Airtel Money and Axis Bank announce partnership for financial inclusion

Bharti Airtel and Axis Bank have announced a partnership enabling customers to open no-frills savings account on Airtel Money platform.

With the partnership, no-frills savings account of Axis Bank will be opened for customers on the Airtel Money platform called ‘airtel money Super Account powered by Axis Bank’ offering customers banking transactions including cash deposit, money transfer and withdrawal. These accounts will provide convenient, safe and secure savings avenue to Financial Inclusion customers’ paying them savings account interest and also enabling them to make remittances.

To begin with, savings and remittance solutions will be provided in the top four remittance corridors involving Delhi and Mumbai on the sending side and Bihar and East UP on the receiving side. Thereafter these services may be extended to other remittance corridors in the country. Gradually other banking products and services like micro Recurring Deposits, micro Fixed Deposits, small loans and micro-insurance products will also be provided through this platform.

The ‘airtel money Super Account poweredby Axis Bank’ offers the following key features:

  • A no-frills account of Axis Bank on the Airtel Money platform
  • Cash Deposit / Withdrawal from authorised ‘airtel money – Axis Bank’ outlets
  • Remittance of funds to other ‘airtel money Super Accounts’
  • Remittance to other bank accounts through NEFT (to be enabled soon)
  • Savings bank interest on balances

The focused target segment of the ‘airtel money Super Account powered by Axis Bank’ will be remittance corridors and unbanked areas, where there is greater need of easy money transfers and savings, which will be possible with this account and the need for other financial products like deposits, insurance, loans etc. that will get enabled soon. Going forward, the mobile platform can also facilitate other micro-payments. Such collaboration between India’s leading mobile and banking services providers represents a model partnership meant for making the idea of inclusive banking a reality for customers in India.

Airtel Money went live PAN-India early this year and at the same time, Nokia shutdown Nokia Money, as as part of company’s drive to focus on the core key areas.

Airtel is also in talks with banks to expand the Airtel Money to an open-wallet service, enabling consumers to withdraw the money (right now, you can only use the money for electronic transactions).

Recommended Read: How does airtel money work?

Report: Mobile Payment Readiness Score : Singapore tops the chart, India at number 21

Ybrant to acquire $283 million business from Experian, Including PriceGrabber

Ybrant Digital, the leading global digital marketing company announced today that it has entered into an agreement to purchase PriceGrabber, LowerMyBills, and ClassesUSA.com. ybrant

From the release:

Experian, the global information services company, announced the news simultaneously in London today on an agreement to sell PriceGrabber, its price comparison shopping business which powers Yahoo! and MSN shopping. Continue reading Ybrant to acquire $283 million business from Experian, Including PriceGrabber

After Kolkata, Airtel launches 4G in Bangalore

After launching 4G services in Kolkata last month, Airtel has now launched the services in Bengaluru today. Though this was revealed at the Kolkata conference itself, the actual launch was something Bengaluru was looking forward to. With this the city now becomes the second in India to have access to cutting-edge 4G LTE technology that delivers the most advanced wireless broadband experience available across the globe. Airtel 4G will allow superfast access to High Definition (HD) video streaming, multiple chatting, instant uploading of photos and much more.

The company has launched four tariff plans for its users. The first plan ‘Break free’ has a data transfer limit of 6GB and is priced at Rs. 999. The second ‘Break free Max’ pack is available for a monthly rental of Rs. 1,399 with a data transfer limit of 9 GB; and the third ‘Break free Ultra’ has data transfer limit of 18GB and is priced at Rs. 1,999 monthly. ‘Break Free Ultimate’ the fourth tariff plan is priced at Rs. 2,999 with a limit of 30 GB.

As reported earlier, during the Kolkata launch, the 4G dongle and indoor CPE with Wi-Fi are priced steeply at Rs. 7,999 and Rs. 7,750 respectively. As part of an exciting introductory offer customers subscribing to the 4G Ultra & Ultimate plans will now be given a cashback for the CPE/dongle from the bills over 24 months.

Airtel 4G users can also choose from a catalogue of over 35 high quality Bollywood movie titles. While 10 movie titles will be available free of cost during the first month, movie buffs can thereafter pay a monthly subscription of Rs. 149 to watch unlimited movies. The company has plans to add on to the existing list of titles in weeks to come.

Also as a first for the telecom industry worldwide, Airtel has introduced ‘Smartbytes’ for 4G that allow customers to buy these add on packs and continue enjoying the 4G experience even after exhausting their monthly data limits.

