Mail.ru Group and DST backed uCoz, a free website builder, has entered the Indian market with domain uCoz.in. It can be used to create different types of websites ranging from blogs to forums and corporate websites to online stores.
uCoz claims to have about 1.2 million active websites currently. It found success in Europe by offering versions of its websites in various local languages and it will continue the same strategy in India. The company plans to support Hindi, which will increase the total number of languages supported to 17. The company hasn’t mentioned if they plan to support other Indian languages yet.
Founded in 2005 by a team of developers from Ukraine, uCoz is headquartered in Moscow, Russia. Though most of the basic features of the site are available for free, one will need to pay to remove ads, to add e-shop module and for redirecting the website to a custom domain. Pricing tiers range from $3.09 a month to $10.99 a month (it is strange that they don’t have the pricing listed in Rupees). Each user gets 400MB of disk space for free through the service and users are free to upload any file format including mp3 and video files. The only restriction is that the file size should be lower than 15MB. uCoz competes with Wix, Webs, Moonfruit, among others.
Earlier this year, uCoz had announced that it’s taking over sites built by Narod, a competing site-building service. 2 million websites were transferred from Yandex-owned Narod as part of this deal, making uCoz the largest site-building company in the Russian market.
Our take: These services made sense back when hosting was costly and one had to call in specialists to build a website. However, now that hosting is very cheap and plenty of templates are available off-the-shelf, it’s hard to see the relevance of such services. Also, Google has been pretty aggressive about getting small business online in India and it has offered some very good deals for those trying to build websites for the first time. With such offers around, why would anyone in India use uCoz or any of its competitors?