The Next Web International Expansion: Inspired or Insanity? Let’s Find Out

One of the best up and coming tech blogs in the last 12 months has been The Next Web. We’re big fans here at The Inquisitr, and the site not only brings a much welcomed European take on tech news, but has also taken the good fight to many of the established players in the United States.

The Next Web has been on the expansion path in 2009, increasing its coverage by expanding into a range of countries including places like Romania, Turkey and Argentina. Since we last covered The Next Web’s expansion into 10 new countries, the site has followed up with even more, including an Australian version of The Next Web (17 country sites in total.)

Unlike many sites that start as sites and expand into conferences and events, The Next Web started as a conference and expanded into blogging. That’s a strength, but likewise there’s a very good reason many sites don’t rapidly grow into so many countries: it’s difficult; difficult to monetize and difficult to manage. On one hand it may be an inspired decision that could pay huge dividends for the site, but at the same time based on what others have done before hand, it could also be pure insanity.

There’s only one way to find out, so I sent through some questions to Next Web Editor Zee:

How is The Next Web managing so many blogs in so many languages from both an editorial and quality/ quantity of content angle?

With most of the blogs, we actually started by speaking to our existing readers in specific countries we wanted to expand into. With their help, we found writers who are into tech, fluent in their own language and we then ask the readers to monitor the blogs for us. They are essentially our eyes and ears for that specific blog.

How are you able to monetize so many different countries effectively? (and to that, is the primary push back to the core Next Web conference product as the earner?)

Most of the international blogs are not there to make money from. We genuinely want to bring technology news to areas that until now, haven’t been able to receive it in their local language. We also feel the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. In other words: not every blog has to make money and not even the whole blog as a whole needs to generate a lot of traffic to be valuable for a lot of people, including us.

That said, there are other blogs (eg.UK, Europe, Asia, Germany, France, Middle East) that we do want to monetize and yes, the conferences (once we’ve developed a solid trusting relationship with our editors) will be one of the channels we explore.

How goes the international expansion so far? I note particularly a significant improvement in your Alexa rank that would indicate increased traffic.

So far so good as they say, but a long long way to go and many kinks to iron out. Initial results are positive though and with our continent blogs in English and many of the local blogs reporting news from their country to the continent editors – we expect some pretty strong growth over the course of the year.

But yes, as you say Alexa, but also Technorati, Compete have also shown strong growth.