Weblog Globalization

Of course it had to happen. Once Weblogs became a profitable busines, it was only natural for people to try to expand these Weblogs into new markets — and new languages.

The first major blog to do this was Engadget, which I’ve written about before. The site is now offered in Chinese (traditional and simplified), Japanese, and Spanish. My understanding is that the blog has local editors who do their thing in their native language. Things get interesting when news items cross over and are translated between the various sites.

Not surprisingly, competitor Gizmodo has also been expanding outside the US. Gizmodo teamed up with VNU Business Media to launch seven sites for the European market.

gizmodo_gateway.jpg

And here’s a Q&A with Gaby Darbyshire of Gawker Media (Gizmodo’s parent) on the globalization of blogs.

And my favorite excerpt…

    What particular steps do you take when internationalizing a blog? Language is an obvious issue. Are there other, less obvious ones?

    Gaby Darbyshire: Local content and flavor is important: with gadgets, for example, there will be local review sites, manufacturer sites, ecommerce outlets, et cetera. Tone will also vary by country: it doesn’t make sense to have someone sitting in New York writing a site for the French market. There will also be local stories that a U.S. blog wouldn’t necessarily pick up on. So probably only 70 percent or so of the content is a direct translation.

Now if an upstart blog company knows how important it is to have local content and flavor on its local Web sites, why doesn’t a company like GE offer local flavor and content on all of its local Web sites? This will be a topic for another day.

So what blogs are best suited to go global? According to Gaby “Tech and tech-related blogs are really the best for internationalization … Entertainment or news blogs are harder to export because the content is so specific to a particular culture, though obviously one could have a completely localized version rather than a full or part translation.”

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.