Targeting Foreign Traffic Revisited

Stephen Yagielowicz

Recently, ran a new article by Avishai on the importance of targeting foreign markets. In today's highly competitive global economy, Webmasters must realize that there is a whole world outside of the continental USA that likes sex, porn and adult entertainment - and that has some money to burn. Avishai's article has provoked some thoughtful responses that I would like to share with you all:

I'm a big believer that the real future of profitable e-commerce (and not just for the adult Web arena) lies overseas, and my use of the term 'overseas' underscores the opportunity. In the beginning, the Net was about America and the English-speaking world beyond. As 'Americans' many of us tend to see the good old USA as the only 'civilized' place on the globe, and everyone else as being somehow 'backwards.' A really stereotypical 'Ugly American' attitude to be sure, but a commonplace one (in my opinion) nonetheless:

Reality disconnects with perception, however, when one begins to look at the demographics of Web usage over the last few years, and quickly realizes that we (Americans) are no longer in the majority, and just as the face of America constantly changes with every new influx of immigrants, so too does the face of the Net.

For instance, did you know that the 2nd most common TLD (Top Level Domain) currently is .de? That's right, folks, The Fatherland ranks above .net and the rest - something that may come as a surprise to those who feel that North America is the only game in town. Which brings up another point: North America is not just 'America' - but Canada and Mexico too - and is not just English speaking, but French speaking (as my two good friends Claude and Fred from pointed out to me), and Spanish speaking as well ~ and that's just our local 'neighborhood.' Wait until the Chinese figure out that capitalism really works:

Now I could go on at length about the realities and drawbacks of globalism, the coming New World Order, and a raft of other associated issues, but the fact remains that this inevitable tide will easily wash over our current, outdated business models, and that the faster you realize that you are a citizen of the planet Earth, and not just of 'Anytown, USA,' then the faster you will be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that this profound, and ongoing, change will bring.

The 'short course' is simple: if your sales are not what they could be, then one solution is to expand your market - and your marketing. The theory is simple, the mechanics, not so. Here's what a few of you had to say about this in response to Avishai's original article; consider these points carefully, and consider also that many (if not most) of the posting Webmasters are not 'Americans' - yes, porn is a truly global business:

Wisdom from XBiz' Cosmic Village:

Lee: "The only TRUE way of making sure you get the words that you want translated effectively is to go with HUMAN translation services. It would seem like after all this time, the adult Internet is beginning to realize that the foreign markets are still relatively untamed and, with a bit of assistance along the way, these can reap the benefits to no end."

Avishai: ":the [online] translator should be used "one way" only: translating the foreign pages to English, so that the adult Webmaster will understand the foreign pages. As for writing descriptions, I specifically said that the advised method is to copy an existing description from a similar listing in a foreign search engine. This method is intended for Webmasters who do not have the budget to hire professionals in this field or are DIY [Do It Yourself] people. At the bottom line, the results are great even if you do it yourself."

Tafkap: "Well, our system can detect what the surfer's language is through his browser. Each time he goes on our Websites, the language detection is activated, and he can read them in his own native language, which makes it easier for him."

Fearful Viking: "I did some effort to get listed with SE's from the Takuawa list a year ago. A lot of work but almost nothing came out of it. A simple thing you can do though is to have translated pages, not only entry pages, and make sure the META tags [are in the target language]. I have had some French pages crawled by French SE's without requesting it, and getting good hits."

quagmyre: "You say you have some success with this. Is it on a PPC campaign? Or do you use both dialers and CC accts? Ihave been looking into tapping the potential that occupies that first "w" in www, but I have found that quite a few of my sponsors and normal marketing channels just do NOT accept dialers! This now means that I need different pages just for payment methods, which seems complicated! And how successful is a site written by me using my syntaxual idioms going to work on a "foreigner" (sorry, it's all perspective). Here's an example: two friends of mine are walking down the beach, an English guy comes up and he says: "Excuse me, can I pinch a fag?" Friend 'A' says: "Take your pick, big boy!" and friend 'B' replies "Speak for yourself, slut!" The poor 'limey' just wanted a cigarette - a simple phrase caused ENTIRELY the wrong message to be sent! And all parties were speaking the "same" language - I see horror stories:" Why is it that a lot of people have the idea that you can get a lot of international traffic with little effort? Bottom line: It pays if you do it right.

DaBrain: "Why is it that a lot of people have the idea that you can get a lot of international traffic with little effort? I'll agree it might be easier than English speaking traffic, but if you're serious about it, you'll have to do some work. For starters I would stay away from Babel Fish like the plague! Not only because it sucks with your "mainstream" language, but also because we're talking 'adult industry' so most of your terms are slang and therefore they just won't work with anything but a carbon-based life form who actually knows how to translate slang. People who can speak more than one language know what I'm talking about.

If you're thinking about going international, my recommendation is to REALLY go international. Either get a local partner or move over there; be ready to throw money into it. After all, you can learn about the best Dutch search engines, but can you even find the link to submit a new site? Find out what works and what doesn't (you'll be amazed how gay sites perform terribly in some countries and amazingly in some others). Learn the language if necessary. Bottom line: It pays if you do it right."

Lopix: I am with DaBrain, there is only one way to do it, the right way. The last company I worked for tried to launch some Euro sites, and even hired a translation service with real humans. Then we hired some staff with language skills for CSR and whatnot. They read the sites and laughed out loud, they were in complete gibberish; we had been duped! We had to hire another translator to get it right. Problem is, these sites had been running for 6 months already, and had become a joke. They died a slow death thereafter.

And they would not have survived anyway, not without a presence overseas. People want to see a local address or phone, they feel better knowing you are in the same country as them. Plus it plays on their Nationalism, they would rather pay a site from their home country than a foreign site, at least many would. Take your time and do the research, otherwise it could be for naught."

Avishai: What is better? To do absolutely nothing with respect to the international market, or to spend 6, 8 or 12 hours and do SOMETHING? What's better? To get some more traffic than you're getting now, or not to get more traffic from the [outside] world ?

For me, the bottom line is that opportunity is knocking loudly: you can either embrace it, or be left behind - the choice is yours! Click on the link below to read the full text and to add your thoughts to this discussion! ~ Stephen