do not cater/ address or have problems with? Do you see a need of “Wal-Mart or Ikea” of web development services? What will be the problems or challenges of commoditizing “designing & development” part in such an approach?

I see a lot of turnkey solutions for web. All you have to do is upload them to your server, configure it a bit and you are good to go. However, these solutions do not work for people who do not understand what/how to FTP or what a server is.

I have come across people from really small business to a small-medium business who hire third party to handle their website. I think a cheap to mid level web developing company providing custom services would be a good option. As others said, there are too many “modules”, DIY tools floating around for people who know a bit about basic computers.

I have seen a lot of companies provide contractors for web development or on other hand you can hire freelancers from elance or odesk. I haven’t seen too many companies providing a complete small web development team for projects offshore. For instance a couple of web developers, a designer and a manager in India would provide lot of help to an upcoming startup in USA.

I think a small professionally managed team would help a lot of companies to either share burden with current projects or additional features/projects. The company could have 16 hours of development in a day.

The web dev company would hire web developers, designers and managers with web experience. Provide the employees with office, software, hardware and communication tools. The web developers should be junior to mid level with a few architect level mentors for these developers (say 1 architect for 5 small teams). The web dev company should make sure that their clients’ IP is secure and they should have well defined processes to get feedback from clients and to work fast on the issues reported.

I think a price somewhere around $4000 – $7000 per month should be good for a team of 2 developers (1 junior, another mid level), a part time designer and a manager who communicates with the client. I think this price should be good for both the web dev company and the company hiring the team.

College Classifieds

I heard a lot about college classified sites late last year. A few of them were dormitem, CollegeMedium and chegg. AFAIK Chegg is the leader in this niche. They got $2.2 Million funding in January 2007 and got a $500,000 funding in an earlier round.

I was looking at traffic stats for all these sites on Alexa (don’t have an alternate) and found all of them are pretty much flat. As expected, Chegg lead in the traffic but didn’t impress me that much. It seems like they started really great, but are going down fast. I don’t know if this is related to college schedules, spring break, etc. or simply traffic dropping due to various reasons like competitors (CL, Ebay).

I understand that students need a place to buy/sell cheap books and other stuff. I feel Chegg is easy and simple to use for a student. I am trying to understand why, with an existing market and good usability, these sites are unable to gain momentum?

I think a student does not want to get limited to a site. It is easier to pay and exchange books “locally” on the campus, but you lose the ability to search for cheaper books elsewhere. As a student, I used campusi to find cheap books. The best part of campusi or other similar sites is getting results from a lot of sellers and getting them sorted by price including shipping price in most cases. Most of the time constraints to get the book(s) within a week or so, but I still tried to get the book as cheap as I could. Some of the times I used to order books from Canadian sites or sellers living in East coast.

I think syndicating their data to sites like campusi would help these college classifieds to get an existing user base and an incentive for the sellers to post stuff on these sites. I noticed that dormitem is already syndicating their data to edgeio and Oodle, I think they need to do more than this, but they are on right path.

Syndicating data to Edgeio and Oodle is simple, as both of these sites are looking for this data. However, partnering with these aggregators would be hard as they thrive on afiliate income. Chegg (and others) need to provide some inentive to the aggregators.

Here is an interesting discussion (in comments). For those of you who didn’t know, Chegg tried (is trying?) another business model.