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.
I 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.