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VSS Mani, Just Dial

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Starting with just Rs 50k, VSS Mani has built a business with an annual turnover of Rs 100 crore and a valuation in excess of Rs 500 crore. Just Dial is a case of getting it right the second time around. Not giving up after having to wind up Ask Me, VSS has taken his phone-based business model to print, online and SMS. He is now busy executing an international rollout

Where did the idea come from?
Ok, so I have to go back to my early days. I was actually doing CA articleship along with graduation. But somewhere down the line, I had to drop my CA exams because I had to contribute to the family income. So I took up a sales job with a yellow pages company called United Database India (UDI) in 1987. I worked with the company for about two years.

While working there, I thought – why not have something like this over the phone? In 1989, I got some like-minded people to join me and we started a company called Ask Me. This was before the telecom boom. Very few people owned telephones in those days. The idea was good, well appreciated, and we tried to grow as fast as possible. But with the downward turn in the economy, we were easy victims. Also, since it was a new project with three different partners working on it, there were three different ideas. In early 1992, I walked out; it was not going in any direction. But I promised myself that one day I will start the service again and make it a huge success.

I come from a middle class family, where, if there is no (other) family income, you could set back to zero and sometimes even minus. I needed more capital. From 1992 to 1996, I worked on different ideas to survive, and to save some money to start Just Dial. This included a concept called Wedding Planner, which was in tie-up with The Times of India. I just used to dream of numbers, and millions of people using my services. In 1996, I came to know of a number – 888 8888. When I checked, the number was from Kandivili Exchange in Mumbai. The exchange was coming out with its 888 series. I approached the general manager and told him about my idea, and also what I intended to do with the number. He liked the presentation and thought that it was a very useful thing and gave me the number. It was a difficult thing to do in those days. But it happened. I don’t know what the reason was. Sometimes when you dream and you are really desperate to get something, you get it.

We got this number in 1995 but for one year, I could not start the service because I didn’t have enough capital. In those days, a phone line used to cost Rs 15,000 under OYT or else one had to wait for a few years. I did not have Rs 15,000 for a phone. We applied by paying Rs 3k, and it actually came a year later! Finally, we started Just Dial, with the number 888 8888, some borrowed furniture, rented PCs, and a small 3x5 feet garage on hire. This company was started with a capital of Rs 50,000!

Chasing a dream with Rs 50k in your pocket...
If you are passionate about something, you will surely find the means and ways to do it. It is not necessary that if there is no capital, you can’t do business. We found various creative ways to overcome such issues. My goal was to see a day- to-day improvement in my business — small improvements every day. There is no clear-cut way of saying that I faced this challenge and I solved it this way. The fact that I was so passionate about it, worked for me. With Ask Me, we were truly passionate and we did work hard – but there were other reasons; the environment was not ready for it. In 1989, Mumbai had hardly 4,00,000 telephone connections. When I started again in 1996—thanks to the telecom liberalisation policy —there was a large number of landline connections across the country. The mobile revolution was slowly taking off.



Comments (29)Add Comment
Discussing Business Synergies
written by Sulabh Chhabra, April 11, 2011
Dear Mr. Mani,

I am one of the Co-Founders of India first mobile search company called Ask Birbal and wanted to connect with you regarding the same.
You can reach me at 9810388891, alternatively at sulabh@askbirbal.net.

Best regards,
Sulabh
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Votes: -5
...
written by krishna mishra, April 08, 2011
Dear Mr. Mani
Its really great to see just dial at this position and it will rise in future.
I have worked with your organisation 6 months in marketing depatt. Delhi.
various things I have found in your company I learnt a lot. I Have done MBA
and with my experience and my knowledge I came to know that there is some fault
in your marketing devision. way of approaching to the costumer is not good. I can add some value in that If i will get opportunity to present my self in front of You.

Thanking you
Regards
Krishna Mishra
Kmishra81@gmail.com
8010125639
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Votes: +4
Completely un-productive team of people
written by Agni Sharman, March 11, 2011
I have registred with almost all online marketing and directory services companies in India.

