Forced Localization

10 Jan
2008

So I’m back – spent 2 weeks in Colombia (the country). I went there for a wedding – my friend’s mother owns a beach-house there, and 15 of us crammed into that place. Not that I’m complaining – all the hotels there were $300+ per night, and the house was literally 10 seconds away from the beach.

The internet there was a bit of a chore – mostly because of damn forced localization. I can’t underline how difficult it was to go through a site like Hotmail or travel sites. At least Google had the sense to (after forwarding me to Google.com.co) to say (in plain english) ‘Go to Google.com’. The rest? Nothing. Even Sofitel.com forced me to the spanish version, refusing to let me access the english site.

Being smart and using IP targeting to redirect is a good idea. But you need to allow your visitors to access

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the other versions/areas if they so desire.

And another reason Google ‘wins’

3 Responses to Forced Localization

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Dmytro Mulyava

January 11th, 2008 at 2:39 pm

I can’t believe anybody other than Google did not think through this.

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Domainspace

January 12th, 2008 at 11:18 am

So true! I’ve lived and travelled in various countries and it never ceases to amaze me how many of the internet’s big sites continue to do this, especially the travel ones. What they think is a help turns into a hindrance.

Even the ones that do allow you to manually change the language sometimes show the link as anglais, inglês, 英語, etc… I’m sure it’s even worse for non-English speakers though.

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Kyle Else

January 15th, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Social Bookmarking sites like Stumbleupon link directly to the Google.com.co – It’s possible that using IP targeting to redirect traffic could hurt page views.

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