The NYTimes is running a piece on the dilemma faced by Web entrepreneurs, particularly in social media companies: the developing world is spiking traffic but not contributing much to revenues. The basic disconnect when Web 2.0 business models meet Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East is that countries there are not good prospects for the advertisers who pay the bills. "Call it the International Paradox. Web companies that rely on advertising are enjoying some of their most vibrant growth in developing countries. But those are also the same places where it can be the most expensive to operate, since Web companies often need more servers to make content available to parts of the world with limited bandwidth. And in those countries, online display advertising is least likely to translate into results. ... Last year, Veoh, a video-sharing site operated from San Diego, decided to block its service from users in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, citing the dim prospects of making money and the high cost of delivering video there. 'I believe in free, open communications,' Dmitry Shapiro, the company's chief executive, said. 'But these people are so hungry for this content. They sit and they watch and watch and watch. The problem is they are eating up bandwidth, and it's very difficult to derive revenue from it.' ... Perhaps no company is more in the grip of the international paradox than YouTube, which [an analyst] recently estimated could lose $470 million in 2009, in part because of the high cost of delivering billions of videos each month."
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