Sitti moves to a bigger office and a bigger ambition to take on Google Indonesia

Sitti moves to a bigger office and a bigger ambition to take on Google Indonesia

Sitti moves to a bigger office and a bigger ambition to take on Google Indonesia
Sitti moves to a bigger office and a bigger ambition to take on Google Indonesia

Today, the contextual ad platform Sitti invited several people to their housewarming event in Jakarta to show around their new office and to see what they’ve been doing with the startup. The startup now have 25 people working on the platform, although i heard that the engineering all done from Singapore. I have to say, they have an awesome office with a good touch of ethnic art and decoration.

Sitti was getting a lot of exposure after they declare to take on Google on a “contextual ad war” and disclose some statistics on how they beat Google AdSense’s ad impression, clicks and also CTRs. It’s quite stunning to see the comparison chart provided by Sitti, stating a unanimous victory against Google’s platform summarizing that Sitti have a better contextual ad engine to recognize Indonesian language compared to Google’s. You can actually download the Sitti VS Google report here.

So, Is it true? They’re actually winning against Google?

The report suggest that they are, and if it is true, then it won’t take too long for Google to do something about it. Based on the case study explained by Sitti’s Andy Sjarif – when a website with Indonesian content put both Google AdSense and Sitti’s ad, Sitti does a better job at delivering relevant ads. This proves that Sitti’s engine is better, but Google probably won’t give up that easy on the engine.

When it comes to competition, it all went back to the business side. Both Google and Sitti are targetting Brand Managers, Online agencies and SMEs. And is this space, Google totally wins the premature battle with the numbers of publishers on their Indonesian AdSense network. It’s all about scaling the business, you can win in quality but if you can’t expand in quantity, you’re screwed. This will be a big big homework for Sitti, to gain more publishers to put their ads. It’s the only way they can win in this local battle, and so far Andy Sjarif is taking Indonesian people (not him personally, or Sitti as a company) to join the “war” against Google. This could be his 15 minutes fame for taking on Google, but maybe this can be Sitti’s starting point to win locally.

Sitti is not alone, there are few local companies in other countries tried to take on Google and failed horribly, but some are winning. Baidu in China is one example, with 80% search engine market share and 63% revenue market share is kicking Google really hard in China. Several factor that makes Baidu leading the Chinese market is the support from the Government, where the government is really protecting local companies (or simply won’t let American companies win in China). In terms of technology, Baidu and Google both deliver the same relevant ads and their engine works as well as the others. But again, Baidu is also a search engine with millions visitors per day with a good traffic, while Sitti still have a lot of publishers to add to their network.

Nevertheless, I believe Sitti still have the chance of winning but to be honest; I’m not feeling very optimistic about it. Sitti could gain a big traction, but will still moves under Google’s shadow for a few years ahead. But It’s still a good business for them, they can still monetize their contextual social media analytics engine anyway.

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