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Competitive Benchmark for Global Websites Based on Site AQ (“Availability Quotient”) Offered in Website Globalization Research Report from Common Sense Advisory

How does a company increase its share of the online wallet? On what languages, countries, and regions should global organizations focus budget and human resources for the greatest return on investment? In the latest research report in its website globalization series, Common Sense Advisory (http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com) goes beyond anecdotal evidence from a few dozen websites and bleeding-edge high-tech firms. It establishes a systematic method for analyzing the business reasons for building a global web presence, and then measures the success or failure of such websites in meeting those business objectives. These findings are a result of the analysis of the 505 top websites in the 15 largest world economies and are published in the firm’s new report entitled, “Website Globalization: The Availability Quotient."

Public websites offer information, services, and online facilities to any visitor with a web browser and access to the public network. In most cases, the more people who avail themselves of the information, services, and online facilities offered on a site, the higher that return will be for website owners. Yet among the leading companies and most popular websites, most fail to maximize opportunities available to them through globalization.

Lead analyst Benjamin Sargent adds, “Successful website globalization renders a set of user experiences in a way that makes core information and services available to audiences in many countries, speaking many languages. Until now, there has been no metric to validate the success or failure of global websites. The Availability Quotient (AQ) gives site owners an objective yardstick with which to measure the effectiveness of their websites in reaching -- or not -- the billion plus denizens of the online world.” The report outlines how to maximize the total available audience for a website, how companies around the globe guide visitors through their customer experience, what countries and languages these companies support on their websites, and how to benchmark against these sites.

About the Research

Common Sense Advisory analyzed over 500 global websites in July and August 2007 to determine how many country markets and how many languages they served. To synthesize this data, the firm zeroed in on seven key interactions that comprise the online customer experience. In this report, the analysts combine content and logic requirements with market entry analysis as criteria to:

1. Determine whether a given interaction is available -- or not available -- to visitors speaking a particular language or arriving from a particular country.

2. Create a metric that objectively ranks what percentage of the total online population can access each level of experience on any given site, which Common Sense Advisory defines as the Availability Quotient, or “site AQ.”

3. For each site measured, the firm added the site’s “addressable online GDP” (that is, its e-GDP percentage), showing how much of the world’s e-GDP is represented by that site’s total available audience.

The firm’s first report in its series on website globalization, “On the Web, Some Countries Matter More Than Others,” identified the countries and languages that companies need to focus on to capture the business of the more than 1.2 billion internet users worldwide. By implementing site logic that supports interactions with visitors from multiple countries and by supplying content in multiple languages, website owners make the information and services of their online facilities available to a greater percentage of the world’s online population. The Availability Quotient report, which is available to Common Sense Advisory subscribers, also details the 30 most globalized websites at Customer Experience Level Two (Browse) across 15 countries. Additionally, the report includes:

  • Approximate figures for what percentage of “internet addressable” gross world product the top online languages represent.
  • Where to best expend online resources by focusing budget or staff on the countries or languages that can profitably cover the costs of translation plus adapting site logic, shipping, customer service, and other costly elements of website globalization.
  • The Availability Quotients and online GDP (e-GDP) for the top companies by country and globally at the Browse level.
    • With 110 living languages available, U.S.-based Google has the highest scores with an AQ of 990 out of 1,000 and an e-GDP reach of 100%; followed by Microsoft with an AQ of 921 and an e-GDP of 99.9%.
    • The lowest AQs and e-GDP scores among companies in the top 15 economies by GDP were single-language websites in Russia.

Comments Common Sense Advisory’s chief research officer and report co-author, Don DePalma, “Until now, companies have lacked comparable, quantifiable data that is necessary to make boardroom-level decision about website globalization. Business planning must establish the why-do-it, but it must also lay the foundation for answering questions like ‘why continue doing it?’, ‘where should we allocate budget?’, and ‘how much should we spend in each market?’ That is what this report delivers.”

The full report is available to subscribers of Common Sense Advisory’s research. Visit http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com. Analysts are available for interviews and briefings by contacting Melissa Gillespie at +1 760-643-9140 or melissa@commonsenseadvisory.com.

Submitted On: 1/11/2011

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