The Oban Blog

Plucked duo by Meena Kadri

The global digital marketing weekly: Thursday 31 July 2014

Once again, it’s your weekly update of global digital marketing news. This week: French supermarket chain Carrefour pulls out of India, raising questions about global participation there; Yandex revenues are up thanks to text ads; Google Translate is crowdsourcing improvements; Spain passes its own ‘Google Tax’; and the Russian social network market remains dominated by local brands.

Carrefour fails in India: can foreign brands succeed there?

An interesting piece over at starts us off this week. Major French supermarket chain Carrefour is exiting India after just two years of operation. Though Carrefour is struggling with a dip in profits on home turf, they also cite India’s strict laws as a major barrier to entry there.

Due to local government and trade union pressure, multinationals in India can only control a 51 percent stake in their operations, goods must be locally sourced and investment in local infrastructure is compulsory. India’s retail sector is dominated by small, family owned businesses and, conscious of how the sector has evolved in many of the multinational’s home-markets, this tradition has been aggressively protected.

However, some feel that foreign investment would help improve infrastructure, and many multinationals are waiting in the wings to attempt to exploit the massive untapped potential of the Indian market.


Yandex revenues up, driven by ad revenue

Russia’s leading search engine, Yandex, has announced RUR 12.2bn revenues for its second quarter – up 32 percent over last year. Text-based adverts account for 93% of this revenue, with the company’s display advertising offering shrinking in prominence from 12% to 6%.

The number of unique advertisers working with Yandex is increasing – up 25% year on year to 295,000, reflecting increased interest internally and externally. It remains to be seen, however, whether the international market can be sustained against a background of deteriorating relationships with Europe and the United States.


Google wants help to improve Translate

As observed over at Search Engine Journal, Google has launched a crowdsourcing space for language enthusiasts to contribute to their Translate product. It is hoped that this will yield improvements to the 80 languages already available, as well as opening the doors to language support beyond what is already available. Members of the community will be able to generate new translations and rate existing ones.

Google is also adding the option to improve translations wherever they appear during your day to day browsing. Simply click the “improve this translation” pencil when you see something that doesn’t quite work.


Spain to force Google to pay for local national news

EU countries and their Google-related laws are a regular feature of this series, and this time it’s Spain’s turn to pursue a so-called “Google Tax”. Search Engine Land reveals that Spain has passed a law that will force Google to compensate traditional news publishers when it includes their results in its Google News service. The logic is that, despite the fact that Google provides free traffic to these publishers, it is profiting from their work by using it without paying – on some level, infringing copyrights.

Spain’s legislation is patterned after a similar copyright law passed in Germany, with a slight modification. In Germany, Google de-listed all newspaper editors and forced them to waive the right to compensation if they used the service (which they all inevitably did, when Google News de-listing cost them significant traffic). Spanish authorities have specifically written compensation in as an inalienable right – preventing Google from allowing publishers to opt out.

Facebook grows in Russia, still fourth

Russia’s social network landscape continues to be dominated by home-grown social networking sites, with Vkontakte visited by 73.9% of all internet users, and and second and third respectively. Facebook is the first foreign network in the top ten, used by 34.1% of users. LiveJournal, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ also get a look in, but nothing quite compares to VK’s impressive usage statistics: on average, Russian internet users use Vkontakte for more than 8 hours a month, and 13 minutes per visit.

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“Plucked Duo” header image by Flickr user Meena Kadri
Yandex office logo by Flickr user Abd allah Foteih
Spanish flag by Flickr user Fabi-DE