Back from Netbridge’s e-Academy – Bulgarian Internet market

The e-Academy Balkans Group aims to gather together digital, e-marketing, e-commerce, e-PR, e-consultancy professionals from the Balkans region and Claudiu Gamulescu (Marketing & Communication Manager at Netbridge) is one of the founders of this project (this is also the first regional initiative supported by Netbridge, Boom, ActiveSoft, iMedia and Vodanet).

Therefore I was in Varna this weekend to find out more about the Bulgarian online market and its people. We had two very insightful presentations delivered by the local Nielsen (Mrs. Margarita Boeva) and Gemius (Mr. Veselin Angelov) managers and two days of Claudiu’s secret tips (SEM, SEO, SERP, etc.).

The Internet market in Bulgaria means:
– est. 9.000.000 Eur in online advertising in 2008 (Investor.bg/dnevnik)
– 60% annual growth (Investor.bg/dnevnik)
– 2.20 million Internet users as of Sept/05, 28.7% of the population, according to ITU or 1.87 million (according to CIA, 2006) – Latest Population Estimate: 7,673,215 population in 2007, according to world-gazetteer.com)
– 298,781 internet hosts (according to CIA, 2007)
– 0% official incomes from online shopping (only grey money), poor legislation;
– page views are more important than unique visitors (therefore Gemius reports billions of useless page views 🙂 )
– design is more important than SEO;
– they allow user comments about the companies on local jobbing websites;
– Hi5 is anonymous over there 🙂
– they don’t like their pages in English so that the biggest e-mail provider is a local company – www.abv.bg ;
– Vbox7.com is better than YouTube.