Rediff.com is going the minimalist way – the company is in the process of launching a frills-free site, optimised for mobile usage for its international readers at India Abroad. The design is currently being tested, and will be deployed only for the India Abroad vertical.
The front page is icon based, and everything – from the content pages to search results, are clutter free, and only focused on the segment in question. The implications of this design:
— Advertising: As of now, there are only two ad spots – one a leaderboard advertisement on top, and a 300×250 medium rectangle on the right. Take a look at this page, and compare it with this one. Also worth noting is the fact that there are no P4C ads on the page (similar to Google Adwords).
— Content: discovery of content is now very difficult – headlines are key to content discovery, and there are cases where a headline from the sports segment might attract the attention of someone reading a business story. The cross-promotion of content, related articles, most emailed articles — all of that is not a part of this new design. This could result in a decline in pageviews, and jury is out on whether this is a reader friendly move.
— Tagging: the old Rediff news was tagless, but the India abroad design appears to offset the content discovery issue with the use of tags, powered by Rediff Search.
— Linking Out: Rediff is linking out to other sites – news sites like DNA and Zee News, through a news feature called Hot Topics which aggregates the news from various sources. But can Rediff be monetize this page by displaying ads on it? If you notice, Google News doesn’t feature ads.
— Events Listing: Another useful addition is that of events, where they don’t just have a listing, but also allow users to add their own event listings
— Gifting: Monetization also comes by way of gifting to India, a more targeted version of Rediff Shopping
— Social Bookmarking: This may be an outdated concept, what with del.icio.us, but Rediff’s integration of its bookmarking service works quite well with the redesign. It does require a Rediff login, though.
— Friends: aggregates status updates from friends on Orkut, Facebook, Hi5 and LinkedIn
How does this impact Rediff users?
Well, according to Alexa, only around 12.2% of Rediffs traffic comes fr om outside India – and only around 3.3% from the US. This may not be accurate since Alexa gives inputs based on those who have installed the Alexa toolbar, but suffice to say that a majority of Rediffs traffic will not be affected (yet).
A Rediff spokesperson told MediaNama that this is the right time to launch such a site – the company has found that a majority of their usage in the US is through the mobile device, and this site is hence optimised for mobile phones. As of now, there’s no plan to change the format of the Indian site.