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Update: Rediff Chairman and CEO Ajit Balakrishnan, in an emailed response, has told MediaNama that the company cannot comment on products under development; we’ll update with details when the company is ready to talk.

Update: As @codelust rightly points out in the comments, Rediff is migrating RediffBlogs users to WordPress MU. They’re using WordPress 2.7.1, while the latest version of WordPress is 2.8.4.

Over the past few days, Indian Internet company Rediff appears to have begun the process of moving users over from Rediff iLand, it’s blog based community, to its blogging platform Rediff Blogs: Rediff Chairman and CEO Ajit Balakrishnan’s blog has been migrated from iLand, as has the old Cricket blog of Rediff and India Abroad editor Prem Panicker. A user has ranted (in Hindi written with English text) about issues faced with Rediff iLand.

When contacted regarding the companys plans for Rediff iLand and Rediff Blogs, Rediff CTO Venkateshwar Nishtala declined to comment. Several attempts at contacting the Rediff spokesperson since yesterday morning have failed to yield a response. We’ll update when we have more on their plans.

All New Rediff Blogs? Migration To WordPress

Though users are being moved from iLand to Rediff Blogs, I was still able to sign up for both services yesterday: frankly, what’s the point of Rediff running two blogging platforms?

The basic look and feel of Rediff Blogs hasn’t changed significantly since it first launched in 2003 (April, I think, since I had signed up then). Some of the new sites feature themes similar to WordPress Themes: Panickers Sight Screen (an excellent read), has a theme based on the Inanis Glass theme, while Carrington appears to be the standard theme in use. Rediff Blogs have only now incorporated Tags, Categories, and the ability to email posts to friends. Wordpress has had these features for years, and Blogger introduced them a few years ago as well. Update: Rediffblogs has been migrated to WordPress MU.

Rediff iLand vs Rediff Blogs

Rediff iLand is a much more powerful a concept that Rediff Blogs: with bloggers forming communities and no blogger an island unto himself, Rediff iLand (earliest archived version: October 2005) allowed blog pages to showcase not just the bloggers content, but those of his friends. See an example here. Iland does support Indic languages – Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telgu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, and Gujarati.

However, there were issues with the rendering of text (special characters – example). Yesterday, I was unable to publish a post on Rediff iLand while using Chrome, though Rediff Blogs worked just fine. But what really killed Rediff iLand for me, was that for the longest time, I had to register for iLand in order to leave a comment.