Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Orkut Promote Gets An Overhaul Even As Facebook Continues To Rule In India

For those uninitiated, Orkut Promote is a free tool, offered by Google that helps users to spread news on anything to their friends. According to the official Orkut blog, this tool offers the following things:
  • the ability to easily create promotions using text, photos from your Orkut albums, and your original YouTube videos
  • built-in ’spread’ and ‘trash’ features that let you pass on the promotions you like to all of your friends and delete the ones you don’t so that they never show up for you again
  • the ‘my promotions’ tool that shows you how many users have viewed, clicked on, or deleted your promotions, as well as how far they’ve spread
  • the ability to stop or delete a promotion that you’ve created at any time
Apart from these, Orkut has just announced yet another feature of this tool. Until now, it has shown promotion by a user to his or her friends, who can then share it with their friends and so on. The new addition would now allow this promotion to be sent to more than just his or her friends. Better still, he or she can share it on scrap, blog or mails.

To facilitate all of these, Orkut has just introduced the promo URL. The modus operandi is quite simple. For every promotion that is created by a user, it generates a web address that the user can use to share the promotion in his or her scraps or outside of the social networking sites. The user has to simply copy and paste the web address anywhere. Once someone clicks on the link, the promotion will be shown on the right corner of the Orkut profile of the promoter.

To find the Promo URL, users have to click on the “applications” drop down menu on the Orkut homepage and select Promote. Thereafter, they will get one of these web addresses for each of their existing promotions.

It seems Google still pins hopes on its soon-to-fade social networking site. Recently, it gave an overhaul to it by introducing users’ badges that the users can flaunt on their Orkut profiles. A bit later to that, it also integrated Picnik, which allows users to edit their pictures in their profiles. This is not withstanding he fact that it has already integrated its own Picasa. In short, Google is trying every possible way to engage users and retain them. No doubt India, where it once ruled, is moving towards Facebook literally turning it into oblivion.

Experian Hitwise, the online competitive intelligence service company, revealed that Facebookaccounted for 5.3% of all internet visits in the country as against Orkut’s 2.1% last year. In terms of social media segment, Facebook’s contributed 36.4 per cent visitors in December while Orkut’s visitor share was at a meager 14.6%.

The Financial Times put it this way, “Since July 2010, the gap in the visitor traffic share of the two social media sites has widened. Visitor traffic to Facebook has grown 11 per cent per month since April 2010 while Orkut’s visitor levels have declined at 5 per cent per month. Facebook users, on average, spend 22 minutes per visit on the site, but Orkut users spend little more than half as much, averaging 12 minutes per visit.”

Thus, it can be inferred that Facebook is the clear winner here, as of today. Google may see the better days coming. That could possibly be the reason why it keeps rolling out new features on its social networking sites. The new feature of Orkut Promote may be good in terms of its scalability and effectiveness, but those won’t mean anything if users cease to visit the site. That is the bottom-line.

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