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Old 04-12-2005   #1
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Yahoo! Gains Market Share in Latin America with TeRespondo

Last week Yahoo! made a BIG move to gain market share towards Latin America with the buying of TeRespondo.com. Except for Gary's blog pointing to the original ClickZ report, this deal could have passed by almost under the radar. I still thought the story was only reported and the true meaning was totally missed. Therefore I wrote a blog to try and cover it as best as possible the way I saw it happened:
Yahoo! Buys TeRespondo.com to gain market share in Latin America
I also wanted to interview Juan Diego Calle, founder and CEO of TeRespondo, but unfortunately he was not available because he is gone for a month. One of the questions I wanted to ask him was "What structural and cultural barriers do think Yahoo! will encounter in Latin America? What about for Google and MSN Search?".

As you can see from the outcome of this deal, things happen differently in Latin America and it's not easy for a foreign company to just drop by and take over. Partnerships are in most cases the best approach. I think that if Juan would have been available, he would have agreed that loyalty was a clear barrier for Yahoo!'s entry into Brazil (at least) if not all markets. Google and MSN Search will most likely see the same.

I'm interested to hear a few thoughts from you:
  • What do you think is the potential outcome from this deal for the Latin America search marketing industry?
  • What do you expect to see in the coming years from the BIG 3?
  • What did you learn from this deal?

Last edited by Nacho : 04-18-2005 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 04-18-2005   #2
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The move to reach online buyers in latin america was anticipated by Danny Sullivan when we added a session on reaching hispanics and south americans to the SES Agenda back in 2003. This year at SES San Jose the session will have greater meaning as Yahoo has validated the value of search engine marketing in south america. Matt Whiteley of Terespondo , Lucas Morea of LatinEdge, Nacho himself of ihispanic, Juan Fernado of Estudio Latino and Studiocom, and Peter Celeste from Overture were on the session that I moderated. The session was a foreshadowing of things to come - and now they are starting to appear.
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Old 04-18-2005   #3
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Here is Wall Street's reaction (from REUTERS): Yahoo's Web advertising unit to buy TeRespondo

Quote:
The move comes as Web search providers such as Yahoo and Google Inc. push to expand their Web search and related advertising businesses abroad to drive additional revenue growth.

Shares of Yahoo were down almost 2 percent to $33.91 in midday trade on the Nasdaq.
Two percent for one day is not bad. That's a very positive reaction.

I also wanted to explain that "Te Respondo" in the Spanish dictionary is a verb which literally means "I repond you" but in general terms it says "We Respond".
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Old 04-19-2005   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nacho
Here is Wall Street's reaction (from REUTERS): Yahoo's Web advertising unit to buy TeRespondo

Two percent for one day is not bad. That's a very positive reaction.

I also wanted to explain that "Te Respondo" in the Spanish dictionary is a verb which literally means "I repond you" but in general terms it says "We Respond".
Seeing quality engines merged into the big engines sucks... the diversity of places to advertise just gets smaller.
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Old 04-19-2005   #5
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Latin America market is huge. I just think that Yahoo always is in the right moment at the right time. In my country the Internet uses as a powerful marketing tool is growing a lot.
I am expecting to see a better and many search tools for Hispanics, for example; Local Search, SE Conferences and many others.
Right now the Latin America people are hungry to learn more and more about the Internet industry. It will take months maybe to see all the people online, but every day –at least in my country- I can see how the “Internet Café” appears in every corner.
TeRespondo is a huge site for a huge market. Now, Yahoo won’t have to wonder about what we are looking forward, they can find it in their new BIG3.

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Old 04-19-2005   #6
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First of, hi all its been a while,

Teresondo. Now I have not used them. But I understand that the purchase is an injection of clients for Yahoo/Overture. It is a question of reach. This purchase gives more reach to Yahoo advertisers.

Just as the hotmail purchase was an injection of users for Microsoft all those years ago !!

But,

I would question the future of local market search engines. Of course there will always be a niche to fill. But we are talking niche. It is hard to imagine local search engine players competing with the new offerings in the pipeline (or in testing), such as video search from google, or local serach voice operated via movil phones from yahoo.

Diversity.

I believe that is the niche that local search engines will fill. I have had no experience with Terespondo pero mi experiencia en second tier PPC channels has not been good.

So I am happy that a big local player gets tied into a ad distributor that I trust and have had good results from.

Quote:
What do you think is the potential outcome from this deal for the Latin America search marketing industry?
The start of a logical process of the global players increasing there reach into some new local markets.

Quote:
What do you expect to see in the coming years from the BIG 3?
More of the same.

Quote:
What did you learn from this deal?
That Nacho is as happy as larry that latin america is officially hot search engine land !