JustDial is one pathetic team of people to work with just like CallEazee

My story of justdial.com @ http://on.fb.me/JustDial
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Votes: +10
Hero to Zero- cheating indian youth
written by R.C Reddy, February 26, 2011
Mr. Mani is growing his company by cheating the unemployed youth of India. The reseller program launched by him promising big renumeration for entering business data into their website has cheated lot of reseller. But he should realize that he is running a online business which depends on the digital reputation. You can see lot of complaints pouring in all forum regarding this bogus program of Justdial. Very soon his company will realize how this negative impression will bring down his empire in digital media. Better for him to pay all the reseller thier hard earned money and wind up this bogus program.
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Votes: +17
just hello
written by neelam, January 25, 2011
Sir, iv worked in ur organisation.... freedom, nice enviornment,...where you can be urself...iv learnt so much...its been a year since iv left and i feel like im on leave.....i search so much from our website and something new i still put in "search not found" which was my profile....i miss office....right now working in plus Ink...doing good......

Good luck and regards,
Neelam J.
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Votes: -3
INFORMATION LETTER AGAINST THE DECEIVING
written by S K CHAUDHARY, January 20, 2011
Sir/Madam,
I on behalf of CRB MARKETING LIMITED brings into your knowledge that our firm has made/signed a contact with your esteemed company i.e., ‘Just Dial Pvt. Ltd.’ and the same was on the scheme of yours i.e., for the business enquiry related to Travel business. The said contract has been signed on 22/10/2010 by way of Advance Payment through Cheque No. 760173, dated 01/11/2010. And our firm has made the payments on the very same day on advance basis and the same has been honored to your good company’s A/c. As per the agreement/contract it has been assured and finalized that the said contact had to be started from 15th of November 2010 but to no anvil as the service at your end has not been started till date. It is pertinent to mention here that after taking the money no one approached or informed the undersigned about the reason of deficiency at your end. After waiting for 2 days the undersigned made a call on 17th of November 2010 to your good company i.e., ‘Just Dial Pvt. Ltd’. That one girl i.e., Miss Bhavna received the phone and she assured the undersigned to solve the problem as she will check and assured to inform back and solve the problem.

On 18th of November the undersigned received a call from Miss Bhavna and she informed that due to some technical problem Just Dial Enquiries from our side has not been started and within the time of 24 hours our services will be started. On 19th of November again I received another call from Miss Bhavna and she told me that Sir, we are not sure in which category you have made a contact with us. So, you please send us the Soft Copies of that Category. The undersigned was very shocked to hear this from Miss Bhavna because Firstly, she told me Services from their side was not started due to some technical problem and after that she informed me that their company is not sure about the category of my contact and she wants the soft copies of that category.

That Today, i.e., 20th of November the undersigned had given 2-3 calls to Miss Bhavna’s Mobile but she didn’t receive any call and after that I had given a call on ‘Just Dial Customer Service’ on their Land Line number. Person who received my call had called her up on the line than I was able to talk to her and I asked her that I want to talk to her superior kindly bring him/her up on the line. Then I talked with Miss Shalu Team Leader at ‘Just Dial Pvt. Ltd.’ and tell her that how much pain the undersigned is facing due to unbecoming behavior and due to unnecessary delay at the end of your good company to which the recipient was clueless and when the undersigned shouted then the same lady again start giving the same reason that due to some technical problem we are unable to start your business related enquiries.

The services on the part of your good company i.e., just dail limited is pathetic and irresponsible. the undersigned suffered mentally and financially, due to the fault at your end and also the undersigned have lost his Precious Time & Business by giving calls and communicating to the irresponsible person/executive of just dial.

Therefore By way of this letter I informed your good company that this is clear case of deficiency of services at your part and clear case of breach of trust and the undersigned is governed & Protected under different laws of India. Therefore by way of this notice the undersigned is giving you 24 hours (as last chance) to solve the above mentioned issue otherwise the undersigned will be constraint to initiate legal proceeding against your goodself before competent Court of law and also if your good company will not start forwarding queries (as per agreement) in the above mentioned period then the undersigned will also be not left but to cancel the above mentioned agreement between your good company and our firm. By the way of this notice I also call upon your good company i.e., just Dial Pvt. Ltd. to pay a sum of Rs 50,000/- towards compensation and towards the mental and physical harassment suffered by the undersigned as the undersigned lost so much of his Business due to lack of services at your end.

On or onbehalf of

CRB MARKETING LTD.


