Archive for December, 2008

Interview with Tripmela CEO – Jared Blank – Post Shutdown Announcement

This is an exclusive interview with Jared Blank,CEO Tripmela.com which recently went on sale on Ebay. Business India 2.0 was the first to cover the same.

Q1. What has changed since the time you started out till recent time. Is it the effect of financial meltdown affecting all industries in terms of advertising budget cut or you were not able to raise cash to further product development to sustain and get bigger audience scale?

Pretty much everything has changed since we launched.  The OTA market attracted new companies quickly – too quickly – which lead to overspending and then, all of a sudden, to a cutback in spending.  Other industries cutback as well, especially in online display advertising.  Advertising slowed down, and we were unable to raise additional funds.  We should have focused more on developing unique content, which would have helped with SEO.  That would’ve driven traffic, which would’ve helped with the CPC and CPA advertising programs on our site.

Q2.Is the site(digital assets) in its current pristine stage available up for sale or is their any existing liabilities or commitments which come with it?

There are no existing liabilities or commitments.  We believe that with a bit of financial backing, a company can grow Tripmela to be a large, profitable business.  Unfortunately, we just didn’t have the resources to invest.  As Travelzoo’s success has shown, the business model works.

Q3. Why choose ebay as medium to sell such an asset.Wouldnt approaching existing players in Indian market like zoomtra or ixigo would have fetched higher price?

We felt that selling it on eBay would be a great way to market the sale of the business.  We are talking with interested companies, certainly.  But we have been able to let more people know about the sale through eBay than if we had sold it in the more typical fashion.

Q4. Is there any reserve price in the bid or you will let it go based on the market dynamics or valuation of property?

We haven’t set a reserve price.  We feel that it will attract an offer that reflects its value in the marketplace.

Q5. What are the plans for the founders once the selling process is over?

I don’t have plans set yet.  I’d be very interested in helping transition to the new owners and working with them to grow the email list, if they’re interested.  I think Tripmela’s biggest strength was the ability to grow the list at a reasonable cost.  I have an idea for a new business, but in the current marketplace, investors seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach for now.

I think so this also stands true for lot of other players in market as well. Players like zoomtra, ixigo etc seems to be well funded and have adapted to changes in indian travel industry  which works different from the US industry where number of travel suppliers requires selection products like travel meta search engine or deal aggregators like travelzoo.

Update: (Private commentry with Aloke has been removed)

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Tripmela.com – up for sale on Ebay – Bubble Burst is happening all over!!

This is just in tripmela.com an online deal aggregator newsletter has decided to shut shop. This was an email which came in from Jared Blank CEO,Trip mela.

“Given all of the upheaval in the market, we’ve decided to close up shop.  We’ve done everything we can, but we don’t see an end in sight to the slowing travel and advertising market, and we simply don’t have the cash to ride it out.

We’ve put the business up for sale on eBay India – we’re selling Tripmela.com, Searchmela.com and – what I think is actually most valuable – our 80,000 member opt-in email list.  You can see the listing here:
http://cgi.ebay.in/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=300279667102

It looks like first effect of recession on Dot com’s are becoming clearer and models which were based around audience aggregation and monetization via advertising will see the first ripple shaking their foundation. Lot of Action was seen in last 2 years in travel space with travelguru completely changing its model from flights to being dependent on Hotels which came from their acquisition of desiya.

It will be interesting to get commentary from other travel players like ixigo,zoomtra etc and get their reaction on impact current recession is having on their business model.

Amazon.com enters Digital Advertising Business with Adzinia

While searching for news on new Ad networks being launched in the US and what is motivating entreprenuers to still get into this crowded space, stumbled upon Adzinia’s job listing looking for people required to run an ad network. Little bit of more searching on the internet helped me to draw a final picture.

Adzinia is an Amazon.com company with prime objective of monetizing Display Inventory across its web properties. Currently they are concetrating on the US market. Amazon.com owns few of the worlds biggest properties like amazon.com , imdb.com, alexa.com etc.

Currently Alexa is being monetized via Bannerconnect a Norway based Ad Network and IMDB has advertising coming in from Ad.com.

It will be interesting to figure out with changing dynamics in this industry where Ad Exchanges are the new level is such a company being used by Amazon just to consolidate and manage it business on exchanges or anything other is specifically being looked into it. Publisher lead ad networks is not something new and have been successfully executed previously by likes of AOL with ad.com etc.

Amazon itself has years of experience in running s Affilate programwhich will surely give them armour in running a successful operations and analytics division which form core for any ad network.


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December 2008
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