No, seriously, Nacho and others have clearly been indicating what was up, so well done.
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Old 04-19-2005   #7
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By buying TeRespondo, not only Yahoo! has bought some audience a là hotmail style, it has also bought the ad deals it has with MSN Brasil, UOL, IG, Buscapé y Ubbi. The first two are the some of the biggest search engines in Brazil, with Ubbi being also big in Argentina.

And the original article also comments on the tools for foreign advisors wanting to have a ppc campaign either in portuguese or spanish with the ability to still manage the whole campaign in USD.

I don't know much about the brazilian market, besides it's the biggest in South America. But the spanish market is divided into big countries and small countries. In the big markets (Argentina, Chile, México) there are much more competence with local engines and directories than in the smaller countries, in which Google and MSN (through hotmail) have the lions share.

Google has the advantage of only offering search and ads, and the Google news service works well. But the portals have to spend more bucks to have local content, and they can think as Terra once did, that you can work from the metropoli. The best way for them to go is Yahoo!'s way, buying a local partner and maintaining the brand. They have the local contents (which they can use in their portal), they have the audience and they get more ad space.
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Old 04-19-2005   #8
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I am sure that the brand will not last more than a year. Then the usual rebranding will occur.
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Old 04-19-2005   #9
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What structural and cultural barriers do think Yahoo! will encounter in Latin America? What about for Google and MSN Search?
CASH, Loyalty, and Language. I think for North America and the rest of the world this is a brilliant acquistion for Yahoo. For Latin America I think this is just a blip on the radar that doesn't deserve the credit its due. Especially the potentials for growth by Yahoo taking on the brand. It's hard to have a successful PPC campaign without the proper funding, and while a lot of latin america is predominantly cash based it will may be harder to attract smaller newer latin america businesses to the golden oppourtunities PPC may offer. Then again maybe not as mentioned it will standarize to USD. There could be other barriers stifling growth such as, expense, believed effectiveness, distribution outside of metro areas, loyalty to traditional methods, adoption of new business technologies.

Nacho you make a good point about the loyalty issue, I guess instead of earn it, Yahoo is resolving to buy it to realize the potential. Smart move by them. But if Yahoo gets the horse to water, do you think it will drink?
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Old 04-19-2005   #10
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Originally Posted by Phoenix
CASH, Loyalty, and Language. I think for North America and the rest of the world this is a brilliant acquistion for Yahoo. For Latin America I think this is just a blip on the radar that doesn't deserve the credit its due. Especially the potentials for growth by Yahoo taking on the brand. It's hard to have a successful PPC campaign without the proper funding, and while a lot of latin america is predominantly cash based it will may be harder to attract smaller newer latin america businesses to the golden oppourtunities PPC may offer. Then again maybe not as mentioned it will standarize to USD. There could be other barriers stifling growth such as, expense, believed effectiveness, distribution outside of metro areas, loyalty to traditional methods, adoption of new business technologies.

Nacho you make a good point about the loyalty issue, I guess instead of earn it, Yahoo is resolving to buy it to realize the potential. Smart move by them. But if Yahoo gets the horse to water, do you think it will drink?
I think this move is horrible. Yahoo has yet to prove it can coordinate foreign traffic in any significant way. They dropped their European traffic that they got from AOL PPC, the Japanese market is a mess and the reps - though good - are all based in Pasadena...

With Terespondo being its own boss, you had a compnay that was majority run and operated etc. by latin people. Do you see that being the case with Yahoo?

This is a backwards step at best or a major blunder by others.
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Old 04-19-2005   #11
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I think this move is horrible. Yahoo has yet to prove it can coordinate foreign traffic in any significant way. They dropped their European traffic that they got from AOL PPC, the Japanese market is a mess and the reps - though good - are all based in Pasadena...
Interesting take. How do you think Yahoo should approach foreign markets effectively however? What is the best first step they should take towards this? Focus on their main product solely or try to hedge into other markets to offer a more diverse product. Most of this I imagine would be up to the advertiser if they wanted to target this demographic (hopefully). Your right is not without problems. I think though that either Yahoo tries to take on the Latin market or have someone else do so eventually and do it successfully. Either way I think its a good step in that it opens up the possibilities further to those that may not consider it if Yahoo had not purchased TeRespondo. About employees in Pasadena, hopefully they will not make the same mistake as with other markets as Nacho mentioned in his report:

Quote:
The other thing that I'm waiting to hear is what will happen to TeRespondo's employees which have an amazing know-how about the cultural aspects of these markets and the know-who to contact since most businesses are referral based. It would be a shame and a total wrong move if they let them go.
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Old 04-19-2005   #12
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* "What do you think is the potential outcome from this deal for the Latin America search marketing industry?" Certainly, it's going to attract more attention to the various marketing opportunities available in Latin America, and in all likelihood there will be a more aggressive push on the part of larger players to identify sources of opportunity and take advantage of them while the getting is good...

