(Updated below with excerpts from the Interview with Faisal Farooqui)
User reviews portal Mouthshut has launched a new mobile site m.mouthshut.com, reports Afaqs. According to the company, the site was developed in HTML5 and CSS3 and works across both smartphones and feature phones. The report also states that the site was launched as part of the company’s strategy to have a strong mobile presence. Faisal Farooqui, CEO, Mouthshut.com claims that the portal is registering a 500-600% growth in mobile traffic and that the company plans to spend 50% of its budget on the mobile platform this year.
Our Take: We tried it on an Android phone. The site has been divided into four different sections – Explore, Express, Search and My Profile, followed by a keyword-based search box. The site has been optimized for the mobile screen and is touch friendly with large buttons for links, listings and sections in the homepage.
The Explore section allows users to browse through user reviews, blogs, quick updates, polls and photos pertaining to different products from various Mouthshut users, while the Express section allows one to post reviews, blogs, quick updates, create polls and upload photos, accessible through a navigation bar on the top, by entering their Mouthshut account credentials.
Similar to how the desktop website works, users can choose any category from a drop down list, start typing in a product for the text box to offer probable product suggestions and post their opinions about the product. The site also allows users to upload and attach images (<5 MB) and videos (<100 MB) to their review.
The search section allows users to search for product reviews across various categories that Mouthshut currently caters to, while My profile section allows users to browse through their action summary as well as edit their profile. One significant thing missing in the mobile site as compared to the desktop version is the notification section, which notifies Mouthshut users of new messages and other account related activities.
Although a mobile optimized version will indeed benefit users who access the service on the move for reviews, we're not sure if they'll post long reviews via their phones.
We’ve also written to Mouthshut to know more about the company’s plans on mobile apps and a price comparison engine, and will update this post as soon as we get a response.
Update: In conversation with Medianama, Faisal Farooqui, CEO of Mouthshut.com, said that they launched the mobile website on July 11, after a month of beta testing. He claimed that the company clocked more than 13,000 unique visitors on the mobile site on the first day of the launch and the following day, they clocked around 15,000 unique visitors, registering a 20% growth in traffic within a day. He hoped that the mobile site will touch 100,000 unique visitors from mobile devices also, by October 2012.
When asked if readers will be comfortable posting reviews from their mobile phones, Farooqui said that they launched the mobile site based on the user demand and the initial response to their mobile site has been good till now.
Apart from this mobile site, Farooqui stated that they also have plans to launch native standalone mobile apps by December 2012. However considering the low penetration of smartphones in India, they believe that the mobile optimized website will cater to more users and plan to add improvements to the mobile site every week.
In August 2011, Farooqui had stated that Mouthshut will be adding a price comparison engine shortly. He said that they are currently testing several ideas for price comparison internally and plan to add this feature soon. He claimed that unlike other price comparison engines, Mouthshut will focus on around 20 verticals and more than 200 product categories including cars, bikes, electronic items, restaurants, travel, health and beauty among others.