I happened to go by SingTel’s Singapore-centric hyperlocal content publisher InSing’s office on Duxton Hill and was surprised to find the shoplot empty. Gone was the frosted glass shopfront with the InSing logo and the funky furniture behind it. InSing used to take up the entire three stories of the shophouse, but now it was totally empty.
I checked out InSing’s website and found that its advertising contact stilled listed Duxton Hill as its address. Curious, I decided to ping InSing’s Twitter account and the press contact listed on its website.
I got a reply from InSing’s Twitter account telling me that the company had moved to a “bigger and better office” at 1 Chang Charn Rd. I looked it up on Google Maps to find that it’s a light-industrial area close to Singapore’s main car dealership area, Leng Kee Rd. That’s a very different kind of neighborhood from the artsy Duxton Hill area, with its historic architecture and hip bars, cafes and restaurants.
Varsha Rao, who headed InSing at launch, left this month to join daily deals site Livingsocial as its Asia vice president, trade publication Marketing-Interactive magazine reported. She was replaced by Loo Cheng Chuan, the former head of SingTel’s Idea Factory, which was in charge of innovation and content.
So, what’s going on at InSing? When the portal was launched in 2009, it was touted as a key part of SingTel’s move into the content-creation business. But two years later, it has lost its founding executive and seems to be involved in everything from daily deals to original city listings.
InSing also faces stiff competition from local media giant Singapore Press Holdings’ hyperlocal site, STOMP. InSing claimed 1.2 million uniques a month last year while STOMP has 900,000. STOMP seems to be more culturally relevant as well, regularly making headlines for its controversial, tabloid-style user-generated content. From the outside, then, InSing’s current state doesn’t bode well for SingTel’s content-focused strategy.
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