03 March, 2021


Rediff and sify, chalk and cheese, rule the web in India now. But will they in another three years?


August 24. Dreary, drizzly Mumbai evening. But George Zacharias, president and coo of Satyam Infoway wasn’t going to let that dampen his spirits as he settled down to watch leotard-clad dancers perform at the rechristening of satyamonline.com as sify.com at the Taj Ballroom. "Bano No. 1!" full-page newspaper ads had screamed that morning, and that was exactly what sify.com wanted to be: India’s numero uno portal. "If any Indian wants to use the Net to search, learn, communicate, buy or just hang out and have fun, we’d like it to be on sify.com," says Zacharias.

That’s a big statement, and it wouldn’t have gone down too well with Ajit Balakrishnan, chairman and ceo of rediff.com, currently India’s most popular portal. While Balakrishnan is chary of discussing competitors - he prefers to talk about benchmarking himself against global godzillas like Yahoo!, msn and Sina - as you cajole and coax him, he’ll admit that sify is his closest rival.

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