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Type of business Private company
Type of site Social network, social media consumer reviews
Founder(s) Faisal Farooqui
Advertising enterprise subscription based, customized marketing
Registration Required for posting reviews and diaries
Current status Active is a user-generated content and consumer review platform 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. The website's marketing on the backs of Auto-rickshaws is considered as the most outstanding innovation in outdoor advertising in recent times [1]

On April 29, 2013, 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 verdict was in favor of the petitioners v. Union of India'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.'s founder and CEO Faisal Farooqui has been named among the Top Contemporary Entrepreneur in India.[5] 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]

Background[edit] 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.[8] The Indian blog reports that pioneered the whole user-generated content space in India [9] Mouthshut has been featured in The Economic Times, Times of India, CNBC, NDTV, Star News, and almost all major news outlets in India.[10]

The company was founded in Mumbai (Bombay), India and according to India's largest newspaper, The Times of India, continues to be the leader in the user-generated content space in India.[11]


. On March 11, 2010, MouthShut was awarded the Best Portal of the Year Award- Gold the highest award at the India Digital Media Awards.[12] MouthShut is a recipient of Red Herring Asia Top 100- 2008 Award [13] 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[14] This award was presented to MouthShut CEO, Faisal Farooqui by India's Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Sachin Pilot.

Relevance of user generated reviews and'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.[15] Asian Age newspaper recommends that most Indians online are referring to MouthShut for first hand product reviews and product information [16]

A CNBC- TV 18 interview reveals that has more than 2 million (2005) registered users from India and the globe making it a profitable venture with value for Internet users [17]

Partnership with Google[edit]

MouthShut is part of Google's snippet program. This Rich Data Format revolution, allows Google to display product ratings from directly in Google Search result.[18] 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 [19] Several movie production houses in India have used movie ratings as part of their advertising campaign.

MouthShut I Ate Here Awards[edit]

In 2012, 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 and cover categories such as Indian Food, Chinese Food, Continental Food, South Indian Food etc. In 2012 employees physically presented the awards by visiting restaurants and eateries in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Jaipur, Pune and Lucknow.[20]

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 was the first to use autorickshaws as a medium for marketing campaigns. In 2001, painted the URL of its website behind the backs of thousands of rickshaws in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata etc. Blogs have reported that'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 have cited the Mouthshut rickshaw campaign as the most creative original innovation in startup advertising.[21]

MouthShut reviews via SMS[edit]

In 2008, 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.[22][23]

MouthShut's user interface[edit]

In 2010 launched a revamp of its user interface and has local content organized around 20 cities in India. .[24] 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, 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) [25][26]

A book published by Klett Verlag GmBH in Germany included reviews from as additional reading material. This was used in Germany for school-level reading material.[27] has been used as a case study in Consumer Behavior (Wayne et. all, 2008) [28]

MouthShut controversy[edit]

To protect its review writers from manipulation from brands, Mouthshut has a stated goal that it will never reveal the identity of any of its writers unless requested by a court order. The company has faced several legal threats in India from brands trying to get reviews deleted. has been vocal in safeguarding the consumers interest and hence moved the Supreme Court against sec. 66A of the IT Act as well as reading down of the Rules for taking down of content.

Blocked by an Indian ISP[edit]

On Feb 3. 2014, a regional Indian ISP, Beam Fiber blocked access to for the entire city of Bangalore and Hyderabad. As a result more than half a million people could not access[29] There was a huge public protest and backlash against the Beam Fiber. 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. has termed the block as illegal and has sought compensation from the ISP. highlighted this illegal blockage in its petition to the Supreme Court of India. [30]

Supreme Court petition and verdict[edit]

On April 29, 2013, 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 to censor and restrict free speech of citizens or else face legal challenge for user's content.[31]

On Monday, March 23, 2015, won the case again Union of India and the article 66A has been struck down by the Supreme Court of India. This is a huge victory for the citizens of India and sets a right precedence in protecting the freedom of speech on the Internet.


  1. ^ "Cheap ads on the move - The Times of India". Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "Beware of the Unhappy, Web Savvy Customer - India Chief Mentor - WSJ". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  3. ^ <>
  4. ^ "India: Diligent shoppers offer opportunity to manufacturers -". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "India: Diligent shoppers offer opportunity to manufacturers -". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  6. ^ <>
  7. ^ Kotler, P. (2009). Marketing Management: A South Asian Perspective. Pearson Education. ISBN 9788131716830. 
  8. ^ "Media Inquiries: The Times Of India -". Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  9. ^ "“We Pioneered User-Generated Content Six Years Ago” | Gigaom". Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "Media Inquiries: The Economic Times -". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Media News, Media Advertising, Media Agency, Advertising,Media & Marketing". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Red Herring 100 Asia 2008~Winners and Finalists". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "The manthan Award South Asia and Asia Pacific". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "Nielsen India". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "Media Inquiries: The Asian Age -". Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  17. ^ "MouthShut CEO on CNBC Video, Breaking, India, Free, Online, Download, News & Current Affairs Videos -". Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  18. ^ "Good News For our Dear Internet Users!!! - Vikram_Tech Blog -". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ "afaqs! > News > Company Briefs > announces the results of 'I Ate Here' Awards". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Indian Advertising, Media, Marketing, Digital, Advertising Agencies - afaqs!". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  23. ^ "9769696967 - say goodbye to Premium Rates - jasmine Blog -". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  24. ^ "Programy Komputerowe". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  25. ^ "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". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Advertising and Promotions Information Center:". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  27. ^ "Ernst Klett Verlag - Schulbücher, Lehrmaterialien und Lernmaterialien". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  28. ^ Hoyer, W.D.; Macinnis, D.J.; Dasgupta, P. (2008). Consumer Behaviour, 2008 Edition. Dreamtech Press. ISBN 9788177227543. 
  29. ^ "Update: Mouthshut Blocked By Beam Fibre; Issue Escalated To TRAI And DoT - MediaNama". Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  30. ^ "Mouthshut finally unblocked, will consider legal action against ISP". Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  31. ^ " Approaches Supreme Court to Safeguard Freedom of Expr...". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 

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