Friday, May 27, 2011

India’s SM: Facebook vs Orkut

Google PR Rank: Facebook 10/10 (2004 Rank 3/10) 
Alexa Rank: Facebook - 2
Google PR Rank: Orkut - 7/10 (2005 Rank 10/10) 
Alexa Rank: Orkut - 93

The financial press is abuzz this week over Facebook and its $50bn valuation, which comes out to about $100 per user. Increasingly, those users come from outside the US, as the social network pushes into emerging markets.
And that move is bearing fruit: Facebook now accounts for more than 36 per cent of visits to social media websites in India, far ahead of the former leader, Google-owned Orkut, according to Experian Hitwise, the internet measurement service.
Experian Hitwise estimates that Facebook registered 5.3 per cent of all internet visits in the country, while Orkut India received only 2.1 per cent of the traffic. In the social media segment, Facebook’s visitor share stood at 36.4 per cent in December while Orkut’s visitor share was less than half that at 14.6 per cent.
Orkut had been the leading social network in the country since 2005, but despite this early movers’ advantage, Facebook dethroned Google’s social media site from its number-one position in July 2010.
“Facebook applications and games have been very popular in India, contributing to the website’s pre-eminence”, said Navin Chandani, Experian’s marketing director in India.
“Though Orkut had the first mover’s advantage, the average Indian internet user was still not using social networking sites a lot to be loyal to one site. However, at the same time, Facebook entered the market and created a buzz with the features and was able to move Orkut users to Facebook”, Chandani added.
Apart from its technical features, analysts also point to the ‘glamour quotient’ associated with Facebook.
“Most of the younger crowd in the country is more active on Facebook than Orkut”, said Ashish Raina, an analyst at Gartner Research.
“Facebook has many active communities such as alumni associations connecting global Indians to alma maters in the US and UK. The trend from the US and UK has percolated to India now”, he added.
Facebook communities have also helped local activism – the Delhi Police and Delhi Municipal Corporation both have active Facebook pages where users participate in the running of the city’s public services.
Orkut has tried to regain some of the market share by introducing more features, but analysts believe that Facebook’s acceleration is unstoppable.
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.
The statistics also reveal the differences between the usage patterns of the visitors to the two websites. 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.
But the race is far from decided. Analysts highlight that– a network based around Bollywood films and celebrity culture – and LinkedIn are two social networks which have also risen to spectacular popularity in the last quarter.
As the last bastions of Orkut’s dominance are starting to wither away, it remains to be seen whether Facebook will reign in the future.

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