When the Net meets Myspace meets the blogosphere – internationally


Valleywag calls it “A middle-aged man doesn’t like MySpace, and other breaking news from the Times” and links to a NYT article in which they talk about the perhaps not so easy as thought expansion of Myspace and co into the German market. The NYT quote goes

A couple of months ago, Robert Basic, a 40-year-old technology consultant in Frankfurt, signed up for MySpace, the online social networking site, mostly out of curiosity.

In September, MySpace opened public test pages for Germany and France, the company’s first versions in languages other than English. That month, the site had 2.5 million unique users in Germany and about half that in France, respectable numbers for a new venture.

But Mr. Basic was only briefly among them. “I’m not a typical user,” he said. He became frustrated by unwanted messages and he did not care for the flashy pages.

Now you could think “why the hell did they take such an old man as an example?”

Easy. Robert Basic is one of the most linked to bloggers in the German sphere, partly because he blogs so much and because he is something like the translation post machine for taking what is happening in the Valley and reblogs about it in German. This is ‘new’ for Germans in most cases and instead of linking to the original source, they link to Robert.

If you talk blogosphere, Robert Basic is one of the players. If you think Myspace – of which the article claims they do have over 2.5 unique users which I find hard to believe as a number of real users – well that is happening outside of my sphere as I only do myspace on a very basic level. If they would have 2,5 mio users then they would have nearly 10% of the whole German internet users – and that would show much more in daily life as it does. But let’s stick with it for a moment.

In Germany there is no hype setting as within the Valley where you do have the 20 year old who go on and build stuff – they tend to be older because they have to work first to be able to get into this adventure of playing web 2.0.

At the lead fair this year about online marketing there was a big discussion about if the adventure online marketing is really really doable and should be done – or if it is still a risk. Yes, that is Germany too. At the same time (and the article pointed it out as well) the usage pattern is not what you would expect from your normal US usage – SMS is the favorite IM system and not your message service. :)

So when Valleywag is irritated by the 40 year old men they show what I see a lot inside the valley: The blindness toward the rest of the world. And as I like to say: We have money too. And we like to be treated like normal beings with money. Think about it for a minute if your company actually understands this.

[And if you want to meet a lot of European companies and businesses – take a trip to Paris to LeWeb3. It may change the way you are thinking. ]

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