Reliance Communications has partnered with blue collar jobs portal Babajob.com to bring the classifieds onto the mobile. Bangalore-based Babajob claims to have 80,000 registered users and covers 21 states. The target user is currently urban poor, but could soon grow to include rural users who are seeking jobs in nearby cities. For the rural space, there are jobs portals like Chaakri.in by SREI Sahaj and RozgarDuniya (an ITC e-Choupal – Monster India initiative).
The mobile portal Babajob.com/mo/ is available in five languages – Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil & English. Partnering with telcos such as Airtel, Idea Cellular and now RCOM is one of the steps the company is taking in its goal of digitizing the job seeking process, according to a presentation by the company. Its plans to build the ecosystem include social networking sites such as Orkut, Facebook and its own Babalife.com to connect job seekers with employers, so users can “help a job seeker” or recommend them. It launched an open social application for Orkut in May 2008. It is also conducting pilots for Internet kiosks, according to another company presentation.
RCOM subscribers can access the site on R-World and use it either to hire cooks, maids and drivers (posting an ad is free) or sign up for job alerts. It offers Naukri and Jobsahead classifieds on its mobile portal R-World. It also offers auto classifieds and we can expect to see a partnership for this too.
Will It Help?
Job classifieds sites are widening their nets to include as many media and reach out to more new users in an attempt to boost sagging revenues. Monster India recently partnered DTH provider Dish TV. Though mobiles have the upper hand when it comes to volume compared to Internet connections in India, usage of GPRS/ mobile Internet has not yet gained traction. Hence we do not see other incumbent job portals such as Naukri or Monster India growing their WAP portals beyond plain vanilla job search. Instead, an SMS-alerts based subscription service and a search makes more sense. Babajob plans to monetise the access to jobs on mobile. It sends over 1 million job alerts per month.
Text-free Job Portal; Advantage Mobile
Babajob is attempting to build an image and speech based version of their portal for illiterate job seekers and users of its portal. Text-Free BabaJob is in a Beta, but it appears to be growing into a service that will bridge the technology gap for uneducated unemployed.
Images of various professions, salary, distance, with a voice recording that plays on mouse-over have replaced text. The voice recording is in Kannada with some common words in English (such as driver) and could be offered in other regional languages. This is something that can pick up very quickly on the mobile, and for a price. They could also offer this as an interactive SMS/MMS, so users without GPRS can access it.
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