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Does the Philippines need a Koprol?




I’m still amazed at how this Indonesian site, Koprol, could get bought by a global internet giant like Yahoo! but every time I talk people who had some inside knowledge about the deal, it becomes clearer to me.

koprolI think we also need something like Koprol in the Philippines. A lot of people are already using either FourSquare or Gowalla aside from the usual services like Twitter and Facebook but a home-brewed social networking site should give the Philippines some air-time in the global internet scene (like how Indonesia got its 15 minutes of the spotlight with Koprol).

From what a several people told me, Koprol is a fairly new and has about 100,000 users. Might sound like a big number in the Philippines but for a country such as Indonesia that has 227 million people, that’s just 0.04%. Still, it managed to surpass FourSquare in the country and be the number one LBS site used there.

According to a source, Yahoo! bought Koprol for $5 million in cash. Spare change for Yahoo! but huge payback to the founders/developers of the site. Yahoo! is allegedly planning to roll-out the service across South East Asia, including the Philippines. (My guess is that it will be under a local name.)

I’ve personally met with several independent developers in the past and have seen some of their projects specific to the Philippines. A number of them are promising but because of limited resources and time constraints (they still have day jobs), these projects might not get all the needed attention to see it off.

There’s Sulit, which is already a success story in itself; then there’s TipidPC and probably MunchPunch too (ClicktheCity can transform itself into a more social site) but I think we need something new and fresh — something hip and social — and location-aware. In a way, I think Koprol showed us that there’s still hope for smaller developers to innovate, compete with big players and get the pay-off they deserve.



Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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28 Responses

  1. Jon says:

    If Yahoo is doing this, I suggest they rename it to something else. Mabantot eh. LOL.

  2. hip, new, blah, sure its a trend but what someone here should do instead of copying ideas is to make something profitable that works here in the market locally. Yes we can make a foursquare. Will it make any money? Probably not.

    Do something that has a good business plan and makes good money and you will be worth getting bought out by Yahoo and many other companies.

  3. yuga says:

    @andre – Flickr still does not make money for Yahoo! but it’s one of its most prized acquisition.

  4. thats called a money hole :)

  5. kim tanga says:

    Andre is right. At the end of the day, it about monetizing the biz. No wonder Yahoo! is in deep shit.

    They don’t know what they are and they can’t monetize.

  6. Teknisyan says:

    Yeah.. large internet company like yahoo.. will worry about the revenue later.. What’s importantbis that people uses their brand/products. classic eample of this youtube being bought by google for atleast 5 billion (someone correct me if I’m wrong), then there’s the broadcast.com that bought again by yahoo for 2 billion from mark cuban… and then there’s twitter though which is rumored as for sale…. these company before being bought by large company does not have revenue generator but has alot of user either visitors or people who actually use their service… sorry in reality.. big company are not just buying the company but the user’ themselves as well.

    if Koprol have a few million active users… the price tag would have been much higher.

  7. Teknisyan says:

    My english sux today.. still getting use to this whole mobile internet thingy…

  8. Leo says:

    sounds like kapural… hehe

  9. mark says:

    sounds like Calpol, a Baby & child pain and fever medicine…

  10. Herce says:

    The problem of us coming up with something like this is lack of access. Hosting prices are too expensive here because of bandwidth prices and our lack of regulation in telecom. Koprol is Indonesian because its actually in Indoesia.

    You realize that you are advocating a Filipino business idea on an American site Yuga? You are hosted in the US and would be considered a US site by a Yahoo acquisition Team.

    That is correct, you choose to host in the US because its so much cheaper than doing it locally. Actually, if you shop, you would find better prices and better connect times to your site from you Filipino visitors in HK.

    My point is, successful Internet business arise 1 in a million as the saying goes. For every Koprol, there are 100k+ other Indonesian sites that failed.

    How can we hope to have hundred of thousands of Filipino internet entrepreneurs when access costs are so high and poor?

    This goes back to your article many months ago on broadband speed. I believe many commentators said something likg they were ok with the low speeds for high prices we have.

    I disagreed and said we needed faster, lower cots quality broadband, both in personal and professional markets to catch up with our neighbors.

    This is a perfect example of my argument. Think big picture people, not in terms of selfish “ok for me”.

  11. Herce says:

    Just look at what our far Southern neighbor, Australia, is doing: http://alturl.com/tjjs

  12. Flor says:

    @abe ang alam ko may pro account ang flickr.

  13. yuga says:

    @herce – that same line of reasoning can actually can be used to our advantage. I was able to grow this blog to what it is now because I was able to find a global provider that is affordable. Imagine if domain names are still $70 a year and hosting costs hundreds of dollars a month? I don’t think we’d be here discussing on my blog.

    @Flor – Flickr Pro cannot sustain the operational cost of the entire site.

  14. Teknisyan says:

    @Herce – the problem here is the whenever there is a big project by the government.. people connected to the project is already “has” a plan on what they can “get” even before the project is approved or being implemented.

    Just look at what happened to the ZTE deal. Anyhow… I guess that’s the main difference between them and us. I sure hope this will change soon.

  15. Rom says:

    TipidPC is great but is has stagnated for years and mostly suffers outages (like erasing items for sale) I think a new entry PC buy and sell site with more posting flexibility can give TPC a run for its money.

  16. mparaz says:

    @abeolandres looking forward to Pinoy #startup acquisitions!

  17. Gwapito says:

    Flickr is still making money with their premium membership.

  18. abe whats your favorite pinoy startups? or are is that a conflict of interest? :)

    this site focuses a lot on tech but not much on business or entrp…

  19. Alvin says:

    @Andre: That’s why this site is named “YugaTech”, not “YugaTrep”. lol (peace man)

    Kidding aside, maybe you’re right. It would be a conflict of interest. Considering this site was sponsored mostly by international companies. (Correct me if I’m wrong Sir Abe)

  20. well if its online then its tech :)
    but i mean Abe likes to feature PH sites once in a while but hasnt done in a while :)

  21. yahoo should work out on their YPN to earn more just like google adsense….

  22. Lance says:

    We have eskwela.ph but it appears to be abandoned. FYI our local startup founders are encouraging anyone interested to promote the culture on their respective localities. There’s Terence Pua, Erick Zoo, JP De la Torre, and etc.

    Here are a couple of pinoy startups:

    http://insynchq.com
    http://www.reserveup.com/
    http://piclyf.com/

    You might want to subscribe too here, Terence has a regular writeup here:
    http://thestartupdigest.com/

  23. Probably a different name if they want to target South East Asia. Hmm.

  24. budflick says:

    Ive made a mobile based social network site for filipinos, but seems theres no market for it. theyre just so addicted to facebook lol. i halted the development of the desktop version, mainly due to financial constraints. hope to see ya around there.

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