Indian Premier League website www.iplt20.com fails to impressApril 21st, 2008 - 5:24 pm ICT by amritpal
The Indian Premier League started off with a bang on the cricket ground, but it has failed to live up to the expectations. It started off with a rather unusual domain name registration of www.iplt20.com and www.t20.com. The URL www.indianpremierleague.com was not available earlier, but now it seems to have been bought over to redirect to the www.iplt20.com site. IPL was conceptualized on the lines of European football leagues and the American football league and was looking at catering to and raking moolah through the fans spread across the cricketing nations of the world. However, the site has failed miserably to cater to the the Indian and global fan following.
A quick look at the English Premier League and National Football League websites will tell us that IPL is taking things too far by putting up flash ads on its website. As if the money generated by the league teams is not enough, IPL website is cluttered with the online advertisements and an irritating video promoting the league. The EPL and NFL websites have never seen any commercial advertisements beyond the sponsor logos. The basic structure of a league site should involve the scorecards, links to the websites of different teams, opinions of experts, statistics, team standings and headlines section all arranged in a structured manner. But surprisingly, on opening the page, all one can view is a black screen (loading the flash video of promo) covering half the screen, and the two prominent logos. (BCCI and a big ad directing the viewer to the site of NetlinkBlue - the developer and maintenance provider of the site!!) The teams logos are visible on the top, but appear small as compared to BCCI - as if telling the viewers clearly who the boss is!!
One scroll down and you are greeted with one-third screen full of advertisement banner on one side (more money) and tabs of headlines and expert-opinion on the other. The middle part has again a team-tracker, which can be avoided as the team logos are already present on the top. A separate page describing all teams (profile, stats, pictures, scorecards, management etc) can be designed with an easy search option.
Next scroll gives you more advertisements and latest photos on one side and team standings on the other. Third and final scroll gives some more advertisements (finally the sponsors get some space!) - however, clicking on them gets you nowhere, just to the top of the page. I wonder if the sponsors know this.
The Menu is on the top, just below the team logos, and without any drop-down option. So the first time browser has to go to the page only to discover that it is just another html page with the top part being the same, followed by an advertisement banner and some relevant information. The website is just a bunch of few html pages and does not offer any interactive search options which could have been easily managed with a small team of php programmers.
The team pages are not at all impressive and follow a basic template. We are yet to see if the teams will be able to attract fans to buy online tickets and/or merchandising, which incidentally is a big thing in the foreign leagues of soccer and Americal football. A click on Teams option gives a list of teamwise players. And clicking on the Player option gives a list of teams, clicking which either one reaches a blank page, or if lucky, you might get the list of same players which are on the team page. The player profile is made up of an arbitrary photo of the player (no standardised photo here) and has static information of the player’s career. This could have been avoided by entering into a tieup with some site like cricinfo, where each player’s statistics are updated dynamically.
Clicking on some random links like Latest News gives you a ‘cuming shortly’ message and the match reports if available are far from incisive. Scorecards are available, but not for all games. Check here . Out of 5 matches till date, 3 scorecards are available, with the scorecard of the inaugural match also not available. (Try each link - 1st, 4th, 5th will simply reload the page). Featured news has nothing new - giving out details of the IPL team structure and age-old sponsorship news.
All in all, if you find the URL somehow and login to check the latest action, you might be thoroughly disappointed with the poorly arranged navigation links, cluttered advertisements, and dated information. With the kind of money being made by the league, the website is nothing less than a sham!
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