Seven key Indian portals have come together to formally launch a new body, the Internet & Online Association, to expand and communicate the Internet's true potential for businesses and individuals.
The portals are rediff.com, sify.com and Yahoo.com, HT.com, indiatimes.com, MSN.com, and online media agency Mediaturf.
Announcing this at a press conference in Mumbai on Thursday, its Chairman V V Kannan said that IOA is a not-for-profit organisation with the key objective of expanding and enhancing 'content and business realisation through online advertising, e-commerce and mobile advertising.'
IOA has targeted to get 100 million Internet users by the year 2007, Kannan said. It plans to achieve its target through a multi-pronged strategy covering; mass-communicating the time and cost saving generated by using the Internet.
The multi-pronged strategy is to deliver best-in-class research and strategic inputs to the industry and its stakeholders; encourage the adoption of global standards and guidelines that increase customer confidence; market and promote the industry by disseminating research and white papers, and organize events and media campaigns.
Kannan said, "The impact of technology is seen only when it benefits a substantial portion of the population. We believe that the target of 100-million online users by 2007 is possible and IOA will work towards this objective. At that size India will be one of the top 5 Internet markets in the world."
The online industry, he continued, depends on advertising as the major source of revenue. Stating more and marketers are using the Internet, Kannan said: "We see the potential for a Rs100-crore (Rs 1 billion) online advertising business in the next 12 months. With the increase in penetration, this can grow to a few hundred crore in the next three years."
Commenting on IOA's objective of increasing direct value to members and communicating the core strengths and competencies of the Internet, Preeti Desai, IOA President said, "The IOA aims to empower Indians by setting up standards that encourage transparency and protect privacy."
The IOA is also committed to creating a secure, safe and dynamic environment for children and teenagers, she said adding: "Our role towards the industry would be to translate and communicate our expertise and our convictions regarding the efficacy of the online medium."
The executive council members of the IOA include V V Kannan of sify.com as chairman, Neville Taraporewalla of Yahoo.co.in and Ramani of Mediaturf as vice chairmen, Upen Rai of indiatimes.com as secretary and Aninda Shome of rediff.com as treasurer.