Will local Web 2.0 ad-driven services work?

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).

Pinoy Web 2.0

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.

13 Comments on this Post

  1. It would be hard to find local success, but if something big comes up…

    But wait, it doesn’t really have to be something big, it just has to change the world… :)

  2. Yuga, you took the words right out of my mouth. Many of the Philippine sites are just copycats of other brands with no added value. In fact, many simply get the formula and cater it to the local market, excluding all other markets in the process.

    IMO, the best area where Pinoys can shine is in the mobile phone domain. If somehow we can create a product, a site, a service, that merges the internet with the mobile phone, then we can put ourselves in the map!

    I have a lot of friends who got mind-blowing rich by developing mobile phone apps.

  3. It’s a shame that when you key in “pinoy web 2.0” on google, the first page doesn’t even have decent links to actual web 2.0 sites, hell, even the first result is dead ( http://www.pinoyweb2.com/ ) on the top of my head, the only pinoy web 2.0 site I could think of would be friendster… and even that is going down the drain… but I do agree that we’re just waiting for that “tiempo”… I have a few ideas but I just don’t have the connections to get stuff to happen… :\

  4. Friendster? Not Pinoy and most likely not Web 2.0.

  5. How can local web 2.0 extend from general web 2.0? In all honesty, it is all the same principles – the only extensions are language + cultural differences.

    Eg a digg.com clone would just focus on filipino news, but it would still have all the same principles.

    Cellphone would be nice, but SMS etc are not cheap. Throw in difficult of making money off of web 2.0, added difficulty of monetizing filipino traffic, and on top of that expenses of SMS – not an easy task :)

  6. making local sites more web2.0 meaning user friendly just makes them better thats all, its not instant success, just makes the sites better. ofcourse the features have to be useful.

  7. is this a question about building web 2.0 model targeting pinoy only or pinoy building a web2.0 model for global use?? IMO, i would prefer the later and, sure Pinoy can!

  8. @AhmedF

    Mobile/Cellphone does not always equate to SMS!

    GPRS/3G is the future of mobile phones. And depending on the way you use it and what carrier you are using, GPRS IS CHEAPER THAN SMS!

  9. Yes GPRS/3G services and infrastructure are cheaper.

    But the vast majority of Pinoys use SMS-only phones.

  10. I agree!

    Pinoys … yes. We love our SMS.

    But globally, I believe GPRS/3G is already there.

    Do you know that around the world and even some of our neighboring countries offer buffet style GPRS/3G for only 300-800 pesos a month (voice & sms included)?

    Besides, I believe this post is not just about serving Web 2.0 services to Filipinos but also about Filipinos developing Web/Mobile 2.0 services for other Filipinos and the world as well.

    P.S. Yes, ancient mobile phones still flood the Philippines, but you’d also be surprised at how many pedicab, taxi & truck drivers are carrying Symbian and other newer Java Phones around. It’s a matter of educating them of what the phones they already have can do. Afterall, there’s no where else to go but forward right ;)

  11. Christine

    This is a pretty good topic, why dont we support our fellow pinoys, especially a coder. Im a recent graduate and I required an online resume, since Im not that net-savvy, I asked my friends for some info how to build one, they told me to use tripod and/or geocities, i needed something simpler, and then my friend suggested a beta of a pinoy coded free online resume site at http://www.resume-fix.com , I think its cool…

  12. It is unfortunate that Filipinos has this “shawarma” metality or “zagu” mentality, whatever you prefer to call it. It simply wont work. They missed to research on business model. Friendster for example, in my opinion, has a weak business model compare to facebook.

    Youtube has weak business model that’s why it took some time before somebody has bought them and I think only as big as Google can afford to risk in such. Google bought them not because of business model, but because of visitors. This is an exceptional case i strongly believe.

    1 out 10 start-ups web-based business in US failed.
    1 out 40 start-ups web-based business in Asia failed.

    Why is it so high in Asia(Phil)? Mostly are copycats with no solid business model.

    Why are advertisers dont advertise much on local websites? Because they cant see and feel the real value of it. High number of visitors is not automatically high volume of sales.


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