The Oban Blog

Digital World – Global Digital Marketing News: Thursday 26 November 2015

Mobile-themes open this week’s update of international marketing news, with Naver declaring a “mobile only” strategy and the Chinese government restricting the mobile phone services of anyone found using a VPN in the north east. Elsewhere, Yandex.Webmaster now includes notifications about any penalties the site is under, Indian parents have been surveyed on their security concerns, and the three-way battle for the online grocery marketing in Southeast Asia gets its own infographic.

Naver declares “mobile only” strategy

Speaking at Naver Connect 2015 in Seoul, Naver CEO Kim Sang-hun has reportedly announced a “mobile only” strategy which will see all Naver mobile services (including search) reorganised on a “mobile-only platform” specifically engineered for users of mobile devices. Prior to this announcement, Naver was already focussing on a “mobile first” service: a move towards exclusive mobile versions of services is likely motivated by the fact that more than 73% of the South Korean population own and use a smartphone.

There is no indication that desktop services will be discontinued as a result of this strategy – instead, we expect to see mobile versions of Naver services taking advantage of “variable elements, like location, tastes, interests and state of use”, as Naver’s head of services departments puts it.


Chinese government will block the mobile services of VPN users

Residents of China’s North Western Xinjiang autonomous region are reporting that the local police have barred them from using mobile phone services because they have previously used VPN (Virtual Private Network) software. VPN software can be used in China to gain access to websites and services that are not permitted on Chinese government whitelists. Affected users receive a message warning them of the “police notice” served against them, with their mobile phone number shut down “within the next two hours in accordance with the law”. They are then directed to “the cyberpolice” affiliated with their local police station.

Speculation points to the imposition of tighter government controls as an “anti-terrorist” measure in the wake of the Paris attacks. Xinjiang is a focal point for ethnic and religious tensions, with separatists of Uyghur ethnicity claiming the southern half, formerly East Turkestan, was illegally incorporated into the People’s Republic of China in 1949.


Yandex.Webmaster now warns about SEO guideline violations

Yandex has recently announced (as reported by Russian Search Tips) that their Russian-only Yandex.Webmaster toolkit has been updated to carry notifications about SEO guideline violations. Webmasters will find a warning if they are suspected of purchasing or selling links for SEO purposes, for instance. The update is accompanied by a new “I fixed everything” button, offering an instant way of appealing the penalties imposed.

This will likely be a welcome improvement over the former situation, which saw webmasters contacting Yandex to enquire whether there were special circumstances behind any perceived ranking drops. Warnings covered by the messages include penalties for thin affiliate pages, keyword stuffing, hidden text and “artificially inflating behavioural factors” (using bots to spoof CTR, time on page etc.)


Cybertheft, not strangers, key concern for Indian parents

In the world’s fastest growing internet nation, parental safety concerns differ somewhat from other markets, according to a survey by Intel featured on eMarketer this week. Whereas just 17% of internet-using parents question their children about the strangers they are interacting with online, the survey found that parents are far more preoccupied with “cybercriminals and identity theft”. 71% said they discussed the importance of this issue and taught their children how to keep their real-life identities secure from thieves.

Other issues considered more serious than stranger danger included privacy settings (62%), cyberbullies (57%), online reputation (53%) and popularity among friends (52%).


Infographic covers Southeast Asia’s online grocery battle

Tech In Asia has published an infographic summarising the three-way battle in Southeast Asia for the online grocery market. The brands RedMart and HappyFresh are long-established rivals, but they’re now facing new competition from Singapore-based Honestbee, who recently raised $15 million USD.

The graphic covers the education and experience of each CEO, their key differences, available payment methods, capital/investors and more. The infographic is worth a look to gain a general sense of market conditions too.

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Image credits

“Everyone is staring at their phone” photo by Flickr user Marc Smith

Uyguhr man and watermelons photo by Flickr user M M

Giant Hand photo by Flickr user Mikhail Kryshen

Parents and kids learn together photo by Flickr user DFID UK

Southeast Asia’s Online Grocery Battle infographic snippet as cited above.