Phoenix started to take the words right out of my mouth: the online Advertising Market in Latin America (already noted as more regionally segmented than North America) is also a different animal in terms of the ROI that can be expected for your average advertiser: this will inevitably affect how the Big 3 operate here in comparison to the much larger, more homogenous market they tap into in the 'First' world.

Most people are aware that on the whole, demographics in Latin America are split much more unevenly between the very rich and the very poor, and regional/cultural issues have a stronger influence on buying habits. To take Argentina for an example (as it was mentioned above as a "large" market.) My firm has a development office in Buenos Aires and I live there. Just briefly, 40% of the country lives in real Poverty (with a capital P). The few rich put the North American wealthy to shame, but there is a much smaller middle-class for online advertisers to tap into. Like much of Latin America (I've lived in Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, and parts of Central America), credit is scarce in Argentina and petty-crime high, especially in venues where people are using their ATM/credit cards. Result: people don't do too much buying online. You may look and say it's a country of 32 million and there are Internet cafes everywhere, so it's a "large" market, but anyone who is familiar with how things work down here would tell you that an online advertiser's ability to earn from advertising on Yahoo is going to be strongly determined by their already being a known brand and being able to service a customer away from the virtual world. This plays out differently in North America and so the business for the Big 3 in Latin America is probably not going to be an exact copy, but may require some interesting modifications in order to maximize revenue. Purchases by the Big 3 into the Latin American markets are important and influential, but the eccentricities of the local markets at a microcosmic level will have a much larger affect proportinally on how well they do, dollar-per-dollar invested, than they would in North America. I'll be interested to see how it goes as the region develops and forms more of these types of partnerships...
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Old 04-19-2005   #13
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I believe that for smart companies, the idea is not to be able to sell online in these markets or even be profitable right away. In the immediate future, the goal is to dominate the market so when people in Latin America in 5, 10 or 20 years think of the Internet, they think of Yahoo! - it's a branding move and a very smart one.

I can't speak to the specifics of how it will impact search quality, as I have never used any Latin American search services before, but I can say without a doubt that the longevity and brand association will carry a value with them that will be unavailable to any size company for any price in 10-20 years. Yahoo! is the early bird getting the worm - now it's their market to lose.
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Old 04-19-2005   #14
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A Brazilian perspective

I am from Brazil and I believe this was a very good move from Yahoo. Terespondo.com has very good deals with top portals in Brazil and reaches a significant share of Brazilian online audience.

According to Nielsen/NetRatings February’s report, Brazil has more home web users than Australia and Spain, almost half of UK and 1/3 of Germany. Of course you have the wealthy issue and maybe this is not a very good comparison but my point is: there is critic mass and people are getting more confident about buying online.

Forrester Research estimates that the market for e-commerce in Brazil was approximately R$1.8 billion in 2004, will grow to R$2.9 billion in 2005, and will reach R$12.8 billion by 2010, representing a compound annual growth rate of 36%, compared to a 14% of the mature e-commerce market in the US. In addition, Forrester Research data shows that the number of online shoppers was 3.6 million and will grow to 29.5 million by 2010.

Online retailers have many advantages when compared to the traditional retailers in Brazil, including the ability to efficiently reach and serve a large and geographically dispersed group of customers from a single central warehouse, the lower website management and maintenance cost as opposed to the physical stores.

As a PPC professional, I believe that this is deal will reduce competition. On the other hand this deal will bring better tools, knowledge and expertise to mature the market.

Yahoo was faster and Google missed a great opportunity.
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Old 04-19-2005   #15
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Question The sky is the limit?

Nacho thanks for pointing out this interesting news. It does seem as if it slipped under the radar a little. I am curious about a few things, in order to formulate a more educated opinion.

1. Is the Latin American market as advanced as North America in terms of "trusting the Internet?" By this I mean do people shop at anywhere near the same rate as in the US? What is the total Internet commerce numbers as a percentage of total sales in the region? Do you have any of this data? (Note thanks slidenburg for answering this question in advance...I had not refreshed when I was writing this post)(I left this comment to see what people really think about those projections)

2. What are the chances of a US company succeeding in these listings versus a local company? It would seem that even with well translated pages, many "loyal minded" Latin Americans would be more likely to buy "local?" Would American or other companies maybe be "throwing away" PPC money in this area, in anyone's opinion? Would one answer be to create a separate website with a PO Box address in Brasilia or somewhere?

