Vancouver’s Suite101.com announced yesterday that it has expanded into Spanish and French-language countries this week with the opening of offices in Madrid and Paris and the launch of online magazines Suite101.net and Suite101.fr. According to their press release, these new sites are the first of their kind for Spanish and French freelance writers – Suite101 writers earn dividend-style revenue for their published articles, work with professional editors, and retain all copyright to their work.
“This kind of online revenue-share journalism is a totally new model for writers of these languages,” explains Peter Berger, president and CEO of Suite101.com Media. “Our goal is to become a known outlet for Spanish and French freelance writers as an option alongside writing work at newspapers and magazines. We also want to reach experts who might not consider themselves writers.”
Twelve year-old Suite101.com now has an international full-time staff of 28 working in offices in Vancouver, Berlin, Madrid, and Paris plus over 40 editors working around the world. The company is co-owned by Burda Digital Ventures of Munich and Vancouver-based Internet entrepreneur Boris Wertz of W Media Ventures.
Earlier this week, Wertz reflected on the importance of having a local presence when expanding globally and referenced lessons learned going global while he was the COO of AbeBooks.com.
You do not necessarily need an office in every country that you open a website for BUT you need at least a presence in the same time zone and native speakers working for you. Trying to grow European websites from a North-American location with North-American staff will not work but a lot of companies have been successful in running several European countries out of one centralized location with native speakers from these countries. Berlin, London and Barcelona are probably the best choices for such hubs.
On a related side note, Penny Harwood of Think London has been making the rounds at Vancouver events this week as part of their Route to 2012 campaign. Harwood is meeting with Canadian companies to discuss the business opportunities London has to offer, including around the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.