Yahoo Shuts Down Indian Social Network SpotM
Yahoo's track record with social networks is nothing to brag about and it's not getting any better. Not even a year old, the Indian social networking venture Yahoo SpotM gets the axe after never exiting the private beta period. SpotM was Yahoo's shot at getting in the growing Indian market, where social networks are becoming more and more popular, aiming at the 16-24 age group.
"Dear SpotM User, SpotM was a communications product that we were experimenting within India. As of September 1, 2009, we will be closing the site and it will no longer be accessible. We sincerely thank you for your participation and your valuable feedback. - The SpotM Team," the site read just prior to the closure.
SpotM is completely erased from history right now, with the old URL redirecting to the Yahoo India homepage with no trace of the old site. It's safe to assume that the site never really took off, or Yahoo shifted focus, but the SpotM social network actually had some things going for it. For starters, it launched in a very receptive market in which its competitors have seen steady growth; social networking is growing all over the world, though.
But, most importantly, it actually had some features that could have proved very interesting and suited for the location. One feature was the possibility to add "private" friends that would function just like regular friends except other users would be unaware of the connection. The site also offered some mobile phone integration with anonymous SMS chat allowing users to conceal their phone numbers.
Still, it didn't manage to gain any traction, or Yahoo lost interest, leaving Google and Facebook to duke it out for the market. Facebooks is very popular in India, just like in the rest of the world, with 7.5 million users in July and growing fast but the market leader is Google's Orkut, the social network largely unknown in the US, with 16 million unique visitors. In fact, Orkut's popularity in India is only surpassed by its reach in Brazil that makes up close to 50 percent of its user base.