Accidental Internationalization

from the the-world-is-out-there dept

New businesses used to target their userbase geographically. However, thanks to the internet, it’s sometimes impossible to prepare for where your offering might take off. Wired News is taking a look at some web-based services that have received a ton of use from foreign users they weren’t even targeting. The best (and probably most well known) example is Google’s Orkut — which now has 66% of its users from Brazil (only 10% are American). What’s interesting is that this number keeps increasing. A few months ago, a similar article noted that Brazilians made up something like 40% of all Orkut users. Of course Google’s Orkut is based in the US and never did anything special to target Brazilian users. For some companies it becomes a challenge: how do they deal with users they never expected? Some startups now realize that they have to prepare for internationalization from the very beginning, while others are simply ignoring certain geographical markets. Either way, it’s a very different type of challenge for young internet companies.

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