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Turning 3 Today…Onwards & Upwards

As MediaNama turns three years today, if there is one thing that I have to be thankful for, it is the help and the support that we receive from so many of you – on our site, by email, through our anonymous tip box, on twitter, on facebook, on the phone, and in person. We get advice, connections, tips, critique, fan-mail, criticism, praise, code…it’s not lost on us that for the most bit, apart from tremendous support from family and close friends, you, on the Internet, are a part of a crucial support system for us.

With your support, we’ve stuck to our mandate of providing analysis and perspective on this ever-changing digital industry: breaking-views that hopefully help change your perspective of this industry. If, in our own little way, we’ve been able to make a difference to the evolution of this digital industry by helping you understand it better – either by asking the right questions or providing answers – we would have done justice to the hours we put in.

The last four months have been particularly great for us, at least in the way we’re trying to expand our horizons – with MediaNama Charts and AppNama; our efforts with the Right To Information Act have yielded promising results, and we have a lot more data that we intend to release over the next few months. Some of you have asked us to build an industry database, and the work on DataNama is in process. We are also planning the definitive conference for the Indian digital industry, one that will focus on providing value for the audience, by helping them understand the ecosystem and its nuances better. Some of this will take time, but we’ll keep at it.

But, in case you hadn’t noticed, there wasn’t a Turning 2 post last year. The work that we do requires resources, and the only way we can scale it, is if we have more resources at our disposal. Business-wise, June and July appear to be tough months for us, and last year was particularly tough. Cashflows were low, and we began to realize how difficult it is to operate as a small publisher online, especially when you’re dealing with agencies. Agencies take much too long to make payments to publishers, and for smaller publishers like us, the delay can hinder growth because you’re always struggling for cash. Businesses are built on turning around cash, and the quicker the turnaround time, the faster the growth. If cash doesn’t come in, the business struggles to grow.

At that point in time, IMI Mobile was the only company supporting with advertisements – they advertised with us for a full year after that – and my thinking was, if our business is going to work with agencies, then it will never scale. If you look at those who came before us – whether afaqs, exchange4media or VCCircle – they haven’t relied on agencies but direct advertisers for the most bit. We set a deadline of September 30th 2010 for signing up advertisers on long term deals – a suggestion we got from Mahesh Murthy. We inked two advertiser deals in September, Hazel Media and One97, Indiatimes in November and MediaTek in December, and we had a great run until a few months ago. What this has meant is, that we’re able to hire more people, experiment more with content formats (MediaNama Charts is my favorite example), and look at new properties, and do things that we believe will make a difference. A senior editor told me recently that even though he thinks we’re doing great content, he doesn’t think great content can scale. I’ve been hearing this for the last three years, but if you ask me, I’d rather that we try and make a difference and try and provide insight, instead of doing a post on iPhone or Micromax phone pricing in India to push up pageviews. That’s not at the core of what we do.

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Whatever we’ve done so far wouldn’t have been possible without the support from my family and many close friends (you know who you are). Thanks due also to other entrepreneurs and industry veterans who have been there to offer advice on difficult situations. Special thanks due to Rakesh Bhatt, who has been with us for over two of these three years – our office works without many hiccups because of him; Also great to have on board with us Anupam Saxena and Sarita Pacheco, who’ve joined earlier this year, and have adapted rather quickly to our crazy and impusive work life in such a short period of time. Our thanks also due to Sandeep Singh of Anagha Media, who started us off on sales with generous support, and to Saurabh Sinha of CentruMedia who has been our backbone in sales from the Addroit days; to our partners Visual Data for MediaNama Charts, Boring Brands for Branding & Communications (we’re just getting started), Schematic Digital for this design (which now needs a rethink, I think) and E2E Networks for the hosting. A big thanks also due to everyone who has ever advertised with us: Hazel MediaIMI MobileIndiatimesJasper Infotech / SnapDealLe Grand, Nazara Technologies, OperaOne97 CommunicationsMediaTek, Spice DigitalTyntecWeb18 and Yahoo India.Thank you.

Thank you for the suggestions: we’ve got a checklist, and we’ll try and tick things off it one by one. Your expectations drive us – sometimes, a mail or a message that says “how come you haven’t written about this?” gives us just the push we need to get going. The party that everyone wanted, is day after tomorrow. After that, I’m taking a 17 day Himalayan sanyaas to take a much needed break: from July 1st to 17th, Anupam Saxena (anupam@medianama.com) will be in charge of MediaNama. Though I might do a post on data connectivity in Leh, Year Four begins for me when I get back, and there’s a lot to be done. If there’s something that you think we should do that can help the digital space, let me know – nikhil@medianama.com.

Nikhil Pahwa,
Editor & Publisher, Mixed Bag Media.

Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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