IBNLive, the portal for Network18’s English news channel CNN-IBN, has been revamped to give it a relatively cleaner look, moving significantly away from its usual red-black-white look. However, while scrolling through the pages of this revamped, you can’t help but feel that feeling that you’ve been there before. That’s because, even though there are minor, nuanced differences, the design is remarkably similar to NDTV.com. People like me, whose primary source of news is via journalists and readers on Twitter, I guess we’ll have take a second look to check whether the site opened is NDTV.com or IBNLive. Content pages at TimesofIndia.com has also been recently overhauled, and are much easier on the eye.

Note that Arunava Sinha, who joined Web18 earlier this year as Head of IBNLive and CricketNext, was previously Chief Product Officer at NDTV Convergence; NDTV.com was redesigned around a year ago. I preferred the previous IBNLive design (and don’t like the NDTV.com design), but thankfully, the new look IBNLive isn’t awash with ads. About the design similarities, remember that a couple of years ago, the AOL.com and Sify.com homepages were remarkably similar to the Yahoo homepage.

Comparing IBNLive Blaze With NDTV Social

But what’s perhaps more interesting is the launch of Blaze, and how different it is in approach to NDTV Social: While NDTV Social operates on a social-network like format with groups (and integrating Facebook and Twitter updates), it is quite like Facebook with its news-feed and responses interface. For example, take a look at Ravish Kumar’s profile).

Blaze has chosen not to take that approach, instead, it’s almost like a profile and an aggregator page for the journalist. Take a look at Suhasini Haidar‘s page, which doesn’t allow comment on the stories like in case of NDTV Social, but a ‘shoutbox on the right’. I’m not sure if it’s kosher for IBNLive to publish users’ email addresses on the shoutbox, though.

The features I really like in Blaze are ‘Ask’ and ‘Answer’, the first of which allows readers to ask journalists questions, and the latter which allows them to raise issues, and ask for reader opinion. IBNLive also intends to hold live chats with journalists, like in case of NDTV Social. Another key differentiator: CNN-IBN journalists blog, unlike most of those at NDTV. To me, Blaze appears a lot less social than NDTV Social: i’d prefer the integration of comments with the news stories.

Related:
— NDTV Launches NDTVSocial