Strictly No ChaCha in UKApril 28, 2012
The American mobile-focused Q&A site ChaCha has pulled the plug on its UK operations blaming poor take up of their service.
The Chicago based company, which had notched up heavy traffic in the US by targeting 15-25 year olds with a strong interest in entertainment, announced that it would be suspending its British service on April 20th.
Tech Crunch published a letter in which VP Doug Gilmore explained: “Our mission was simply to provide quality answers at 1/15 the cost of the current competition. After months of direct advertising, branding events, marketing advice from UK leaders, and initiatives designed to help spread the word socially, we’ve found that adoption rates for new price-competitive services are quite low in the UK.”
ChaCha operated in Britain for less than eight months having launched at the end of August last year. At that time TKM pointed out the potential pitfalls saying “Local knowledge, not just of facts but contexts, together with understanding cultural nuances will be essential if a service like ChaCha is to break out of its core US market into other English speaking territories.”
Part of the problem seems to have been that it didn’t. Nor did all the money it spent on marketing seem to have any impact on other collective consciousness of teen Britain. Another issue may have been scale. Figures pout out by the company last month point to 2 billion questions having been asked by 40 million unique users. At 60 million the UK market is a fifth of the size of the US by population. Moreover while ChaCha launched into a pre Facebook America in 2005 its 2011 UK launch was into a market where a lot of the social geography has solidified.
Other large, and in some cases rather less mature markets, such as Brazil (pop 195 million), Nigeria (158 million), Indonesia (240 million), India (1.2 billion) and China (1.3 billion) might offer better opportunities. It remains to be seen whether, having had it’s fingers burned in Britain, ChaCha will go looking for dancing partners elsewhere or will retreat into being an American wallflower at the global Q&A prom.