In an endeavour to reach out to more consumers, sites like WeddingSutra.com, Traveljini.com, Tulleeho.com, Compareindia.com are forging content licensing arrangements with publications to promote their services.
How do the few alive-and-kicking dotcoms publicise their offering to niche audiences? One of the routes adopted by sites like WeddingSutra.com, Traveljini.com, Tulleeho.com, Compareindia.com and a few others is the simple and cost-efficient content licensing arrangement. Since each of these sites possesses a domain expertise, they are in a unique position to offer specialised content to newspapers and magazines.
As Madhulika Mathur of WeddingSutra.com explains: "It's a win-win situation for the offline publications and the online brands. The general interest publications receive content from the specialists. And the online brands gets the opportunity to showcase their content to the offline audience too."
The tie-ups between the online and offline brands may be regular or on/off in nature. "It best works on an informal basis", says Jerry Pinto, Editor of Traveljini which provides content to magazines like Man's World, Perfect 10 and newspapers like Pioneer and Deccan Chronicle.
Tulleeho has also arrangements with lifestyle magazines for contributing articles on drinks and drinking out. WeddingSutra has linkages with both newspapers and magazines for wedding, fashion, lifestyle related articles while Compareindia claims to be working with nine publications for buyer guides.
Of course, content licensing does not form a key business area for such sites. As Pinto explains, a monetary value only sweetens the deal and the real benefits lies in the branding they receive. Explains Aditya Somani of Compareindia: "Since market research is our key business area, it does not cost us much to dabble in this, on the side. We work with different publications as per the terms suitable to them and of course, to us.
Revenues accruing from this area are viewed as boosters to the research and content teams to drive them harder and to come up with better research." Tullehoo too has different arrangements with publications. Says Vikram Achanta of Tulleeho: "It may be a strictly cash for content deal or a content for free adspace. Or part of a larger deal involving a liquor marketer who might be willing to sponsor a particular piece of content, if it relates to their domain."
With mass media advertising being a 'best avoided' option for dotcoms, niche catchment advertising and promotion is the name of the game. As Jerry Pinto explains: "Content licensing is one such opportunity. Besides this, we've tapped many other routes to market Traveljini. When the bookstore Crossword had a Travel Week, we had quizzes there in which Traveljini freebies were handed out as gifts. College festivals were used to test launch our forthcoming budget trips and educational channel. If a television channel landed up in the office to ask for a soundbite, we put on traveljini T-shirts to reinforce the brand. We have a whole lot of other ideas up our sleeves as of now and these will slowly be put into practice."