For this Latin Interactive World issue, Portada interviewed Juan Diego Polo (pictured), Founder and Editor of WWWhats new, one of the leading technology, applications and Internet news portals for both the Spanish-speaking and Portuguese market.
Portal: Wwwhats new
Editor/Director : Juan Diego Polo
Advertising Management : Pool Digital
Languages : Spanish and Portuguese
Offices : Recife, Brazil
Monthly Visits: Approx. 1.2 million (40,000 unique visitors per day)
Juan Diego talked to us about the company’s strategies to make itself known, how it monetizes it site, and what it offers its advertisers. The following is an edited version of the interview.
Portada: How did Wwwhats new come about?
JDP: "WWWhats new was born in 2005 with the idea of ??helping teachers and parents better understand the potential of technology to educate. It wasn’t a very ambitious blog; it didn’t even have its own domain, but the subscriber list grew enough to make us decide to give it professional attention in 2006."
Q: What marketing strategies do you use to publicize yourself? If you use advertising, how much do you invest in it and in what ways?
JDP: "So far, we haven’t needed to invest in advertising, although we have invested much time in social networks, especially Twitter and Google Plus. They are currently the media that bring us the most visitors and, most importantly, the ones that capture our most loyal followers— the kind that set wwwhatsnew.com as their homepage."
Q: Tell us about your experience with social networks. Do they handle paid advertising campaigns or has the growth been organic?
JDP: "Growth has been organic. On twitter it was very slow; it took us 3 years to reach our current 40,000 followers, while everything moved much faster on Google Plus, where we got 20,000 followers in a matter of weeks. Word-of-mouth on social networks is the best way of getting a blog known. It makes little sense to pay for a follower, since a blog isn’t an online store. It’s difficult to measure ROI when it comes to a business that is based on publishing news."
Q: Are you focused only on a group of countries or are you targeting the entire Latino audience?
JDP: "There are no boundaries— any country can benefit from the advice we publish daily. It is true that some of the sites we write about only allow users from specific countries, but they are the exception."
Q: We see that your content is available in both Spanish and Portuguese. What has been your experience with the Portuguese-speaking market? What are the differences, beyond language, from the Spanish-speaking market?
JDP: "In Brazil, the majority of Internet users are still at an earlier stage than in other countries like Spain or Mexico. It is a country in which the Internet is being slowly discovered, with much introduction to social networks and electronic commerce, but still very closed to new opportunities. Over the past two years we have seen that the Brazilian public has begun to show interest in things other than Orkut and Facebook, but it is a slow process requiring much patience."
Q: How interested are you in the U.S. Hispanic user? Are they an important part of your site visits? What strategies are used to reach this demographic?
JDP: "We do not get many visits at wwwhatsnew.com from users in the U.S. (less than 3,000 per day, according to recent reports). Keep in mind that the number of publications there is huge and of very good quality, which makes it hard to provide that audience with an original and different alternative."
Q: How does Wwwhats new stay afloat? Where does your revenue come from?
JDP: "50% of our revenues come from Google Adsense, with the rest coming from sponsorships and various advertising contracts (banners, publiposts, HOTWords, etc.)."
Q: What does Wwwhats new offer its advertisers? How many monthly visits do you get? How many subscribers do you have?
JDP: "We currently have an average of 40,000 unique visitors daily, with over 100,000 subscribers in various channels (rss, email and social networks), although these numbers do not mean much— what matters is the influence and credibility of the medium."
Q: What’s in the future for Wwwhats new?
JDP: "In the same way that we expand our content universe – we now cover mobile applications, whereas we previously only covered web applications – in the future we will continue to expand our topics, always analyzing the interest of our readers, who set the pace of the publication."
Q: What is your view on the state and future of new Latin digital media?
JDP: "Today tabloids and not very objective media continue to prosper, although it’s a trend that is declining due to readers’ increasing demands. The media will have to listen to what people want, or end up writing for very few people. If you do not listen to the public, if you don’t pick up on their needs in the social networks, the content will continue to be twentieth century."
Juan Diego Polo is Director of Pool Digital and Editor of Wwwhats New. Polo held previous positions as Senior Systems Analyst at CELPE, Corporate Clients Engineer at Telemar, and Web Development Coordinator at InfoJobs. He studied at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.