My first association with blogging happened in 2003 when my mom bought the ‘Google Cash Cow’ CDs out of curiosity. Marketed as the ultimate money making machine with free hosting and free website that supposedly let’s you make millions in a short span of time, the Indian blogging industry has gone beyond the Google Cash Cow’s and evolved as a strong publishable medium, with the number of professional tech bloggers, personal bloggers and business bloggers on the rise.
Before I go further, let me point out that Indian blogging industry is not well documented. Whatever we know are from rare market surveys and reports.
Dominant Blogging Statistics
English is the dominant language; however, blogging in other vernacular languages like Tamil, Hindi, Telugu and Marathi are on the rise too.
According to the data released by the We Are Social, a social media agency, 8% of the Indian population, which is about 100,000,000 people, is internet users and among them, only 15% of them are involved in blogging.
MSN Live survey of 2006 says that men dominate the Indian blogosphere and WatBlog.com says blogging in India is popular only with a certain section of society. On the basis of the above data, two things are worth noticing:
- Male bloggers are more visible in the Indian blogosphere. Take a look at any business blogs or those typical ‘making money from blogging’ sites, the webmasters are all male. Call this a lack of knowledge or simple complacence, women professional bloggers from India are hard to find. Most of the women bloggers use the blogging medium as personal diaries only.
- Blogging is class-based, to a certain extent. This is because internet penetration in India’s rural heartland is negligible. Moreover, 72% of Indian population lives in the rural areas, which is more than the combined population of USA and Western Europe!
What do Indians Blog About?
Indian bloggers have multifarious purposes for blogs. While the numbers of newbie mommy blogs from India are on the rise, many others take to professional blogging as well. Look at Amit Agarwal from Labnol.org, one of the most respected Indian blogger. Here is a brief account of most popular blogging niches in India:
1. Technology – It is not without reason that India is known as the ‘tech hub’. There is a rising number of tech bloggers within the age group of 19-25 year bracket.
2. Cricket – The gentleman’s game is a religion in India (*not a bit exaggerating*). Thousands of blogs are dedicated to cricket, encompassing every aspect of the game.
3. Finance – Finance blogging is a popular niche too. One can find blogs / columns / stories / expert tips from finance experts on top finance blogs like AbhishekRungta.com and MoneyControl.com.
4. Business / PR – India is growing in the SME sector and with high influx of corporate investment, cross-cultural business relations have grown significantly in which blogs like WATBlog.com, BuyerBehavior.org, Trak.in, CapitalMind.in are popular.
5. Coupons – There are blogs that strictly cater to audiences who are on the lookout of online coupons for eCommerce purchases. The coupons-based blogs sell coupons and vouchers at less than market rate and make money.
These are the five main categories of blogging. Of course, there are personal blogs too but when we talk about niches, these are the main ones.
Do Indian Bloggers Earn?
I recently came across a 14-year old who earns about 1000 USD per month from his blog! Quite an achievement for this young guy but what I am saying is that making money through blogging is a main motivation for the young Indian bloggers, especially when it comes to advertisement earnings.
Admittedly, AdSense revenue earning is the prime source, followed by InfoLinks.com, Chitika.com and others. Indian blog monetization is in a phase where US blogs, specifically, were in 2004-2006. Therefore, there is a lot to be learned because what we are doing now is going with ‘tried and tested’ paths rather than concentrating on innovation.
Anyways, after advertisement earning come those blogs which are solution-oriented like Blog Consultancy, Writing Services, Tech Training, SEO Services and others.
Blogging Controversies and Regulations
The Indian blogging industry has received more negative coverage than positive ones, making people see this field with unnecessary skepticism. Corporate bigwigs like Infosys and Wipro have come out with ‘blogging guidelines’ for its employees, which if violated, can lead to severe penalties and in some cases, termination of employment.
Whether it is the case of blogger Chautanya Kunte portraying the famous journalist, Barkha Dutt from NDTV, in negative light or the case of blogger Gaurav Sabnis, critically writing about Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), the term “freedom of expression” does not bode well with the Indian government.
It seems that the government is going the ‘Chinese’ way, curbing internet freedom and surrounding it with bureaucracy. In March 2011, amendments to the IT Rules Act directed Internet Service Providers to direct the general public and bloggers as to what consists of publishable and non-publishable content, giving the ISPs right to block content from user access.
Nevertheless, to wrap up this discussion, Indian blogging is a billion dollar industry when combined with eCommerce. Blogging is a profitable field, provided one follows certain rules and regulations. However, there are some, including me, who think that the power of blogging should be used aesthetically. From India’s perspective, blogging has potential, more when Internet access reaches more people and users are sensitized about the concept and potential of ‘blogging’.