TechCrunch has a good post about why US-based social networks are failing in Japan. I find the implications of international expansion especially interesting given how Match and other major dating sites are looking to establish a presence in Asian markets.
Social networks have become integrative elements of modern American youth culture over the last years, shaping social patterns and changing the ways that people communicate. When taken abroad, these services have to deal with a large number of cross-cultural peculiarities by their very nature.
Societal and cultural gaps are particularly evident in the case of Japan. Market entry in this country with a â€œWhat works in the US must also work over thereâ€-attitude is going awry for both Facebook and MySpace. Itâ€™s not a stereotype that communication tends to be nonverbal in Japan. The society generally puts more emphasis on the community rather than on the individual. Also, security plays a major role in many aspects of Japanese life.
The third comment mentions why Match can’t catch Meetic in Europe. Lots of interesting comments about the social, cultural and technical hurdles international brands face when attempting to enter global markets.