The original smart pola, Pettah
When a business model is hot, everybody wants to copy it. The latest thing is GroupOn, which a couple of Sri Lankan companies have now copied. This is on-original, but not entirely dumb. Take Hi! magazine for example. Hello? A worse example would be Sarath Fonseka’s campaign slogan, ‘believable change’. The two contenders I know of for the foot of the Groupon throne are anything.lk and smartpola.lk. So far anything.lk looks better, which is a relative term.
I should note that I know people behind both of these things. I’m not registering for anything, but by logos I surmise that anything has a payment gateway working and a bit more hooked up infrastructure in terms of mobile and radio and stuff.
In my observation, success in the Sri Lankan marketplace isn’t about originality or technology but rather brute force and corporate shove. Take eChanneling for example, a more original idea, but horrendous tech. They recommend IE 6, for example, which – in the civilized online world – is a bit like recommending smallpox. So, on that metric, Anything.lk seems to have the most weight behind them.
Also, Anything’s first offer is Rs. 500 off a Rs. 1000 ODEL voucher, which has some value. Smartpola’s offer is Rs. 200 off of an unreadable, self-published book, and half of the buttons on the site don’t work. I think that they have five buyers off of a needed 20. Anything seems to have 71 buyers, out of I don’t know how many needed.
Because they have a better websites and offer, I give the first round to Anything.lk. Both get zero points for originality.