MouthShut.com

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MouthShut.com
Type Private company
Founder(s) Faisal Farooqui
Website mouthshut.com
Alexa rank negative increase 4,334 (April 2014)[1]
Type of site Social network, social media consumer reviews
Advertising Banner ads, customized marketing
Registration Required for posting reviews and diaries
Launched 2000
Current status Active

MouthShut.com is a user-generated content and consumer review website on the Internet. At the core of MouthShut lies a global Web 2.0 social media platform. Any visitor can become a member (for free) and then can influence or be influenced by others. By writing reviews or sharing photos and diaries, members discuss their opinions about brands and products, in turn influencing consumer decisions.

On April 29, 2013, MouthShut.com filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India to nullify India's Information Technology Rules 2011 which threatens to restrict freedom of expression.

MouthShut.com's work has been mentioned in the Wall Street Journal,[2] Entrepreneur Magazine,[3] London's Financial Times [4] and almost all the newspapers and TV channels in India. MouthShut.com's founder and CEO Faisal Farooqui has been named among the Top Contemporary Entrepreneur in India.[5]

Mouthshut.com has been recommended by various social media commentators and its credibility cited[6] and materials from the website used in at least fifty non-fiction books, including the Marketing Management textbook by Philip Kotler.[7]

Blocked by an Indian ISP[edit]

On Feb 3. 2014, a regional Indian ISP, Beam Fiber blocked access to MouthShut.com for the entire city of Bangalore and Hyderabad. As a result more than half a million people could not access mouthshut.com.[8] There was a huge public protest and backlash against the ISP. On Feb 5, 2014, Beam Fiber unblocked the website. Indian laws do not allow ISPs to block a website unless ordered by the Department of Telecom. MouthShut.com has termed the block as illegal and has sought compensation from the ISP. [9]

Background[edit]

MouthShut.com was founded in 2000 by Faisal Farooqui as a platform for people to talk about their experience with products and brands. Soon, the website was flooded with reviews of restaurants, movies, FMCG goods, travel destinations, banks etc.[10] The Indian blog contentsutra.com reports that MouthShut.com pioneered the whole user-generated content space in India [11] Mouthshut has been featured in The Economic Times, Times of India, CNBC, NDTV, Star News, and almost all major news outlets in India.[12]

The company was founded in Mumbai (Bombay), India and according to India's largest newspaper, The Times of India, MouthShut.com continues to be the leader in the user-generated content space in India.[13]

Awards[edit]

MouthShut is a recipient of Red Herring Asia Top 100- 2008 Award [14] Earlier, the website was awarded the Manthan Award for Best Youth Website in India- 2006 for its impact on Youth and popular culture revolution in reviews and technology in India[15] This award was presented to MouthShut CEO, Faisal Farooqui by India's Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Sachin Pilot. On March 11, 2010, MouthShut was awarded the Best Portal of the Year Award- Gold the highest award at the India Digital Media Awards.[16]

Relevance of User Generated Reviews and MouthShut.com's impact[edit]

A Nielsen global survey revealed that 87 percent of Internet accessing Indians trust recommendations from others over any other kind of advertising, making word-of-mouth, the most powerful tool in the industry.[17] Asian Age newspaper recommends that most Indians online are referring to MouthShut for first hand product reviews and product information [18]

A CNBC- TV 18 interview reveals that MouthShut.com has more than 2 million (2005) registered users from India and the globe making it a profitable venture with value for Internet users [19]

Partnership with Google[edit]

MouthShut is part of Google's snippet program. This Rich Data Format revolution, allows Google to display product ratings from MouthShut.com directly in Google Search result.[20]

MouthShut.com participates in Google's AdSense Publishing Program. Although this is not an exclusive arrangement with Google, MouthShut's use of AdSense is a Google case-study.

Movie Reviews[edit]

More than 66% of Internet users in India believe that online movie reviews influence their choice of watching a movie in the theaters. This study was conducted by India's apex Internet Association- IAMAI. It suggests the growing popularity of independent movie review sites such as mouthshut.com [21] Several movie production houses in India have used MouthShut.com movie ratings as part of their advertising campaign.

I Ate Here Awards[edit]

In 2012, MouthShut.com launched the I Ate Here Awards to recognize Best Restaurants in popular cuisine categories. The awards, presented as a well-designed framed certificate are based on thousands of user reviews and ratings submitted on MouthShut.com and cover categories such as Indian Food, Chinese Food, Continental Food, South Indian Food etc. In 2012 MouthShut.com employees physically presented the awards by visiting restaurants and eateries in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Jaipur, Pune and Lucknow.[22]

Marketing Innovation[edit]

Rickshaw with advert banner.