--
SUSHIL KUMAR CHAUDHARY
CRB MARKETING LTD.
302 LAXMI DEEP BUILDING
LAXMI NAGAR DISTRICT CENTRE
LAXMI NAGAR, NEW DELHI -92
PH- 011 - 22425546 / 22425547
EMAIL - info@crbmarketing.co.in
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Votes: +12
DELAY ON YOUR SERVICES
written by Manoj.V.R, January 12, 2011
Dear Sir,
I am signed a contract no:22106383on 05.01.2011 with your company for platinum listing (Navi Mumbai),
The person from your company ,told me to activate this on 06.01.2011.
But still this time it is not activated by ur side and not picking up my telephonecalls also.
This is not proper way to handle the client. If u have any problem in my case,pls return my fund.
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Votes: +14
complaint for the contract
written by shri ram decorator, November 28, 2010
I am old customer of just dial since from 4yrs,I have signed the contract for zone borivali to churchagate due to out station I had freezed my contract or one month after one month I was back and unfreezed my contract but now I am facing the problem regarding my zone which now bandra which is really hamper to my business in these day I given a call and email in justdial but no changes made since now really I am geeting loss in my business kindly take the action in my favour

Thanks & Regards
Shri ram decorator
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Votes: +2
JustDial robs and steals money! JustDial, Most Fraudulent Company in the world.
written by Anti JustDial, September 16, 2010
PEOPLE, I want to start an online community which will be highlighting JustDial's Frauds. I would like to save people from being victim of JustDial. Please show your support by replying at the below address. Thank you.

http://frauddial.blogspot.com
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Votes: +22
fake SERVICE and farud company
written by jagveer singh, September 14, 2010
my company name is om yoga living and number is 9717008663
i have subscribed my co's profile in just dial for business for 2 month contract.

i have paid advance payment towards my 2 months subcription.

after 12 days my account is activated . I havnt getting any lead from 3 days. I can say this company is fake and farud

jagveer singh
9717008663
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Votes: +11
oh no!
written by nirmala, September 03, 2010
I have registered with just dial today itself by paying them 7721Rs for 8mnths..now after reading thr reviews m worried weather it works or nt. I thnk just dial should hav a mnthy wise scheme, which enables us to think and if is worthy we would defenetly use it. But actually thy thnk of their profits so thy keep yearly packages.nw m worried...m just waiting if i will get leads or nt after spending hard earned money!!!!! Mr. Mani keep your eyes opn pleas so that the ppl dont loose confidence in u..becz the amount of negitivity seen on website is much more thn the positive reponce(which is on your site)
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Votes: +3
...
written by amit kapoor, August 23, 2010
hi. im amit kapoor....my company name is tile point...im in delhi....we have two branches of our tile showroom...one is in ashok vihar since 2001...n second one is in jagatpuri newly open....i jst take service of just dial cald platinum n diamond service....my service wil be start from 1-9-2010 n i take this for one year... n i m waiting for the response..
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boots uk
written by Timberland boots sale, August 20, 2010
Very original content. I really like your site.
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MBT TO YOUR HEALTHY
written by MBT shoes clearance, August 20, 2010
It was fun visiting here. Wishing you a great day! I wish everyone have had a great day.
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Votes: +2
Breach of Contract fro Just Dial
written by Hotel Neelkiran, August 17, 2010
We have a relation with Just Dial for past 5 years.

