The next chapter in the Indian dotcom story is waiting to be written. The first one ended up being aborted. How the second phase shapes up is up to each one of us. Here are three portal ideas which can help kickstart the Indian Internet:
New India News Ecosystem (NINE)
Imagine a My Yahoo-like personalised service built around RSS feeds. These RSS feeds would need to cover the top 50 publications in India that have a web presence, along with the leading Internet portals. Currently, most of these sites do not have RSS feeds, so an RSS-ifier program will need to make this happen.
Analytics from the world of bloggers will enable two-way interaction (which most of the sites are not very good at). So, as one is reading a news item in the RSS viewer, it should be possible to see bloggers who have commented on that item. This will help enrich discussion. Comments made by users can be automatically blogged on a per-user basis, creating a weblog for those who dont have one. This becomes useful for deciding on the online reputation of the commentators. Along with this, a Corante-like editorial service can aggregate some of the best links across vertical sections.
What does this is create an envelope around the news sites and facilitate two-way and multi-party discussion. This is the source of new ideas and will lead to the formation of microcommunities, which in turn will attract more users online.
PIN-code-based India Network (PIN)
We know very little of what is going on in our neighbourhoods where we live, and where we work. There is no easy way for us to know of the activities and service providers in the vicinity, find their reputations, interact with them and participate in social issues to help build a better neighbourhood with other like-minded people.
Thus, what would be nice to have is a service that enables a bi-directional flow of information and experience who is there, what they are doing, and how good are they. The PIN code (or ZIP code) is a natural unifier, because we all know the PIN codes that matter to us. Given a PIN code, one can easily narrow down to the geographical location.
Inhabitants of a PIN code can subscribe to the RSS feeds of the shops and service providers in the neighbourhood. The society can build and maintain online reputations. Social networking can help people reach out to others. Maps and images from webcams and cellphones can also be integrated for a richer experience.
SME Trade Information Marketplace (STIM)
One of the primary challenges that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) face is the generation of new business. SMEs do not have enough money to spend on marketing (or decide not to). Either way, the smaller marketing spend limits the awareness of the SMEs solutions in the marketplace. This results in lesser business, which in turn results in keeping the SME small. The Internet can help SMEs get out of this marketing by dramatically lowering their cost of reaching out to prospective customers. The STIM helps bridge this information gap.
SMEs publish the information about themselves, and also subscribe to the information they want. The information they publish is of three types: an About Us page (can be in the form of an Outline), a Whats New page (in the form of a blog with) and a page with meta information about them (location, contact information, industry codes). The Whats New page has information on what the SMEs want to buy or sell, and is syndicated to other SMEs who can now filter based on their interests and then make the connections.
The STIM is just one example of an Information Marketplace using the Publish-Subscribe Web built on the New Information Platform to connect buyers and sellers (or put in another way, information producers and consumers). The same concepts can be applied to many other verticals to leverage the Internet for making connections.