After the launch of its 4G LTE services in Kolkata and Bengaluru, Airtel is currently working towards rolling out similar services in remaining licence circles. Which state comes next in the list, it is yet to be seen. Till then enjoy seamless data transfers and HD quality videos and photos, courtesy Airtel 4G.

Analyzed: Why LinkedIn acquired Slideshare (and played a role in higher valuation)?

At Pluggd.in, like most of the rest of the world, we received the news of LinkedIn’s acquisition of SlideShare with a huge positive reaction. “Well deserved”, “Finally paid off”, “Awesome” were phrases going around amongst us, as well as on social media and in the responses to the news on the site.

And then we got into a debate. What exactly did LinkedIn buy SlideShare for?

“Community”, said one. Another went into deep thought. The smart one went straight to Google.

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At the beginning of time The story starts to get interesting a little before 2008. Right upto then, Scribd.com – a major competitor to SlideShare, was reigning supreme. In fact, as per Compete.com it still gets more uniques!

Slideshare Vs Scribd
Slideshare Vs Scribd

So while SlideShare has a huge community, they’re clearly not the only one and in fact were not necessarily the largest till recently. They probably matter more – scattered reviews and comments across the internet do reveal that at least some users saw a lot more traction on SlideShare as compared to Scribd, DocStoc – but the sample size was hardly conclusive.

Timeline: 2008 – 2010

2008 was when LinkedIn Applications were announced. SlideShare was not only in there, but also included in LinkedIn’s PR and how-tos as a major “example” of how apps would enrich the LinkedIn experience. Obviously, SlideShare traffic benefitted from that.

In 2010, SlideShare went freemium. Of course, it was a monetization move necessitated by the economic reality of the time, but hey – the possibility of no ads must have been a major “feature” for many – especially the businesses! Inadvertently, SlideShare donned a premium business suit that helped build its case with the serious business guys.

Deep thought contended that SlideShare had influencers – mentors, investors, and other Hands of God. Right from Guy Kawasaki to ‘UX-obsessed’ Dave McClure – and used it to their advantage over the competition. We all agreed that these could’ve had a role to play in their relationships and tie ups, products and monetization strategy. And the execution was brilliant too.

One of us thought that they focused on creating an aspirational brand (good read: Understanding User Needs – The Fundamental Motivation Theory) and fulfilled the desire to ‘be known/appreciated’ for one’s knowledge.

Presentations are a core component of how professionals define and brand their identity. This deal enables professionals to discover people through content, and content through people. We’re excited to figure out the best ways our offerings will work together to help professionals around the world be more productive and successful.

In the meantime, SlideShare users will continue experiencing this great service as always. SlideShare has done a tremendous job of creating a dynamic platform for document sharing that millions of professionals have come to rely on everyday — and it will remain that way.” [Deep Nashar. VP Products]

Counterpoint

So? Every other site out there addressed the same need, didn’t they? And LinkedIn users were able to do this anyhow ever since SlideShare got integrated. Why buy and take the trouble of managing something like this?

Their feature set has grown a lot. So was it a great tool and feature-set that LinkedIn wanted to offer to its users? Their focus on slides probably paid off – almost everyone can put together a decent looking presentation (cannot say that about videos and flash content). Docs etc (never really the big thing on SlideShare) are a longer format with possibly a smaller audience – though Scribd has a large number of those shared through it.

But again, SlideShare was already providing all of that – since 2008!

The discussion wasn’t going anywhere. So we spent some more time online.

Timeline: 2011+

LinkedIn went IPO in 2011. And around this time, and later as a follow up, added a lot many features, embraced social (they even reduced the default privacy settings), pushed mobile, and most importantly, drove a lot of press coverage around how people could not only connect and use their networks, but build their brand and essentially showoffcase what they knew – using SlideShare! Folks wrote numerous articles about how both individuals and small businesses could and should use LinkedIn right – with SlideShare often mentioned in the process as a major social tool at their disposal.

SlideShare traffic grew significantly around the same time! (see graphs above)

As you add the app on your LinkedIn profile, you’re encouraged to upgrade to a pro option because you can not only turn off the ads, control the look and feel and generate leads, but also access features specially added for LinkedIn! If I were looking to add presentations/video for a small business, that would be compelling indeed. One might hazard a guess that with more LinkedIn users adding SlideShare, a lot many opted for this and revenues grew as well.

With the acquisition, an even closer integration is now possible. Almost half of LinkedIn’s revenues were reported to be from Marketing Solutions and Premium Subscriptions – both growing at a fast clip – and something like SlideShare could have a role to play in these. So apart from the clear engagement benefit which is a stated priority for LinkedIn, might it be the possibility of a great direct monetization opportunity that drove this acquisition?

