Some companies have given up on Spanish for the US

I’ve been revisiting a number of the websites that at one point were localized specifically for Spanish speakers in the US.

And now I’m finding dead links.

Home Depot had a site located at homedepotespanol.com and Lowe’s had one at www.lowes.com/spanish. Both of those sites are now gone. Both companies do maintain site specific to Mexico, which makes the absence of US Spanish websites even more curious.

UPDATE: Joe Kutchera noted that Lowe’s has NOT abandoned their Spanish site; but they did change URLs and failed to redirect the old address. The new address is http://es.lowes.com.

The pet food company Iams once hosted a localized site at www.iams.com/es_US. That links is now dead as well and I can’t find any replacement.

Visit WalgreensEspanol.com and you’ll see this message:

Which more or less says: Welcome to Walgreens; this site has been deactivated. Good luck with that.

Fortunately, there are still numerous websites out there that do offer Spanish for the US, such as FedEx and Holiday Inn.

I’m not suggesting that there is a larger trend of companies abandoning the US Spanish-speaking market. If anything, the trend points towards greater investment; I’ve spoken with numerous companies this year who are planning their initial US Spanish sites in 2012. And there are many websites out there that have for years supported Spanish for the US, ranging from FedEx to Holiday Inn.

Nevertheless, some companies appear to have abandoned their US Spanish efforts, at least on the web. And this is unfortunate, not just because of the wasted resources but for fact that they will no doubt be launching US Spanish sites again some day. Any company that is serious about the US consumer market simply cannot afford to ignore this audience.

And there is a lesson here as well. Although most companies that launch localized web sites rarely retreat, some do. To avoid this fate, it’s important to have clear, measurable goals for your localized sites. Don’t just do it because everyone else is doing it. Always assume that there is someone within your company who would love to slash your budget in favor of some other initiative (as there probably is someone). I often say that localization is a journey without end. But sometimes these journeys do end, at least temporarily.

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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.

5 thoughts on “Some companies have given up on Spanish for the US”

  1. John – Well-written, but disheartening, summary of Spanish-language websites for the U.S. It seems that international (non-US) traffic creates a lot of confusion for these marketers, even though international shoppers represent a whole new business opportunity for online retailers. Immigrants to the U.S. from Latin America (and everywhere else for that matter) will keep in touch with family members in their country of origin via social media. So the need for a Spanish-language website, as you say, will increase in importance and not go away.

  2. One correction to your post: Lowes has actually invested in a much deeper Spanish-language website and thus taken an opposite approach to The Home Depot’s abandoning Spanish for the web. Lowes just changed the URL to this one: http://es.lowes.com/ From an SEO/linking perspective, they should have re-directed the previous URL (the one you mention above in your post here) to the new one – http://es.lowes.com/ – to make it more findable.

  3. Joe — Thanks for the comments! I’ll note Lowe’s in the post. I was most puzzled by Lowe’s simply because they have invested so heavily in Spanish-language signed in the stores I’ve visited. I’m glad to see they haven’t given up on the web — though a simple redirect might would have been nice.

    Thanks again!

  4. Well Spanish did not take over like we were told either. In the 1980’s there were claims that by now Spanish only speaking Latinos would be an extremely large part of the population. This did not happen. Mainly because by the third generation the Spanish is lost in most cases. I know a third generation that had this happen. The son married and English only Speaker. There for as his kids grew up he did not speak Spanish in the home because the wife did not speak it herself. Most of these Latinos can speak English as well as Spanish. So the Spanish only site is probably not as important as we are lead to believe.

    All these Latinos may not be going to the Spanish sites as much as you think they are. They probably just use the English site because that is what pops up. So therefore businesses may see no reason to keep it up. That is probably the problem. Low traffic flow to the Spanish sites.

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