Updates: have updated the post below with responses from a TIL exec

Update: Indiatimes CEO Rishi Khiani informs MediaNama that Active Deals will become a part of TimesDeal.

Earlier Today: Times Internet Ltd (Indiatimes)* has launched a new deals site – TimesDeal, reports Pluggd.in, though missing the point that this doesn’t mark Indiatimes’ entry into the deals space. TimesDeal is the second “deals” venture from the group – the first, ActiveDeals, was launched as a mobile first initiative, over two years ago, much before online group buying and couponing space attracted herds of Venture Capitalists. Active Deals is still operational – an update was rolled out a little over a month ago.

You probably wouldn’t be wrong in asking whether it’s a “the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing” situation; specifically, which of the two (TimesDeal and ActiveDeals) is an Indiatimes initiative, and which are from Times response (the groups sales division). It will be unusual if both are from Indiatimes (only), unless Indiatimes and Indiatimes 58888 are also just as far apart.

Update: A TIL exec responds: The biz models are separate. Both hands know about each other but are purposely independent because they approach different customers. Activedeals is mobile centric, Timesdeal is an independent brand thats web-centric. Mobile (via sms) is only an extension for timesdeal; similarly activedeals is mobile centric with a web extension.

Differences Between ActiveDeals and TimesDeal

Our take on the differences between the two initiatives:

– Monetization: ActiveDeals is primarily a discount coupons venture, which doesn’t require any prepayment. In comparison, TimesDeal like couponing ventures like SnapDeal, TimesDeal requires a prepayment from a consumer, so money is collected up front. We’re not sure of ActiveDeals’ revenue model (no answers when we had asked), so our guess would be a listing fee or a per coupon fee from the merchant, and free for the user, apart from mobile voice portal revenue.

Update: A TIL exec responds, saying that “Activedeals earns on subscription revenue from customer”

– Reach: TimesDeal covers Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai. In comparison, ActiveDeals is available for 25 cities.
– Number of deals: ActiveDeals lists many coupons while TimesDeal has a single deal.
Update: A TIL exec responds, saying that the service has just been launched, and is likely to expand to more cities / more deals per city in near future.
– Call to action: TimesDeal’s deal countdown is almost a call to action, and the focus on “Today’s Deals” pushes customers to buy now, indicating that the deal is going to expire. With ActiveDeals, multiple deals are available online.
– Deal Site Vs Aggregator: The other interesting facet to note about ActiveDeals is that it partners with other sites – Bqlub.com, FoodieBay, UPto75 and mydala.com, so it appears to be more of a platform. At first glance, TimesDeal doesn’t appear to be an aggregator.
– Delivery: TimesDeal delivers the coupon both via email and SMS. In case of ActiveDeals (as per its website), it is SMS only.
Update: A TIL exec says that cash on delivery is also allowed on Timesdeal

The Opportunity & The Challenge

We’d like to see if, like Indiatimes Shopping, TimesDeal becomes a part of the groups print push – if they start surfacing daily deals in the newspaper. This, in our opinion, is an opportunity for Times Response to flex its reach, and involve city specific deals. In our opinion, the company should combine the two initiatives into a single brand (TimesDeal), with a platform agnostic approach, and reporting to a single business head. Else, turf wars within the group will hamper growth.

Note: this is our take based on what we’ve seen. We’ll update in case we get any inputs from Indiatimes on TimesDeal.

*Disclosure: Indiatimes is an advertiser with MediaNama