17 Aug /12

Home away from home

Bulgarian website that connects bulgarians abroadWhy Bulgaria’s top-ranked website is actually a portal for Bulgarians worldwide.

An interesting fact: Bulgaria’s top-ranked website is not a news portal, a social network or a video sharing community. It is a place that Bulgarian users visit to check their emails and find out what is happening at home.

In fact, statistics show that the top-ranked sites in Bulgaria are not Bulgarian. Heading the web site rankings in the country is the Bulgarian version of the dominating global search engine – google.bg. It is closely followed by Facebook, which is actually also the case worldwide – Facebook is ranked second globally and in the US, while Google is the world leader by rank. Back to Bulgaria, Google is also ranked third – with its google.com version. Number four in the list is also not Bulgarian – YouTube makes it into top five with its free video sharing service.

With its start in December 1999, abv.bg is one of Bulgaria’s first free email services. It may have started as an email service, but gradually added additional sections: news, horoscope, weather forecasts, video sharing, etc. – all provided by websites managed by the same group.

In terms of regional traffic, abv.bg is ranked No 5 in Bulgaria, with relatively high rankings outside Bulgaria – it is the 884th most popular site in Norway. It ranks somewhere between No 1,000 and 2,000 in almost every other EU country. The reasons for this are quite obvious – Bulgarians who live, work or study abroad use it to check their emails from their friends and relatives in Bulgaria and to keep up with what is happening in their home country. As a matter of fact, abv.bg is visited more frequently by users who are in the age range 25-34 and have no children – and that may well reflect the typical Bulgarian immigrant.

abv.bg is successful on the basis of being a Bulgarian-only website – by and for Bulgarians. It is the link to home.

It is a wonderful example of being global by staying at home. No translation company is necessary. No multi-lingual SEO optimization, no localisation. Its aim is to be more local, more Bulgarian – to be the link home.