Ever heard of a ‘mutual fund’ for bloggers? Probably not, but that’s only because Mumbai, India-based Blogertizeworld has just reintroduced a concept that died some three years ago.
Founded by 23-year old Dushyant Bhatia, Blogertizeworld is based on the idea called pixel advertising, first introduced in the UK around 2005, which is a form of display advertising on the web where the cost of each advertisement is calculated dependent on the number of pixels it occupies. “But it died within months due to a lack of a sustainable business model,” says Dushyant, who explains that there were more than 5,000 similar sites trying to capitalize on the success of the first few pixel-based sites during its peak.
Despite its ominious past, Dushyant – a recent graduate in accounting and finance from the University of Mumbai – decided after some research in March 2008 that pixel advertising was a possible avenue to help him raise funds to run an online business.
“The concept of the site is similar to that of a mutual fund where the cost of running this website is distributed among a large pool of bloggers,” Dushyant explains. Bloggers purchase ad space under various categories for a fixed period of three years. Pixel blocks are available in four different sizes – 2000, 4000, 6000 & 8000 pixels – where the larger the button, the higher it is placed thereby attracting more visitors, and in turn, resulting in increased ad revenue.
Dushyant says that Blogertizeworld‘s profit-sharing element divests a certain proportion of total profits after tax from the revenue generated by its various services to its network of bloggers, which amount differs depending on various factors. “The concept would be similar to that of a dividend being distributed by a public company to its equity shareholders, (except) that the bloggers advertising with us do not own stakes in this company,” Dushyant explains.
Dushyant adds that his site has many services other blogger communities may not offer. For example, some of the incentives include affiliate links to its online shopping portal, an option to open an online store free for a year, and participation in an online advertising network exchange to clear excess ad inventories. It even has podcast publishing services and regular newsletter updates on specialized areas such as technology or business.
As a result, Blogertizeworld has received over 1,800 blogger registrations – 1,000 of those within two months through a special promotion – and also sold some US$50,000 worth of advertising inventory so far, which Dushyant feels is something to be proud of. “How many seven month-old startups can boast of that?”
An interesting statistic – over 75 percent of the bloggers advertising with Blogertizeworld come from India, Malaysia, US and the UK.
Opportunities and Challenges
But it hasn’t been an easy journey – there were no takers for the idea during its initial months. Many bloggers were interested, but none wanted to be the first to invest in the website.
Publicity was scarce too – no startup blogs wanted to cover the new five-man startup. “That’s when I realized that instead of approaching (Indian startup blogs), attracting bloggers worldwide via social media could be a better option.” Social media is an integral part of Blogertizeworld‘s marketing strategy – it’s experimented with Internet marketers to some degree of success, as well as collaborations with blogger forums and blog networks such as a tie-up with Indiblogger.in, one of India’s leading blog networks.
Dushyant’s realistic when it comes to the competition. “The range of our service offerings is so huge, we’re bound to have at least two to three competitors for each avenue we explore. We’re still new and are concentrating on getting our baby steps right.” As a self-funded startup, Blogertizeworld‘s initial investment was put into covering development costs with a portion of the ad-space proceeds reinvested into marketing the site.
One of its growth strategies involve collaborations or acquisitions with cash-strapped medium-sized startups in India, US, UK and Israel to grow its user base, but Dushyant declines to reveal further with regards to its plans.
Views on Entrepreneurship
“Having the entrepreneurial spirit means wanting to run a business the way you run your life. And wanting to run your life the way you run your business,” says Dushyant, who believes that trying to achieve entrepreneurial success comes with an opportunity cost.. “Successful entrepreneurs feel that a life without risk is a life without living.”
Dushyant advises wannabe-entrepreneurs to start young. “Experiment with a couple of small online or offline ventures while in college because that’s when one has few responsibilities and lots of free time.” For those who are working and intend to switch to self-employment, Dushyant believes that sufficient knowledge and experience in the area you’re pursuing is crucial as ‘you have more to lose’.
“One quality that serves us well is perseverance. It’s a quality one must have to achieve success and happiness. Eddie Arcaro (American jockey who is the only rider to have won the US Triple Crown twice) had to ride in 301 races before he finally won one.”