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Saturday, December 18, 2004

Marketing opportunity for Indian Railways with Google India's search results

Category: Misc

Thoughts on a marketing opportunity for Indian Railways with Google India.

Indian Railways is the world's biggest employer, employing more than a million people. Railways is the lifeline of India. Indian Railways has an efficient online reservation web site and a web site for enquiries and passenger status check.

There was an interesting post on Google Blogoscoped, which mentioned about
Google Germany (google.de) providing a link to a railway reservation web site, for a cities search query.

For example, search for Frankfurt Hamburg on google.de and alongwith the search results, there's a railway link (with an image of a train) that takes the user to the railway reservation page of bahn.de
Another example, Bonn Stuttgart Train Fare.

I think this kind of an arrangement will be a good opportunity for Indian Railways to make its online presence felt and to encourage more users to purchase tickets from their web site. This will also help in building brand credibility, and will project a net savvy, progressive, and innovation oriented image to the users. They're doing something different, it's new and it's cool, something of that sort. Imagine searching for Pune Bangalore on Google India and getting a result, which says, 'Buy train tickets from Pune - Bangalore'.

Indian Railways should explore this kind of an association with Google or Yahoo and the revenue model for the search engines could be either pay per click or pay per transaction carried out; or they may give their data to Google and Yahoo, who'd crawl it for free, and provide the results with a cost per thousand impressions (cpm) rate. This won't be an adwords ad, but it may follow a part of contextual ad wherein a railway link is displayed when there is a search query for cities.

Indian Railways

I've used the online booking web site of Indian Railways a lot of times, and I've found it to be very good.
For online booking use www.irctc.co.in - registration required.
To check the availability of tickets and reservation status use www.indianrail.gov.in - free.

I think an arrangement by Indian Railways to take users from Google or Yahoo to www.indianrail.gov.in to check the availability of tickets and from there to encourage them to purchase tickets online at www.irctc.co.in is worth exploring.

A related link: China overtakes India in railways

Some thoughts and I put them online. Blogging provides me with an opportunity to share my thoughts. I don't know whether people read, notice, and take action, or whatever; but it makes me happy that I'd something to share and I've shared it with the world.

An idea should never be kept in isolation, it should be allowed to float freely, and take various forms, until one of them converts from an intangible thought to a tangible reality, which in some way improves our life. :-)

Cheers
Chirayu