logo-manorama-horizonUpdate: afaqs reports that the portal is called ManoramaHorizon. Well, not really a separate portal: it looks like they’ve just added listing to the education section at Manorama Online, renamed and given it a separate URL. Do you think that’s a better idea than pumping Rs. 50 crores (approx) in a job portal whose technology you’ve licensed, and hence, don’t own?

The logo for Manorama Horizon has been changed since we checked on Friday. Charges for listing at Manorama Horizons: Rs. 500 for a providing users with details of course, and Rs. 5000 for a featured listing.

Original Story (June 24,2009, 8:01 AM):

Malayala Manorama, the largest publication in Kerala, claims to serve over 558 million pageviews to 5.6 million visitors online every month, even though 100 pageviews a visitor might appear improbable. Exchange4media reported that Manorama Online was to have launched an education website a couple of days ago, but we weren’t able to locate a link to it at their news site, or at their matrimonial classifieds site. According to the report, the education vertical appears to be listing based site, much on the lines of Shiksha, providing both free listings and paid listings. The paid listings allow candidates to contact colleges, and share testimonials, placement details etc.

While we await the launch of the website, we thought we’d give you a quick run-down of a few services in the education space online:

— Classifieds: Sites like Manorama’s own classifieds section, as well as those of eduation portals like Shiksha, look to provide detailed information on colleges, and in turn, feature paid and free classified listings for monetization
— Cheatsheets: certain sites look to provide quick answers and guides to assignments, particularly to students in the US. Assignments may be standard, or students may be allowed to sell their assignments to others. It’s unethical, but it does bring together buyers and sellers
— Tutoring: Sites like Tutorvista provide online tutoring and test preparations to students
— Expert Advice: Sites like Studyplaces.com, which has received investments from KPCB, Sherpalo and Info Edge (India), seek to provide information about college admission, as well as expert advice. The model here is likely to be lead generation for education consultants, who help international universities get enrollments.
— Test Related Communities: Sites like Coolavenues and PagalGuy.com are essentially communities wherein students preparing for the CAT, GMAT or GRE exams collaborate and help each other prepare. These are usually driven by the goodwill, and monetization may be through advertising of institutes online. One great example of building a sense of community is PG Connect from PagalGuy, which allows students who have received calls from the same institute to connect with each other.
— Premium Membership/Selling Tests: One key opportunity is in providing test-preparation kits, or selling tests. Coaching classes often end a few months to a few weeks before a particular test, and students need to keep taking tests in order to remain prepared for the final test. Some communities sell preparation tests online: PagalGuy Shop is an example. Other communities have a premium (paid) membership, which allow users access to regular tests.

Update:
Distribution of admission forms: Another key service is providing examination forms online. Usually, colleges and universities use banks to distribute forms, or email forms to students to send a Demand Draft for them. The Internet may help increase distribution of forms.

Our sense is that the community is key to this space – students helping each other builds brand and a sense of belongingness, and the word of mouth brings more and more students on board. Admission alerts are a means of encouraging repeat usage, while at the same time, providing a key service. Monetization needs to be done carefully, so as not to alienate the community.

P.s.: If you think we’ve missed out any services/monetization models in the online education space, please add details in the comments. We’ll update, giving due credit.

Related:
Manorama Group Launches Matrimonial Site; Other Classifieds To Move To Verticals?