Money From Asia and Iraq

Marc Jarrett
Given the fact that 60 percent of the world’s population lives in Asia and that the Internet is a global medium, the profit potential from there is clearly enormous.

For example, according to, Iraq has an Internet penetration of just 0.1 percent. During the last year, we paid just under $3000 in sales from there.

Since U.S. Internet penetration stands at 69.1 percent, that would have been over $2m in sales if Iraq had the same usage as in North America.

Some webmasters have suggested most of these sales have come from sexually frustrated soldiers serving their country. But given that the default call-to-action for surfers from there is in Arabic, we can see that the vast majority of transactions are conducted in that language.

However, it is a safe bet to assume that those that change the language to English are one of our boys. A “revert to English” option is included to capture horny soldiers, businessman and expatriates.

And Iraq represents a small fraction of the massive Asian market, with whom our phone billing is proving to be particularly popular. Recent data confirms this, showing a 120 percent increase in sales from there during the past year.

Another country showing impressive growth in password sales is Borat’s native country of Kazakhstan. With Internet penetration of just 2.7 percent, there is only one way for this market to go.

This success in end-user uptake can in part be attributed to the ubiquity of the phone – practically everyone has access to one. In fact, cellphone penetration in many developing markets outstrips that of land-lines and rivals penetration levels of much more developed ones (there are now more cellphones in the UK than people). This, combined with the anonymous nature of the purchase, is what makes our solution so popular with end-users.

Combine this with a geo-targeted call-to-action in a language they understand (their own), and you have yourself a website fit for the twenty-first century.

Whilst increasing numbers of webmasters are beginning to implement geo-IP, more often that not they are employing only a handful of predominantly European Languages.

Clearly, to convert Asian surfers into paying customers, Russian, Hindi, Arabic, Hebrew and Thai need to be deployed as part of the language mix.

Where possible, to reinforce the "feel-good" factor, we have used the voices that are heard when calling to purchase a password of national celebrities, making surfers more comfortable paying you this way.

Since the surfer buys time in advance, the billing clock is no longer ticking once within the member’s area. This makes the surfer more likely to return at a later stage. Indeed, recent analysis of our platform stats earlier this year revealed that 17 percent of callers were repeat customers in a single day.

Whilst such billing is not recurring by default, when used in conjunction with compelling content, it will have surfer’s worldwide coming back for more. Including our friends in Iraq and elsewhere in Asia.