Last year we had signed a contract for platinum Category in September 2009. We had given the payments on the same day.In march 2010 our service for platinum contract was stopped and given to somebody else. Which the customer executive & manager have accepted. Now they are saying we cant do anything about this. My invoice no is PY0060872109.
This is total breach of contract from your organization. I would request you to look into the matter.
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The world is full of good and bad...it is you to choose where you want to be...!
written by Shiv, July 21, 2010
I registered for a contract for Rs.15000 by opting ECS option. the very first month got 5times of my investment, i really couldn't handle the inquiries provided by justdial. in 3 months my profit exceeded a lac. then i called up justdial and asked to upgrade my contract to Rs.28000 combo and once again an excellent performance by justdial, the next month they called me asking about the response i'm getting, i was so thankful to them then they asked me to upgrade my contract to platinum package with investment of Rs.88000, thereafter i felt that i've been greedy because, the number of leads were worst, i realized soon and cancelled my ecs and now i'm with Rs.58000 combo package and i'm getting reasonable leads. sometimes i get fake/irrelevant leads. i strongly believe that it is absolutely in our hand to convert a lead into order. can't blame justdial for the failures. but definitely the credit goes to justdial for the successful conversions. I make money by sitting just in front of my computer it is only because of Justdial. it also matters what type of business you do. just dial can only help you to a certain extend.justdial is not suitable for all types of business owners. but if they are giving a false commitment to the business owners then it is highly unacceptable. we should use our brain before investing...!! hope I'm clear..!! I strongly recommend justdial.
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Just Dial - India's No.1 local "FRAUD" engine
written by Sahil, June 26, 2010
Justdial.com - I got a call from JustDial in 2009. They lured with lucrative but useless ideas. They promised (A False One) me that they will provide me good leads which will help me in my business. They were asking for Rs.15,000/- per Contract. But i refused as i was not aware of their services, so i opted the Contract of Rs.10,000/- (Advance Payment) to Mr.Muzafar - 9818797785 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 9818797785 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

But ever since i opted the service of Justdial i did not get a single response from Justdial, my all money is JustWasted.


What they did :-

1. Without even asking me they had put up one category in my listing which is free of cost. But i didn't provided any service related to Astrology that also 'free' ; Never.

2. Without even my knowledge they provided the whole sum of my money into Lead Basis, which i didn't opted for. And within 3-4 months time they told me that my Rs.10,000 is finished and i should renew the package to have their services.

3. They provided me the response for the wrong category. After which they only had one word to say "Sorry".

4. They provided me the response which is 80-100 km away from my office, the customers were much far to avail my services. So i did not get any money from the customers but Justdial got the money from my account; that also through fraud and cheating. People used to call me from Ghaziabad and used to say that they took my number from Justdial and want to use my service but they "couldn't use" because my office is much far from their place.




On Contacting Justdial, what response i got :-

1. Sorry sir we did not knew that your listing was in the wrong category.

2. When i asked that why do you give my number to people living in Ghaziabad (My Office is in Rohini) then they had no Reply to my answer.

3. I also wrote one mail to their Chairman (""""" VVS Mani """""" - mani..........@yahoo.com ), because it is my hard earned money (It is not the money by making Fraud) but also didn't get the response from their side.

4. Called the people who convinced me while taking the Contract; Priya - 9990434..., Shiv Shankar 9310729..., Morshada 9871545..., Madhvi 9250698..., Customer Care 9818797777 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 9818797777 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. But got 'NO RESPONSE' from any person. They just had one word "Sorry" for the problem sir. But that sorry will not bring my hard earned money back, moreover it is not just being about sorry. This was done by knowingly because i'am not alone they have cheated most of the people like this.



Now we get to know that how Justdial is a company of Rs.500 Crores.

Overall I can that Justdial just know how to make Fool and make Fraud with people. Strong action must be taken against Justdial.

I would suggest that with every people who has been done FRAUD by Justdial should unite and come forward so that stirct action should taken against the company, so that they stop making fool out of people.




