What can we learn from the fall of the Berlin Wall?

Sat 21 November 2009 13:29, Bas van den Beld

What can we learn from the fall of the Berlin Wall?

Search Marketing is a relatively new business. When in 1989 the Berlin Wall fell down, there was no search marketing as we know it. Heck, there wasn't even internet like we know it.

Still, looking back at that period, with SES Berlin coming up, there are several interesting lessons to be learned from that period. The size of the European Union, the European coin, political choices which are now being made and the size of the market are all connected to what happened in 1989.

This is the subject of my latest column on Searchengineland. In the column I take out a number of items which have had effect on the way we work now:

  • Money: East Germany was almost bankrupt just before the Wall came down. The fall meant a shift in finance in Europe. Germany became one and Eastern Europe became capitalistic.
  • Europe grew: In one day, Europe suddenly became much bigger, the potential market is now more than twice  size. Countries like Poland, Czech and Romania now are big growing markets, especially on the affiliate marketing front.
  • European Union: before 1989 the European Union, then European Economic Community (EEC) was quite small. After the wall came down the Union grew in size to what it is now: almost all of Europe. The European Union now is responsible for many rules which affect the way we can do business in Europe these days.
  • The Euro: because French president Mitterand was afraid of the strong German Mark he pushed through the Euro which became reality in the early 90s.
  • Politics: The fall of the Wall meant many political changes which still have their effect on things. Germany for example united.
  • Yandex and Seznam: Eastern European searchengines like Yandex and Seznam would probably have played a different part if the situation in Eastern Europe hadn't changed in the late 80s.

And there are many more comparisons to made in which you could say (though not scientifically proven) that the fall of the Berlin Wall had its effects on search in Europe now a days.

Read the entire column on Searchengineland and listen to SEM Synergy where I discussed the matter with Virginia Nussey.


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  • Good post, Bas, with a decent history hook!

    Zo 22 nov 2009, 14:51

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