Emily Tan Susie Sell
Jul 3, 2012

Yahoo disappoints with shutdown of Indonesian social-media site Koprol

INDONESIA - Yahoo's decision to shut down Indonesian location-based social network Koprol, which it acquired two years ago, will likely disappoint the service's 1.5 million users but is not surprising given Yahoo's struggles, according to local digital experts.

Yahoo disappoints with shutdown of Indonesian social-media site Koprol

"I think the decision is a nightmare for the Indonesian youngsters populating Koprol," commented Fachry Badry, business unit head at McCann Digital. "Koprol at one time was a strong contender to Facebook and Foursquare, gaining traction especially amongst the young audiences, which is the future market."

The Jakarta Post called the move a "crumbling of great expectations" and quoted  "digital observer" Nanda Ivens opinion that it was a shame Yahoo decided to shut down an "Indonesian institution". 

Despite hue and cry from upset fans, however, by and large users will just adapt and move on to platforms like Foursquare and Going Places, observed Lowe Indonesia's chief strategy officer, Paramita Mohamad. 

"I won’t be surprised if some die-hard fans are upset about this, but then again there are other LBS-social networking platforms like Foursquare and Google Places," she said. "I also understand that Foursquare has just been massively overhauled to make it much more helpful for the end-users to get the most out of a place and also to explore. So I guess people will adapt and move on."

The shutdown came as no surprise to industry members, however, as it follows Yahoo's decision to lay off 2,000 employees worldwide—a number which included the Koprol team. 

According to a media statement by Yahoo, Koprol will be discontinued effective 28 August and has started notifying users. The statement also said that the decision to discontinue Koprol was in line with the company's "focus on more quickly innovating with our core products and properties, over the coming quarters" and that Koprol did not "meaningfully drive revenue or engagement". 

Yahoo's decision perhaps speaks more about turmoil in the troubled internet company than Indonesia's social media and digital scene, experts said. "Yahoo Indonesia has been struggling in the last couple of years—well, they have been struggling everywhere and eventually Indonesia gets hit too—but the death of Koprol doesn't say anything intelligent about the Indonesia's social-digital ecosystem," Mohamad said. "For example, Kaskus [Indonesia's Craiglist] is alive and kicking."

Yahoo's struggle in Indonesia was largely due to its lack of freshness, commented Jerry Clode, Asia-Pacific cultural insight lead for Oracle Added Value. "In the context of a society hungry for fresh avenues of discussion and expression, Yahoo global rollout in Indonesia felt too scripted and generic to capture the optimism and energy Indonesians expected from internet media," he said. 

Overall, Koprol's doom could probably have been avoided if it had been better managed. "Under the Yahoo wing, Koprol wasn't able to find the sweet spot of getting monetised in line with the scale of the economy—something I believe the founders expected when they sold it to Yahoo," said Badry. 

Pointing to an article on Daily Social, Mohamad said that Korpol's developers understood their users and had plans to revamp the site, so the decision to end it must have sprung from Yahoo Global.

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