South Korea is one of the most internet advanced and connected countries in the world. Google only has 1.6 percent of the search traffic. Why the lack of success in an endeavor where they’ve seen so much acceptance in many other places in the world?
Do a search for “Rain” in Google, and chances are good that you will get weather information. That’s true in the United States, and it’s also true in Korea. That’s part of the problem. There’s a famous singer in Korea whose name translates into “Rain.” Google’s results fail to turn up any information about this celebrity. Yet the information isn’t difficult to find on Korean sites.
The Korea Times uses that example in “Why Is Google Struggling in Korea?” (no longer available).
Google has been offering search in South Korea since 2001. But they haven’t been incorporating User Created Content (UCC) the way that local Korean search engines have.
Interestingly, that type of User Created Content seems to be a strategy a company like Yahoo! is embracing. See: Web Content by and for the Masses. The comment at the end of a recent Bloomsberg News article, Yahoo! gives up quest for search dominance is somewhat interesting from this perspective:
Decker last week cautioned analysts on a conference call against taking the ComScore figures too literally, saying the data exclude Asian countries where Yahoo! is “exceptionally strong.”
With the acquisition of services like Flickr, del.icio.us, and Webjay in the past year, we see Yahoo! working towards letting users create and categorize their own content. Maybe you don’t have to try to be Google to beat Google.