The Commercial Value of Weibo after the Tight Control

Fri 13 April 2012 14:30, Editors

The Commercial Value of Weibo after the Tight Control

Weibo is booming after the first platform has been introduced. Currently, there are more than 0.25 billion Weibo users, almost half of the overall internet users. With the growing of the users, the government control on this platform is also increasing.

Especially from this year, the political situation Before March 15, all Weibo users have to upload the ID card in the back end, or the user can only browse. In the end of March, all Weibo platforms are required to clean up the sensitive posting and comments, so from March 31 to April 3, all users cannot post comments. Now rumor said that Baidu and Weibo are going to work together to filter information.

From all the sudden change, many start to doubt the commercial value of Weibo. Fot the tight control on the posting, many users may not be active and switch to other channels. In my opinion, those interference by government can influence the direction of Weibo development, but will not kill the commercial use of Weibo. There are reasons below:

  1. The behavior of Chinese internet users. The CNNIC reports, the most authority data-based analysis report in China, get the same conclusion for each time. The top use for people online is instant message, information gathering, video & movie, and online shopping. If you visit the top portal sites and video sites, the predominance content is for entertainment. Even before this round of tight control, the top hot keywords/topics on Baidu or Weibo are not those sensitive political situations, but on social, entertainment and commercial.
  2. The purpose of using Weibo. Unlike other online platform, the purpose of using Weibo is so broad and mixed, from information to entertainment, and from shopping to friends chatting. Users active on Weibo everyday not because of a signal reason. The more users/channels Weibo has, the less likely for users to switch to other channels. It is also a common sense, if you are used to a site to get all information you need from it, why you want to leave just for the missing of some non-highly relevant news.
  3. The content for control is limited. This round of control is mainly on the sensitive political information part, not for all the social and political news. The government is aware that the effects of this interference are limited, and will focuse on limited topics, and leave the rest open.
  4. The control shifts the Weibo users’ attention to entertainment and online purchase.

Though more and more complains from the online users for the government control, it does not affect the commercial use for launching social media campaign. Comparing to previously, the attention shift for using Weibo fits the companies’ need for branding and promotion. Weibo itself has made some adjustments. For example, all Weibo platforms encourage the third parties involved more in developing Apps, give its company page more freedom to attract followers, and work with all kinds sites to attract the users.

*Image is from Meihua

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