Thursday, November 22, 2007

BabaJob - A social network with a Social cause - Will it work?

Web2.0 is continuously proving it self as the most helpful creation this century. With Wikipedia being the new bible of knowledge and linkedIn being the hottest place to snap a job, while Twitter a micro blogging platform being used more as the 1st mean of informing people during a disaster. In its most unfortunate state this evolutionary steps are only proving beneficial for only those people who have access to a computer, an internet and continuous supply of electricity.

In most developing nations, like India where the Sensex is jumping 1000 point in a matter of weeks, India is in the 'nascent stage' where computer literacy is concerned. The percent of literacy as compared to illiteracy is by it self a subject of question. Having said that it must be noted that the Participation of India is 19% of the total number of people on orkut, making it the second highest national community on Orkut( source )

Babajob, that is co founded by Sean Blagsvedt, claims to be a "linkedIn" for Poor people. In short a social networking for not only job seekers but employers of jobs that cannot be sort out on LinkedIn, or orkut etc. The parameter of the jobs listed on this site would range from a cook, to a nanny, a house keeper, painter, office helper, driver etc. Kamla Bhatt a renowned Podcaster in India did the interview below with the co founder.

Reasons why BabaJob will help get Jobs in India.

1. The hook this social networking websites gives is the incentive of money. The person who plays connector gets paid a sum of 100/- RPs. This is reason enough for many people in India to play connector. A sum of 100 rupees ( approx 2 $) is sufficient for 3 meals in India. Cyber café owners could also make act as a connector by helping other not so computer savvy people to get on the web to get a job.

2. NGO's will be amongst those organizations that will make use utmost of the services of this website. NGO's whose cater to the needs of the unemployed would look at this website as one more opportunity to help the poor. The NGO would not only have resources that could help/assist the main target audience of this website to get on to the web, but also lend credibility.

3. Many Metropolitan cities in India, like other developing countries, have people who have moved into the city from rural or semi urban areas. Finding helpers like cooks, house cleaners, nannies would be a tedious task for them. Hence such a website and service would prove to be helpful.

Reasons why BabaJob will not be so helpful.

1. Babajob is trying to use its synergy with it's proper social network Babalife, to make Babajob popular. India is already flooded with social networking websites like Yaari, Collegecampus, Fropper, Jhoom, Minglebox, and Reliance funded BigAdda which is doing heavy offline advertising. In the above interview Sean says that he would like to compete with Orkut, which is highly unlikely considering the other players in the market that have either been funded heavily (Minglebox got funded for 7 Million by Sequoia Capital) or are backed by big corporate like Google.

2. Trust is a huge issue, especially in India. Following the Adnan Patrawala case in India, where a 16 year boy was killed after carrying an online friendship on Orkut, offline, People are very skeptical of the online world.

3. Most of the people online are youth, who do not worry about a driver, cleaner, nanny etc. These options would appeal to the primary decision maker in the house – The Mother. The percent of Internet Savvy Mothers in India is very minimal and limited to the metropolitan cities in India.

Though Babajob is a brilliant fusion of heart and technology, the obstacles that are faced by the website outrun the 100 rupee hook. While most of India still lies in the rural sector where basic electric amenities are not met, hence the scope of the website would only be limited to the semi rural and urban areas. With the rise of Literacy, credibility of social networks – this indeed would be a great connect and much wanted Bridge between the seeking employer and wanting employee.


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