Will local Web 2.0 ad-driven services work in the Philippines?
Lots of topics abound during the Philippine SEO Meet-up last Saturday at Fort Bonifacio. Among the ones we talked about was the growing number of Web 2.0 sites targeting Filipino internet users, most of which are merely localized clones of successful (or recently-acquired) ones like Digg, MySpace, Youtube, and Facebook (not to mention the iTunes business model).
By copying them already proven successful Web 2.0 sites, one is said to have won half the battle. The only problem though is actually getting traffic to these proven formula. The old saying that “build it and they will come” doesn’t always apply depending on which part of the globe you serve it to.
Still, even if you get the traffic you wanted, will the advertising model pull it off? Still a fifty-fifty chance — remember that Asian traffic isn’t worth a lot even if you look at it on a CPM (cost-per-thousand) level much more if advertisers prefer CPA (cost-per-action).
I believe the problem lies in what I would call the “Greenhills phenomenon”. We prefer to copy a successful formula rather than suggest a completely new formula. There’s nothing new, no innovation — we lack originality so we end up with repackaging some successful brand from the west. Well, yeah, sometimes it’s okay to copy an idea and make a completely better one (see Slashdot + del.ico.us = Digg) but all I see is that we’d rather start our own small, colored club rather than beating the club.
So, is there a future for a truly Pinoy Web 2.0? I’d say yes, we’re just waiting for the right formula.