Sahil
(Email - Sahilsa@hotmail.com)
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Votes: +6
False commitment
written by Raj Kalra, June 20, 2010
I have taken service from just dial. i was paying 80000 approx for the platinum listing in bandra.was not satisfied and then lvina form customer care asked me to change the listing from platinum to pacakage and infact which wad costing me far high around 1,13,000/- p.aa saying this listing will give you 100% calls receiving us . which i m not geting at all . flase comitment . and when today i try to approach lavina its almos 10 days she completely ignoring my calls and doesnot respond to my call after taking the money. i thnk this is the service if i will get from just dial then i would rather tell all my friends never join hands with just dial .
Regards
Raj Kalra
9820992058
Rreal homes
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Votes: +8
promises
written by madan kanti, May 24, 2010
the promises made must be fulfilled else in the long run, it'll be over.
though the service is very useful, the service providers issues must be dealt fast. Getting more and more marketing might not help.
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Votes: +2
MIE-Solutions-Contract- Regarding
written by Rao, May 12, 2010
Dear Mani,
We have recently registered with Justdial Bangalore to get Leads for my Products and Services.Sofar I have received 100+ Call alerts to my cell. But Unfortunately I am spending lot of time and money to attend irrelavant enquiries send to me.Please do some root cause analysis and rectify the problem soon
Regards
Rao
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Votes: +0
strategies
written by k.shiva krishna, April 12, 2010
hi sir,
iam one of the employee of your organization what ever the sales techniques we are using are same in the market why cant we have some presentations with different branch managers visiting to different branches on quarterly basis so that we can exchange some ideas with each other. may i know what are the strategies that we are going to play in the international market.may i know why we are registering the Indian clients for us market may i know the reason behind this.....
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Votes: +3
The most unprofessional company on earth.(Just Dial Service)
written by MADHUSUDAN AJITSARIA, December 31, 2009
They are the most unprofessional company i have ever come across in Kolkata. False comitments is the order of the day. The just fool people. The testimonials and all which are there in the website appears fabricated. Mr. Mani a sincere advise to you wake up and control the activities of your employees otherwise all your hard work will go down the drain. The listing done by them is just a farce. They never care
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Votes: +8
Delay in activation of Advt (But they collect full money as advance)..My complaint attached
written by TECHNIK EQUIPMENT, December 20, 2009
Dear M/s Rini/Kavitha Swami/K Sathish/Govind,
We do not understand the delay in activating the advertisement even after 10 days now.
Your last assurance on activation by 6pm on 19/12/09 also now proven farce.
Should we send the complaint to Mr V.S.S Mani? How are you going to compensate us for the delay?
Plz act professionally as we have made full payment to you based on your sales executive's assurance about a quick activation in 2 days.
If unable to resolve the issue you are expected to inform the contact id of your higher ups please.
N Sashikumar
Technik Equipment
On 12/19/09, justdial wrote:
Dear Mr. Sashikumar,

We sincerely regret for the inconvenience caused to you from our end. Your contract will get activated today before 6.00 pm . Ms. Rini from customer support department will call you to confirm the details.

Thanks & Regards,

For JUST DIAL PRIVATE LIMITED
Kavita Swami
Customer Support-Executive


From: TECHNIK EQUIPMENT
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2009 8:40 PM
To: chennai@justdial.com
Subject: Activation delayed for a week- Technik Equipment



Dear justdial complaint desk,
We regret to note that an advertisement placed by us a week back is yet to be activated.
Your sales executive who came and collected the advt. along with 100% payment promised us activation in 2 days time. Direct calls in this regard also have not achieved the desired result.
It may also be noted that we have received your e-invoice in the name of Stars Engineering Equipment but the advt. was placed for Technik Equipment, also the payment was made by Technik Equipment.
Please activate the advt. without further delay under intimation to us in the name of M/s.Technik Equipment.
Regards
N Sashikumar
9444047083

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Votes: +5
Gr8 work Sir Jee
written by Harshit Gupta, July 19, 2009
Nothing except working hard can salute you ..
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Truly Inspiring
written by Akbar shaikh, July 17, 2009
VSS Mani is truly an inspring personlity. Which needs to be emulated in our real life. Its gives me immense feeling of pride to see that somebody from us can achieve so much with great determination.
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A tale of persevearence & desire
written by Arunabh Mishra, July 16, 2009
VSS Mani is the classic example of having faith & belief in your entreprise. Of having courage to face the naysayers....of getting motivated on your dreams.....of adhering to the your convictions.
Its the dedication, desire & determination that marks this individual.

All the best for his future entreprise in US.

Fortes fortuna adiuvat.
(Fortune favours the bold)


Cheers,
Arunabh Mishra
3Ardent
www.3ardent.com
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Votes: -1
request
written by apurv surana, June 03, 2009
what was the marketing strategy at that time?
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...
written by Shveta Arora, April 29, 2009
amazing website, amazing responses on call and amazing you Mr. Mani... hats off to you sir!!!
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...
written by Business India News, August 13, 2008
Starting from 50k and ending up in crores is a huge success I would say. When they started in 1995 they must have visioned India with even a rickshawala carrying a mobile phone in 2008 - without that vision the big step with confidence was almost immpossible. Nice inspiring article, keep it up DARE.

Regards,
Business India News.
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Votes: +3

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