CRM is the new website

Back in 2000, the dot com market in India was booming. Every company who wanted to have it’s presence online was scrambling to find domain names, hosting, email solutions, etc. Companies such as Net4India sprung up and came up with offerings with ridiculous prices (some of these offerings still exist to date!). Executives bought these websites thinking that somehow building a website would translate into revenues. In fact even today, the average “Indian IT company” continues to dole out development costs of websites propelled by content management systems (CMS) to be around 5-6 lakhs. If you are lucky, then that figure can go as high as 14-15 lakhs :-) !!

What was the mistake then?

The single minded assumption that building a website will translate into revenues.

I still see folks who nurture this piece of ticking bomb waiting to explode and set their businesses to ruins. As a result, all derived-demand business also went bustville. It took a fair amount of years to clear the damage, and come back on track.

So why bring this up Now?

These days, whomsoever that I am talking (and you can include me in this list as well!!), is thinking about having an online enterprise. A sweet setup, where the person can run a business irrespective of where this aforesaid individual is. There are more than a fair share of success stories around, and these people have become heralded role models.

Yes, the online dream can become true. Yes.

Feels good to hear these words, don’t they? These days I am seeing a lot more structured approach, newsletters, opt-in forms, CRM systems, mass emailing systems, affiliate management systems, advertising networks, etc … the systems are all there. People just need to start using them and start churning the proverbial money mill.

But …

Back then it was IT firms, now I am seeing a large growth of Digital Marketing firms. It’s the same plot, just the players are different now. Organizations are again back to setting up websites, now with complex marketing and sales systems. But how are you doing in terms of sales? Is the juice worth the squeeze?

If you do own a website, could you share with me what are the plans that you are thinking of to generate sales? Are you creating value to generate those sales?

Facebook monetizes

Facebook keeps changing its layout, looks, etc ever so slightly and so constantly that most users do not even notice the changes … until it hits them smack on the head. That’s what I like about these FB Apps, revisit the games after 3 months, and the game has also evolved … it has got more items, more plots … somehow it has become more interesting.

That’s why when I started playing Hero World, I couldnt help but notice that instead of having micro transactions through pay-pal or some such payment gateway, the game also had Facebook credits as a currency source. On further digging, I found that Facebook is offering users to buy Facebook Credits. Users can then exchange these credits with different applications.

Instead of carrying out micro transactions within games, now we can carry them through Facebook itself. Good to see a definitive revenue stream other than eyeballs and ads.

Edit: After seven years, revisiting this post in the December 2017. Facebook now boasts of a robust advertising model.