MouthShut has been cited in various newspapers and journals for its marketing campaign behind the backs of auto rickshaws in India. Indian Express newspaper reports that MouthShut.com was the first to use autorickshaws as a medium for marketing campaigns. In 2001, MouthShut.com painted the URL of its website behind the backs of thousands of rickshaws in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata etc. Blogs have reported that Mouthshut.com's rickshaw advertising concept has been so successful that even large companies such as Oracle have copied the idea in India. Popular blogs such as pluggd.in have cited the Mouthshut rickshaw campaign as the most creative original innovation in startup advertising.[23]

MouthShut Reviews via SMS[edit]

In 2008, MouthShut.com announced the MouthShut Mobile Service. Users can send SMS-based reviews. Any cell phone user can post on MouthShut through short messaging by sending it to +919769696967.[24][25]

MouthShut's User Interface[edit]

Recently MouthShut.com launched a revamp of its user interface and has local content organized around 20 cities in India. .[26] The revamp allows MouthShut's users to write reviews, upload and share photos, posts blogs and diaries and share virtual gifts.

MouthShut in Academic Research[edit]

Due to the depth and variety of original content published, MouthShut.com has been used by researchers in the corporate and academia to understand consumer behavior.

A number of articles and MouthShut's content has been used to cite consumer and culture pattern, such as Advertisement And Promotions: An Imc Perspective by Alan D'souza Kruti Shah (Paperback - 2008) [27][28]

A book published by Klett Verlag GmBH in Germany included reviews from MouthShut.com as additional reading material. This was used in Germany for school-level reading material.[29]

MouthShut.com has been used as a case study in Consumer Behavior (Wayne et. all, 2008) [30]

MouthShut Controversy[edit]

Mouthshut does not let users delete the review unless specifically requested by the user. Similarly, MouthShut does not delete any reviews even if threatened by brands and corporations. MouthShut.com's stated policy has been that they will delete a review ONLY if the original author requests or if there is a court order asking it to remove a review.

Supreme Court Petition[edit]

On April 29, 2013, MouthShut.com filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India to nullify India's Information Technology Rules 2011 which threatens to restrict freedom of expression. The petition pleads to the Hon’ble Supreme Court that the IT Rules, 2011 should be struck down because they are so vague that it cannot be predicted with certainty as to what is prohibited and what is permitted. A consequence of this law would be the delegation of essential executive function to private parties like MouthShut.com to censor and restrict free speech of citizens or else face legal challenge for user's content.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mouthshut.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  2. ^ "Beware of the Unhappy, Web Savvy Customer - India Chief Mentor - WSJ". blogs.wsj.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  3. ^ <http://www.mouthshut.com/help/press.php>
  4. ^ "India: Diligent shoppers offer opportunity to manufacturers - FT.com". ft.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "India: Diligent shoppers offer opportunity to manufacturers - FT.com". ft.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  6. ^ <http://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&q=mouthshut.com>
  7. ^ Kotler, P. (2009). Marketing Management: A South Asian Perspective. Pearson Education. ISBN 9788131716830. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ Press Room: The Times Of India - MouthShut.com
  11. ^ “We Pioneered User-Generated Content Six Years Ago” | contentSutra.com
  12. ^ "Media Inquiries: The Economic Times - MouthShut.com". mouthshut.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  13. ^ "Media News, Media Advertising, Media Agency, Advertising,Media & Marketing". agencyfaqs.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "Red Herring 100 Asia 2008~Winners and Finalists". herringresearch.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "The manthan Award South Asia and Asia Pacific". manthanaward.org. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  16. ^ http://blish.in.com/publicwiki/showpostdetails.php?contentid=5027
  17. ^ "Nielsen India". in.nielsen.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  18. ^ Press Room: The Asian Age - MouthShut.com
  19. ^ MouthShut CEO on CNBC Video
  20. ^ "Good News For our Dear Internet Users!!! - Vikram_Tech Blog - MouthShut.com". mouthshut.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  21. ^ [3]
  22. ^ "afaqs! > News > Company Briefs > Mouthshut.com announces the results of 'I Ate Here' Awards". afaqs.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  23. ^ http://www.pluggd.in/indian-startups/oracle-recruitment-autohtml-403/
  24. ^ "Indian Advertising, Media, Marketing, Digital, Advertising Agencies - afaqs!". digital.afaqs.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  25. ^ "9769696967 - say goodbye to Premium Rates - jasmine Blog - MouthShut.com". mouthshut.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Programy Komputerowe". alootechie.net. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  27. ^ "Advertisement promotions alan souza kruti Books: Online Shopping in India - Buy Books, Mobiles, Cameras, Laptops, Watches, Apparels, Baby Care Products and Other Products Online at Flipkart.com". flipkart.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  28. ^ "Advertising and Promotions Information Center:". highered.mcgraw-hill.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  29. ^ "Ernst Klett Verlag - Schulbücher, Lehrmaterialien und Lernmaterialien". klett-verlag.de. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  30. ^ Hoyer, W.D.; Macinnis, D.J.; Dasgupta, P. (2008). Consumer Behaviour, 2008 Edition. Dreamtech Press. ISBN 9788177227543. 
  31. ^ "MouthShut.com Approaches Supreme Court to Safeguard Freedom of Expr...". slideshare.net. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 

External links[edit]