In their recent article on the NYT:” In developing countries, Web Grows without profit (for US firms)“, Brad and Miguel described how Netizens in places other than North America and Western Europe are consuming > 80% of the UGC on Web 2.0 platforms while contributing almost nothing to the bottom line of these start-ups. Apparently, advertising, which is the main source of revenue, is “ridiculously low” and the costs to stream quality content in countries like Vietnam where network infrastructure sucks add insult to injury.
Though, the news came as less of a confirmation than an announcement: US-based social companies are changing course. No more Y!360, stripped-down MySpace version and the move to charge subscription fee by Last.fm, etc. The ambition to build a global digital house is over. Now it’s all about how to survive in this tough economy.
This poses a question: What are we gonna do about it?
Take a look at how young Vietnamese (not including me) are reacting to the soon-to-be-shut-down Y!360. An EPIC struggle to stay with the platform until its departure. Then Youtube? Facebook? Twitter? ETC
Well, for one thing, Vietnamese start-ups face even bigger problems. They don’t have a source of revenue to rely on. Online advertising is still in its infant stage. Most of the current revenue stream comes from IDG’s investments
On the other hand, local companies’ve considered this a shining opportunity for them to step up and lure the influx of refugees to their sites, only to find out that their service either does not live up to the expectation, or they don’t have enough money to survive.
Where will we go? I don’t know. My friend told me he knew the answer. He knew how the likes of Cyvee could survive and make money. But he didn’t tell me, and so I need to figure it out myself. We all do. In the meantime, no idea.
Anyway, I still think it’s an exciting chance to attend the Unconference 2009 next weekend, organized by our buddies at e27. Maybe these start-ups have an answer as to how to make it through the night.
So if you’re interested, here’s the piece of information for reading:
The “Unconference” is e27′s flagship event and the 2009 version will be the 7th time we have held it since 2006. Styled after DEMO or more Techcrunch50, we want to showcase Asia-based web startups and provide the growing community a chance to mingle, cross-pollinate ideas and learn from each other’s market experience. Past startup demos and attendees include Wego (funded by NewsCorp AU in 2008), FirstMeta the virtual-world only bank, Tencube a mobile security service, Nuffnang the #1 blog-focused ad network in Southeast Asia and featured in Businessweek’s Top 25 Young Asian Entrepreneurs of 2008.
“Unconference” 2009 is targeting around 500 attendees and will be held on Saturday, May 16 at Biopolis, a government-funded incubator and research hub in Singapore. We would like to reach out to any Vietnamese startup that is looking for a good launching platform into Asia as we could potentially allocate a exhibition slot for them.
We are looking to feature local and regional startups (especially regional or international) to exhibit during the event, either to launch their startup or a new product.
Blog post intro about the event: http://www.e27.sg/2009/04/29/unconference-2009-29-startups-10-countries-1-event-may-16th-2009/
Event Website: http://www.e27.sg/unconference/2009
Ticketing Site: http://unconference2009sg.eventbrite.com/
Let me know if you’re coming!