Internationalisation of the Web

Predominently working in anglo-saxon countries you can get lazy into thinking all of these anglo-american companies — media companies, advertisers, producers — are the only players in their industries. 

For years the Internet was in English and the top 3 sites remain Google, Yahoo and MSN on a lot of rankings like Alexa Global Top 500, Quantcast (for the US), and Comscore which shows the strength these companies have online.

Of course some of that large volume to the American sites is also global traffic just to put a spin on it. As MarketingVox pointed out in a posting from last November that 70% of traffic to Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and CNET was from non-US users. For a “domestic site” like Google 79.8% of unique users and 89.1% of pageviews are from non-US users. The stats are from Comscore World Metrix.

But what is more interesting is the rise of global sites — particularly the Asian sites like Baidu.com and qq.com. If anyone questions whether the Chinese are online, take a look at the current Alexa Movers and Shakers list and see that 6 of the top 20 sites with highest growth or contraction are Chinese. Or which community sites are most successful like Hi-5 in Portugal and Spain, Orkut in Brazil or of course CyWorld in Korea.

We can only hope local companies like Voila.fr, Terra.es and libero.it hold there own. As Elizabeth Van Couvering is pointing out in her Ph.D. Thesis at LSE, as media consumption shifts online if all of the providers of portal content (like Yahoo) and Search results (like Google) use an anglo-american approach, it could have a dramatic impact on the information people actually see.

Did the world change with the MTV generation. Wait until the Google generation hits its stride and we will really find out.

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