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Country Snapshot: Iceland

Marc Jarrett
Seeking inspiration for the next country to cover as part of my range of country 'snapshots' was not too difficult. As Iceland's banking sector implodes, U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has undiplomatically condemned the handling of the collapse of its banks and its failure to guarantee British savers' deposits; blaming the Government and describing it as "effectively illegal."

Furthermore, it has emerged that over a hundred U.K. local councils had more than £800m deposited in Icelandic bank accounts. Harsh words. Large numbers. Extraordinary times.

Iceland boasts the world's highest Internet penetration rate, which stands at an astonishing 84.8 percent of its population of just 300,000 people; thus confirming what we had long all suspected — hostile climates are great for our business!

Being located between North America and Europe, I have flown over Iceland several times, but have never had the opportunity to visit it. I was therefore delighted to learn a couple of years back that a webmaster gathering was to take place there, and so I made arrangements accordingly.

Turns out that a rape victim's help group learnt of our industry's forthcoming jaunt; and not only branded pornography as demeaning to women, but also likened us to drug traffickers and child molesters. Charming. Especially when one considers that (most) porn actually celebrates all women, unlike mainstream media, which does not.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the convention and its opponents made headline news in such a tiny country. This put pressure on Reykjavik's mayor to do something about it. This, in turn, lead to the Radisson Hotel Group cancelling our rooms and therefore the event — demonstrating breathtaking double standards and hypocrisy when one considers the money that they make from pay-per-view porn in their hotel rooms throughout the world — including in Iceland.

At this juncture of my snapshot, I would normally research what the credit card penetration levels are in their banking system. However, given that they no longer have one, this renders that particular statistic irrelevant anyway.

On a more positive note, their telecoms infrastructure is still alive and well — so if you want to start making money from these Internet obsessed people, then phone billing is no longer an option — it is a necessity.

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