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Speak your mind with MOUTHSHUT.COM

Prachi Parekh refuses to keep her mouth shut and grills Faisal Farooqui, CEO of Mouthshut.com, about his website

What is the site Mouthshut.com all about?
It’s a social media website that focuses on consumers’ opinions on products and services. If you are planning to buy something, then Mouthshut tells you about the utility of the product through people who have already used it. Similarly, if you have used a particular product or service, you can put up your views – you can write a review of a restaurant, disco, or even a pen.

How did this idea strike you?
After I finished studying in the US, I got a usual 9 to 5 job, I wanted to do something of my own. While on a holiday to India, I decided to do something for the people. I realised that there was not one single Indian platform, online or offline, where Indian consumers could speak out. I wanted to empower the consumers. So I started working on Mouthshut.com and it took off
in 2000.

How did you come up with such a unique name?
We wanted a catchy name that had recall value and was easy to spell. Moreover, our site, basically, tells the brands to keep quite and allows the consumers to speak and ‘mouthshut’ fit the bill perfectly.

How many contributors does mouthshut.com currently have?
We have more that 3 million registered contributors and around 50% of them are youth. More than 2 lakh products and services are listed on our website. We also have more than 10,000 brand managers, who monitor Mouthshut for their brands.

Which features and products on Mouthshut are the most popular?
Automobiles are very popular, simply because for any Indian, buying a vehicle is a big investment and they do a lot of research before buying one. Entertainment is another popular category. Among the youth, mobile phones and colleges for Master’s programme are most viewed.

What are the achievements of Mouthshut.com?
Our biggest achievement is the trust that the Indian consumers have on our site and the fact that we have facilitated bonding among like-minded people. Moreover, everyone has heard about Mouthshut, even if they are not members.

How did you get the idea of advertising on auto rickshaws?
We were working on a tight budget and we needed a cost-effective marketing strategy. We forced ourselves to think differently and we hit upon this idea. One person had done a story saying that Mouthshut was like a moving billboard. Once a rickshaw comes in front of you, Mouthshut stays with you from Bandra to Andheri!

What do you think attracts people to Mouthshut.com?
I think what draws people to Mouthshut is the fact that it provides a platform for consumers. Moreover, we also get a lot of word-of-mouth publicity. The rickshaw campaign generated a lot of curiosity especially because of our name. Through word-of-mouth and e-mails, we were able to reach out to people in just 3 months after it was founded.

What are your future plans?
We are in the process of starting a corporate chat. We will provide a common platform for consumers to chat with brand managers and state their grievances directly to the concerned person rather than going through the whole process of writing a complaint, then forwarding it to the right department.


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