The Internet Movie Database is one of the most venerable sites on the Web. It was founded by a British programmer in 1990 as a collection of Usenet posts (kids, ask your parents). By 1993 it was on the nascent World Wide Web – and was hosted out of Cardiff University in Wales.
IMDb was one of the earliest success stories for the UK Internet industry when, in 1998, Amazon.com bought them.
Given its proud heritiage, why don’t Amazon care about the British users of its site? If you visit the site on your phone, this is the advert you see.
Oh! Cool! The new Kindle tablet. Why, I just gotta get me one of those! Let’s click the link…
Yup, the advert is for the American tablet. The price is listed in US Dollars and, once I’m on the Amazon.com website, there’s no obvious way to get to the .co.uk version.
This is madness! The IMDb is consistently ranked in the top 50 most visited sites worldwide. Over 60% of its visitors are from outside the USA. Why are Amazon ignoring all those customers?
Mobile advertising really isn’t that hard. You find a way to match a user to a product. One of the simplest ways to do that is to determine the country the user is in. You show Indian adverts to people living in India, and Japanese adverts to people living in Japan. That’s not rocket science.
If, for some strange reason, you can only afford to design a single advert – your back end services should redirect the user to the website which is most appropriate. Most of the French people clicking on your link are going to want a site which is written in their language and priced in their currency.
It’s unlike Amazon to leave money on the table like this. They have a vast international audience and yet they’re simply ignoring their needs.