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The Wrong Kind of Web 2.0 User

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The Seattle Times this morning is running an unusual article about Web 2.0 start ups that have a problem, too many users not from the United States.

Most web sites would love to have 20 to 30 thousand users coming to their web site every day, but according to the Seattle Times, users who are coming from overseas, Brazil, The Philippines, and other places are not good advertising targets for many American companies, this helps make the selling advertising on their sites harder to accomplish.

Since Web 2.0′s main business model seems be " to sell enough advertising to pay the bills, if not a tidy profit", getting direct adverts sales on the web site can be a problem for these web 2.0 sites if they have a lot of traffic, but it is the wrong kind of traffic to attract USA advertising spend. It is hard to find Brazilian companies that want to advertise on your web site at American rates even when 71% of your customers are from Brazil. The money making advertising machine is just not there, there are too many economic differences between American and Brazilian spending habits and money available.

Only 24% of my customers on my web sites come from America, my next most popular place is the Netherlands, The UK, and then the famous "unknown" for people who come through anonymous proxy systems. I have a hard time selling advertising on my web site, because only 1 in 4 is actually a qualified USA buyer. I have "run of network" advertising that pays about four cents a "click".

Even though sites can be wildly popular brining up statistics for USA addresses can be hard to accomplish. Companies have limited budgets, but can specify which countries they want their ads to show up in systems like Adwords, AdEngage and Adbrite. That at least helps target the advertising spend so that people get advertising that works for a particular geographic area.

It would be great if I could target advertising by country of origin, but right now the advertising folks I use do not target ads based on the customer’s geographic origin. If I could show Indian ads for the 10% of people who come from India, that would be great. There might not be a pile of loot in it for me because of the standard of living differences between the USA and India, but it is a cool idea.

Maybe what we are seeing here is the next big thing that on line advertising needs to do, go global, and then show ads for customers based on their geographic region? There are probably already people testing this concept now, and I’ll beta test this program if anyone wants me to.

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The Wrong Kind of Web 2.0 User
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About Dan Morrill
Dan Morrill runs Techwag, a site all about his views on social media, education, technology, and some of the more interesting things that happen on the internet. He works at CityU of Seattle as the Program Director for the Computer Science, Information Systems and Information Security educational programs. WebProNews Writer
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