How Localisation Can Miss The Point

I’m a frequent visitor to BusinessInsider. They recently started an Australian edition, and now you get automatically redirected to that version. You can get into the US edition by clicking above the right of the navigation bar.

I don’t want to visit the Australian Edition of BusinessInsider! BusinessInsider is where I consume news and US markets, US technology and random stuff like slideshows of aircraft carriers and 11 Things I Didn’t Know About Stevie Cohen. It is definitely the junkiest business news aggregator but that’s what makes it great – you always find something relevant because its coverage is so broad.

Localisation can miss the point when your foreign visitors are there for the fact that you are a foreign source of information.

When I visit the Financial Times “logged out”, I’m redirected to the Asian edition of the FT. I love my pink paper, and when I visit the FT I want to read things primarily about the United Kingdom. If I wanted to read about Asia I’d probably go to Bloomberg or the South China Morning Post through Victoria’s PressDisplay subscription.

When I visit the Wall Street Journal, I’m redirected to the Asian edition. While most of the WSJ is gated, there are some good opinion columns and blogs that satisfy the “long tail” interests I have like how Chapter 11 bankruptcies function and following white collar crime cases. Again, if I had a subscription there I’d be able to choose my preferences.

All in all, localisation misses the point for me. I visit foreign news sources because they are foreign and I have a specific desire to consume content from the country they are published in. Redirecting the WSJ to the Asian edition is as useful to me as the National Business Review having a “Europe Edition” if I visited their online edition from the South of France.

I’m sure someone has written a script that stops sites redirecting you based on where you are. Until then, the main solution is to either ignore the website that redirects you or pay for an account. I am almost at the point where the benefit of a Financial Times subscription would exceed its cost!

When you think about it – that’s probably their intention. “If we thwart the ability of foreign potential subscribers to easily access the content a decent percentage will stump up for a subscription”.

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