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Indiatimes launches voice-based social networking and blogging platform
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<img style="float:left; margin: 0px 10px 0px 0px ;" src="http://www.afaqs.com/news/news_story_grfx/2010/27686_1.jpg"/>
Indiatimes.com has developed a voice-based social networking and blogging platform, called 'HiBuddy', for mobile phone users.

Similar to internet- based social networking sites and blogs, HiBuddy will enable mobile phone users to create their own profile and network of friends, send voice messages and also record their voice posts or clippings, which can be shared with or accessed by other members.

For this, users will be required to call a number (58888199) and follow the interactive voice response (IVR) system to create their profile, add friends and record voice clips. "Whenever a user posts a new voice clip on his profile or blog, his HiBuddy friends will get an SMS update, which can be followed to listen to the post," an Indiatimes.com spokesperson tells afaqs!.

Apart from social networking and voice blogging, the platform will offer dedicated voice content channels, which will be created by the company. Similar to video channels on video-sharing sites, the voice channels will be a storehouse of voice-clips related to different categories of content. For instance, HiBuddy will have a cookery-related channel, where mobile phone users can listen to voice-clips for different recipes. There will be channels related to jokes, cars and bikes and dating.

Initially, the platform will be made available only to users of Reliance Mobile. Later, it will be accessible with other mobile service providers as well. The platform will also have its online presence, HiBuddy.in, where users can create their profile and access a few other services.

On the business model, the spokesperson says, "Users will have to pay Rs 15 every month as subscription fee and Re 1 per minute as voice charges for accessing HiBuddy." The revenue earned by the mobile operator will be shared with Indiatimes. The spokesperson declined to comment further on the revenue-sharing arrangement. Apart from earning revenue through voice and subscription fees, the company may also explore advertising or offering branded voice-content channels.

Details in afaqs
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