GPlus Media (GaijinPot)

This is actually the second in a series. Please also check out my first post, “All roads lead back to GPlus Media (Gaijin Pot)“, about the Tokyo-based online media company.

GPlus Media has been promoting the umbrella company name lately, as one of their websites, GaijinPot, has been doing very well; and the other, Japan Today, is holding its own.

Let’s look at the Alexa charts. First, Japan Today (click to enlarge):

So this is pretty impressive, ne? Japan Today scores in the top #1,000 of sites that Alexa attempts to score in that country. It also has a fairly good worldwide readership, which isn’t quite so good for advertising dollars if you are selling something locally in Japan. The question I have is how well does that site monetize? I wonder about that, because even though I look at Japan Today regularly—sometimes even post a comment–I don’t buy anything off it. And more, the news is from Kyodo. They must have some sort of cost-sharing arrangement, because it costs for Kyodo to collect the news. I’d hate to think that Kyodo gets the news, and then gives it over for free to GPlus Media.

GajinPot is another story. This is one that is attracting about the same number of Alexa hits in Japan, but has been trending up worldwide for some reason . . .

GaijinPot is up and up and up, with most of its traffic coming from Japan. But what is this traffic doing? Are they actually looking at ads, or is it something else?

About half of the visitors to Gaijin Pot go to the forums. This means that they post online conversation here and there—or all during the day—with other participants. Only a quarter are looking at classifieds. One in ten are looking at the jobs posted.

So the site may receive a great number of hits, or even a lot of “uniques”, however that may be defined. But it is really part online forum, part advertising venue.

It may be that GPlus does very well for itself. What I found last year, when the 25% owner sold for $75,000 and booked over a million dollar loss on the investment, though, is that maybe it doesn’t do so well. Maybe it just is a website, like I was told the job search firm Wall Street Japan was.

With a blog, people ask, “what exactly is this?” But something packaged like a business, people take at face value. Why is that?

A small number of people in the Japan-side expat community get themselves all worked up in a knot over opinions that they read on the web. But they don’t ask the interesting questions, the ones that are more than “you think this but I think that”. Terrie Lloyd says a company sold for $22 million, and he’s surprised that no one in the Japanese media reported on it. Maybe the company didn’t sell for $22 million? Maybe that wasn’t true. Why would IA Global sell out of 25% of GaijinPot for just $75,000? Where was Advantage Partners?

Nobody bothers to check that sort of thing. I mean nobody. They go “boo hoo” over political opinions; nobody questions that items that are put out there as fact.

Maybe what we think we understand about Japan-side expat businesses aren’t quite all that the seem to be.