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.
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.