Perhaps knowing that if they create a direct Digg knock-off in the United States, some of the biggest names in tech, Microsoft and now Yahoo! are going international to launch their Digg-like sites. This week it is Yahoo’s Minna No Topics launching in Japan.
Aside from the Anime characters in place of the yellow number of Diggs button to the left of the story titles, Minna No Topics bears one of the closest resemblances to the actual Digg of any of the legit (and I say legit because there are quite a few sketchy spamming sites out there that look exactly like Digg) knock-offs yet.
Last month Microsoft launched their own Digg-competitor, MSN Reporter, but again, only in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Norway. My feeling is that these launches abroad don’t just signal the companies’ fear of the so-called Digg Mob here in the U.S., but a race to spread a winning idea around the globe.
While Digg in no way owns the idea of voting on stories (just on “Digging” them), they have built their reputation on it and have become synonymous with the practice. While it might be one thing for a start-up in another country to try and create a Digg-like environment for that country to use, it’s another when huge companies like Microsoft and Yahoo! use their almost unlimited resources to break into the market with a like-minded service.
Perhaps in the future, start-ups in this country should start considering international versions of their sites as an integral part of their launch. After all, while there are potentially 300 million users in the United States, there are some 5 and a half billion plus potential users out there in the rest of the world. Just securing a handful of those could mean huge windfalls for any company big or small.
Microsoft and Yahoo! clearly know this, and their doing their best to start securing those users. Get them early. Get them often.
Loren Baker has more on this at Search Engine Journal as does our own Muhammad Saleem at 901am.