GoMad combines social media, e-commerce and philanthropy on a single platform.

Addiction to social networking is nothing new for the present generation. Multiple accounts on the various micro-blogging sites are also a reality. But to manage the burgeoning friends’ list, particularly, separating the professional and the personal world is a tough job.

So what if there was a one-stop shop for both personal and professional networking needs? And what if the network integrates elements of e-commerce into it?

The USA-headquartered GoMad Inc. is offering such a solution.

Apart from providing internet based services, it also operates the social media website - ‘GoMad’. For the tech-savvy people who are constantly online, have to maintain multiple accounts on social networking websites i.e. one account for friends & family and the other for professional contacts. GoMad Inc. Web site gives users the feature of dividing their profile into ‘Social’ and ‘Professional’, and can allow their ‘Connections’ access to either or both.

“The company has developed a website that encompasses various aspects of social media and e-business while incorporating philanthropy and an ideas-exchange portal,” Shabbir Adamji its founder & CEO says.

E-tailing and philanthropy

But all said and done, isn’t GoMad the same as a Twitter or Facebook?

Obviously, GoMad isn’t just about social networking – where you tweet or post photos or chat with friends. Yes, you can chat, update your status and upload albums. But there’s also e-tailing and philanthropy on GoMad.

Functions such as MyStore and the Ideas Platform allow its members to buy and sell products and services and intellectual properties using their own networks. “People spend time and see tangible results from growing the network rather than just posting contents” says Adamji.

Further, ideas have a shelf life. With an ideas portal, GoMad categorises ideas into sectors such as health, environment, and so on. The idea is to have a snowball effect – where ideas feed one another. Members also earn rewards in the form of ‘GoMad Credits’ proportionate to their interaction within the site. These credits can be donated to charity and used for purchasing from MyStore or exchanged for US dollars.

“GoMad Inc. is a platform which individuals can use to become entrepreneurs by using their network here. Companies can also sell their products and services on the site as well,” says Adamji.

Another area where GoMad edges out competitors is in philanthropy. Users are given the opportunity to donate their earned GoMad credits to its endorsed humanitarian organizations the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and its local partner the UAE Red Crescent Authority.

Making a difference

Adamji’s philosophy is straight and simple: “Despite two billion active users (on the net); most people are not able to benefit from it or through the use of social media. Our main aim is to help individuals benefit by running businesses online and share & build ideas.”

The idea was born from a dream to “develop a product that is cheaper than a dollar”. And perhaps this is what led the India-born entrepreneur, Shabbir Adamji, to bring in all the 17-years of experience and head the GoMad way. A masters’ in business, he was involved in starting & running successful businesses in the UAE.

GoMad is an abbreviation of Adamji’s philosophy: ‘go and make a difference’.

“Providing social media fans with a time-saving solution where their network works for them, is just one of the ways we are changing things,” Adamji adds.

Initial Challenges

As of now a self-funded company, GoMad’s initial days did have the typical start-up challenges. Meeting deadlines, getting the right team of developers and support staff within a timeline and optimizing productivity were the key issues. Moreover, ensuring a quality offering on the platform and best possible use of resources within a set budget without overlooking the future remained at the forefront of the developers.

Future Plans

With a 3-4 per cent daily growth, GoMad’s user base in India and UAE is growing at nearly 70 per cent. A documentary is also being filmed on the company which is proposed to be featured on CNN. Currently, the company is firming up expansion plans. As it grows, external funding will be required.

This apart, Adamji and his ‘young’ GoMad team have set a goal to raise nearly $ 7 billion for humanitarian causes. “We are creating an online community that harnesses the power of the connection, nurtures entrepreneurial activity and allows people to shape their future,” he adds.

abhishek.l@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 22, 2012)
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