Tuesday, June 22, 1999

Breakfastnetwork.com and PC EXPO

TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 1999 -- Breakfastnetwork.com and PC EXPO

I started off the week at Bogen PR and LPNYTHink’s Breakfastnetwork.com panel on “Taking Your Internet Brand International" held at the Bryant Park Grill on Tuesday, June 22nd. With a format change that promoted more dialogue between the panelists and exploration of the topic than previous months, Edmund Bogen kept the discussion moving along smoothly (and with humor at times) as moderator. Jonathan Spira (senior managing director, The Basex Group), Chris Byrant (CEO & managing director, T3 Media), James Ledbetter (NY Bureau Chief, The Industry Standard) and Alexander Moha (business development manager, Voila.com) were the knowledgeable and engaging speakers. Some of the points that were discussed centered on the differences and challenges of making Web sites global vs. local and how to scale to multiple foreign languages. Discussion also centered around privacy, security and legal issues; managing multiple URLs (.fr, .ge, .it), the Liberty Net case where hate messages were delivered to neo-nazi's in Canada and a porn site directed to Japanese people, and how the companies running these organizations were charged despite their servers being in a different country.

Chris Bryant addressed the difference between translation and transliteration and explained how every project T3 looks at regarding localization efforts (Web sites for countries other than the company's main country) address geography, culture and brand.

Jonathan Spira brought up two examples of translation gone awry--one with a good result and the other less favorable--with his story of Japanese people who loved Coca Cola when their campaign was translated to "We bring your ancestors back to life," and the disaster of Chevrolet's NOVA car in Brazil for its translation to "No Go."

Bryant brought up the point that while the Internet was developed by academics and governments worldwide, the U.S. still takes claim for, and is quickly associated with for ".com" addresses. Alexander added that domain names are considered trademarks in Europe.

In terms of Internet growth, Jim Ledbetter brought up some interesting numbers telling us that by the end of '98 there were 150 million Internet users. 52% of those users are in the U.S. By 2005 their will be 700 million users, 29% of which will be in the U.S. Alex mentioned how the microchip is becoming more developed for PCs in Europe when the conversation veered toward the "Euro" currency and using credit cards online. He also told us that the European user is similar to U.S. demographics (but are quickly changing as Jim pointed out) with 2/3rd users being male, young, urban. He mentioned that the European male is a bit younger (16 - 23 yrs. old) and that the Internet is seen more as a family educational, entertainment tool than it is in the U.S.

One of my personal wish list items (if it exists please let me know!) is software that can translate web pages on the fly based on the country a user is logging in from. Of course, always having the "international second language" (English) available as a link on the homepage would be good too.

Among early attendees were Ravi Chandron of ABC.com, Drew Wiliness of Agency.com and Christopher Gerstile. Chrysalis Computer's president Anne Chelius, Michael Weill (Exodus) and Mark Kindley of CMP's VarBusiness were there as well. Peter Crowell (CEO) and Dean Calabrese (President) of Spider Partners (new age web systems) were sharing a table with Jacqueline Russo of Middleberg & Associates, Kailah Roven of Redwood Partners, and Anne Lapointe-Caracciolo and Elizabeth Mayeri of France Telecom, Voila.com. I sat at a table with Andy Levy of LPNYTHink, Zor Gorelov (Pres. & CEO) and Dan Tarulli (VP, Sales) of iaSoft (communities online for your site), Sam--Edmund's beautiful fiancé (until Thursday when they marry) and his mother Joy. Afterwards I had a chance to chat with Joel Scotkin (president of Random Walk Computing) who introduced me to Austin Lear (of RWC) and who had the good news to report that his company is now 50 people! Mark Hanny (director, channel marketing, IBM Corporate Internet division) and Linda White (marketing/communications) of IBM had very positive feedback about the breakfastnetwork.com and sound as if they’ll be back for more!