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AOL shuts down India portal

John Ribeiro | May 25, 2011
The Internet company will now focus on mobile services and user generated content.

AOL has shut down its [main portal in India, to focus on mobile services and user-generated content, a senior producer at the company’s India operation said.

Users of the main portal, which was closed on May 12, are now being redirected to a user-generated news and networking site for college students, called CoolAge.

Standalone services like e-mail and instant messenger will continue to be delivered from India, while search will be only offered to mobile users, the senior producer said on condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to the media. Users can access email and instant messenger services from the CoolAge site.

A number of other vertical sites that AOL was running in India through the main portal, including a cricket site, have been shut down, the senior producer said.

The Indian portal had grown stake of late with little local content and most of the links on the site pointed to content on the U.S. site, sources said.

The closure of the AOL portal in India, which was set up in 2007, is unlikely to affect many users in the country. AOL is not among the top 25 sites in India.

The country's top websites include Facebook, Twitter, sites from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, and a number of Indian sites, according to web traffic monitoring service, Alexa., in contrast, had a traffic rank of 2,717 in India, and was more popular in Bangalore where the company also has its offices.

AOL said in March that it would lay off 1,000 employees, including some in India, in the wake of its acquisition of news and commentary site The Huffington Post.

About 400 to 500 of a total of about 1,000 staff in India were laid off, according to a source. Another 300 to 400 staff were move to third-party suppliers to run remote IT management services, and back office functions like accounting. A team of 100 people continues at AOL India, and works on development, support, and also coordinates some of the operations of the AOL portal in Japan.


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