Oh well, we’ll never really know. But what’s very likely – from a quick recap and a whole lot of reading between the lines of events and data over the last few years – is that LinkedIn may have had a lot to do with SlideShare’s increased traffic, monetization, and eventually the valuation they had to shell out the $119 million for :)

What’s your opinion?

[With inputs from Ashish Sinha and Pratyush Prasanna.]

How Marketers are Using Social Media Marketing Successfully

Mostly all businesses today, whether large or small, are using social media marketing, not only to improve their search results but to create a better sense of brand loyalty and showcase brand presence among their customers.

An interesting infographic by Pagemodo shows that more than 90% of marketers use social media and what is surprising is that growing sales in not amongst their top priorities.

The most common benefit of social media is exposure for the business, the report claims, where as increasing sales comes in the last with less than half the people surveyed citing it as a benefit.

– Facebook and Twitter have witnessed far more usage for social marketing than blogs which used to be more popular till a couple of years ago.

More than 77% marketers claim they plan to use more of video marketing on social sites like YouTube to increase their exposure further.

Have a look at this interesting infographic (click on the image for better resolution).

All geared up to make videos then?

Social Media Infographics
Social Media Infographics

Source.

Are marketeers now getting the whole point behind ‘social media’?

[Guest article written by Prateek Panda, Head of Business Development at GenCrowd, an online marketplace for startups and small businesses to brainstorm, generate, and refine Ideas for their business].

Telecom subscribers grow 0.83% between Feb-Mar’12

The number of telephone subscribers in India has grown at a rate of 0.83 per cent MoM. It has increased to 951.34 million at the end of March’12 from 943.49 million in Feb’12. This has been reported by the TRAI today. While urban areas added 1.71 million subscriptions in a month, rural subscription grew at a rapid pace of 6.14 million during the same period.

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It is interesting to know that while the share of rural subscribers has increased to 34.77 per cent MoM, urban share has declined by 0.36 per cent. With this, the overall Tele-density in India reaches to 78.66 at the end of March, 2012 from 78.10 of the previous month.

As per the data reported by various service providers, about 41.88 million subscribers have submitted number portability requests, by the end of March 2012. In Northern & Western India the maximum number of requests has been received in Gujarat, 3.88 million, followed by 3.71 million in Rajasthan. In the Southern & Eastern zone Karnataka tops the list with 4.53 million request followed by Andhra Pradesh, 3.99 million.

The TRAI report says that the total Wireless subscriber base with Feb-Mar’12 increased from 911.17 million to 919.17 Million, registering a growth of 0.88 per cent. On one hand where wireless teledensity saw an increase, wireline teledensity fell to 2.66 in March’12, with urban and rural teledensity being 6.73 and 0.89 respectively.

While Bharti Airtel saw the maximum market share, 19.72 per cent, the lowest was seen by HFCL, 0.14 per cent. Private operators hold 88.65 per cent of the wireless market share where as BSNL and MTNL, two PSU operators hold only 11.35 per cent market share.

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Google to launch auto-translate on Gmail

With the rise of web Google came in and rose as the world’s collective knowledge database of more than two billion people. Then came in its most popular product Gmail – the email identity, used by analogous amount of people worldwide. It made our life easier and gave a new life to email. Now Gmail bringing in bringing translate feature to Gmail which will let users translate mails automatically into their own language.

In 2001, Google started providing a service that could translate eight languages to and from English. In 2009, it took a step further and integrated the translate feature in Google Labs. After observing the usage reception of the feature for the last three years it will move it out of labs and launch the facility in Gmail directly. GmailTranslate0

So from now on, when you receive an email in a language, apart from English, you can click on the Translate message in the header at the top of the message and the message will appear in your language. It works like this: If you’d like to automatically have messages translated into your language, click ‘Always Translate’. And if you’re bi-lingual and don’t need translation for that language, you can turn off the translation by clicking on ‘Turn off’. However, in case you’ve accidentally turned off the message translation features for a particular language, or don’t see the Translate message header on a message, click on the down arrow next to Reply at the top-right of the message pane and select the Translate message option in the drop-down.” [official blog]

And that’s not all. Google is enhancing translation features for search too! Post 2001 Google was working efficiently to improve translation speeds. Earlier systems were too slow to run as a practical service—it took then 40 hours and 1,000 machines to translate 1,000 sentences. Today they can translate roughly as much text as you’d find in 1 million books. To put it another way: what all the professional human translators in the world produce in a year, Google translates in roughly a single day.