Rarely do I come across consumer portals from large media houses which are remarkable. Either there is a really bad design or most functions are just placer holder texts. TimesCity’s revamped look, launched few months back, surprised me.
TimesCity.com is probably the oldest web property for food and nightlife in India. The Times Food and Nightlife guides have been hot seller with the travelers and the Times Food Guide Awards is amongst few authorities on eatouts in Indian metros. All this is a perfect brand identity for any consumer portal and with the new avatar, TimesCity is in for seriously competing in a space dominated by startups.
Lots of data points and first hand editor’s review is what sets TimesCity above other palyers in the space. Efforts on design, SEO, user participation are clearly visible. Multiple editorial lists, time based recommendations and click to call feature is little seen at other portals.
The site currently serves food and nightlife data only for 7 major cities. The next obvious extension is events, for which they already have the data from their print partner so it’s just a matter of time. Indiatimes also has a newsletter, Weekender, which could be complementing the TimesCity’s offerings.
On the traffic front they aren’t doing well enough, still early days to talk much. The site currently is being promoted through the group’s print properties and across the web through Adsense. The organic traffic will be the real proof though.
The major competition for Timescity.com is with the likes of Burrp and Foodiebay and little with JustDial or AskLaila.
Indiatimes had earlier partnered with Onoymo for their local search on 58888 and i believe it continues to extend that on TimesCity as well.
[Naman is a startup enthusiast and has worked with couple of Indian startups as Product Manager. He writes at The Inspire Blog]