3. What are the chances of having decent enough translating software available soon, in order to properly translate pages into specific Spanish/Portuguese without the usual need for manual revisions? Anyone that wanted to do business in this area would have to ensure that not only website content but also listings would have to be effective and enticing.

I look forward to more discussion on this topic...

Last edited by Chris Boggs : 04-19-2005 at 06:13 PM. Reason: added comment re:slidenberg post
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Old 04-19-2005   #16
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Don't translate, adapt

Brazilians are different than the rest of Latin America - at least in our minds. Many companies failed when entering the Brazilian market just applying the same campaigns across all countries. Per my experience I would say that is not simply translating a campaign that would make it work there. There are some values that need to be addressed otherwise it will sound “Latino”, not “Brazilian”– again, this is how Brazilians think.

Starmedia is an example of online portal that failed for not doing their homework. It’s hard to explain but I would suggest everybody that wants to target this audience to adapt their campaigns instead of simply translating.
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Old 04-19-2005   #17
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There are some values that need to be addressed otherwise it will sound “Latino”, not “Brazilian”– again, this is how Brazilians think
That doesn't surprise me, even though it was not something I "knew".

Thinking to the differences between marketing to the US, Britain, Canada, and Australia, for example (all english speaking), I don't think anyone should be surprised that marketing to Brazil, Spain, Mexico, and Argentina should require proper localization and respect for local culture, politics and word variations.

I'm inclined to believe that if Yahoo had just decided to become "Latin America" experts, they would have had a huge hurdle - I think buying a company that already had that expertise was a smart move, AS LONG AS they actually listen to it and don't try to control it.

One concept that many Americans and American companies have a hard time dealing with is that the US is really the only country in the world with a concept of the "melting pot" - an assumption that everyone comes in, adds their culture to the mix, then becomes an "American", which is supposed to have an identity that is the sum of the whole.

Other countries profess to accept the differences and adapt to them (Canada's official multicultural system), which I suppose would be more of a "salad bar, rather than the "stew" the US uses.

Still others hold to the belief that their country is their country and that foriegners have to adapt to them (France springs to mind). To continue with the food analogy, it's more of a "you eat whatever we are eating" approach.

There are positives and negatives to each of these approaches, but the constant is that they are different. Canada's multicultural approach is responsible for the constant issue of Quebec talking about separation, for example.

I think that running a company like a melting pot in an area of the globe that doesn't accept that as a concept is looking for trouble.

IMO, if they let TeRespondo do it's job and keep company control over non-culture issues as much as possible, they will do well.

If they attempt to do this:

"We are a US company. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile."

...then I suspect that resistance will be inevitable.

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Old 04-21-2005   #18
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I believe the success or failure of Yahoo in the South American market will depend a lot in the word of mouth and its "first impression" in the latino market. The users of terespondo will soon make their choice. Although as someone mentioned this could be a long term move for yahoo it is certainly a difficult feat to attempt. It is true that the Internet is still in diapers in South America so the potential for growth is great, and being off on an early start should give yahoo an advantage over the rest.

About Brasil. It does have a large population online but with a per capita income last year of 2.953 USD which is actually 1,5% lower than in the year 2001 (source: www.laprensa.com.bo/20040401/negocios/negocios06.htm) the probability of online spending actually growing in the immediate future is bleak. As for the post from Maxfink in Argentina I agree with him in his concern about the brutal difference between the rich and the poor and the disappearance of the middle class there (and in many countries in the world). Without solid economies it will never be that much about "trust" in the Internet but more about buying power. If Europe is a complicated market South America is even tougher and much poorer. If we are talking potential then it's a different matter, but again we have to remember that Argentina for example has people starving to death today.
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Old 11-29-2006   #19
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Just to let you know that now when you go to www.terespondo.com it redirects to http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com.mx/home/

Why .com.mx?? don't know that yet, perhaps there is some geographically redirect reason for it.

In my opinion, this is a good move to continue increasing the value of Yahoo's brand across Latin America. When Terespondo was aquired, it's brand was so powerful in the advertiser's top of mind that Yahoo had no other way and either it or someone else would get that equity. In time, new offices where opened and its new workforce achieved to convert that identity. On the other hand, Terespondo's PPC platform and UI was (and continues to be) irreplaceable. To the point that I'm told its the same platform used for Yahoo's India operations. Hopefully soon the new Panama will migrate its way across the world, including Latin America, and have a more competitive product to match its only rival today: Google.
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Old 11-29-2006   #20
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Since Yahoo has separate National and International marketing teams - which can become more informed about their areas this approach of keeping Latin America in its own realm is a smart one IMO.
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