Banyan Tree Infomedia, a web and software development firm has launched a local listings website focusing on education and hobbies : ExtraPrepare. It currently aggregates content from 8 cities namely: Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bangalore,Kolkata and Chennai. The portal features listings across categories such as schools, adventure activities, dance, music,fitness, martial art classes and vocals among others.
The look of the website is minimalistic and clean. Apart from city specific search, users can also run an area wise search for a specified city in the category of their choice. We found that the website does not have its native search mechanism but uses a Google custom search. It also allows users to list their institutions on the website without any fee.
On the whole, we could not find any distinguishing feature that separates the website from other local search engines, but it is the focus on hobby related content that might well work for the site, and distinguish it from the likes of JustDial, AskMe etc.
It’s worth noting that ExtraPrepare has a ‘What Are You Looking For’ form on the right of listing pages, which require users to share their contact details alongwith their requirements (in less than 500 characters). This could well be serve as a mode of monetization, as a lead generation mechanism. Most local search businesses monetize by offering details of potential customers to clients. In addition, it could also monetize with featured listings.
Some points of concern:
– Lacks rating and reviews: The search results does not have the provision of reviews and ratings. We believe that these play a crucial role. They help the users to judge the credibility of the institution and hence helping them in their decision making process.
– Photos: It is always helpful to provide the option for viewing photographs as users might be interested to see the institute or academy before they visit.
– Limited Content: The website is presently low on content. Why would anybody even visit this website when there are other established players in this space that provide greater number of search results ?
There is room for improvements and various new deployments. ExtraPrepare can come up with a mobile site as it will help the users to browse through their listings on the go and may start a nation-wide or city specific helpline number that can assist their customers to get instant access to the desired information.
(With inputs from Nikhil Pahwa)