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Romanian-made Software for Western Markets
BUSINESS - January 8th 2004The most visible Romanian web-sites are meant for an English speaking audience. They both offer IT information and software programs world-wide. They are softpedia.com and soft32.com, with 950,000 and 600,000 visitors so far, respectively.
By ADRIAN MIHAI
Bogdan Gheorghe and Catalin Garmacea built the most popular Romanian web-site, softpedia.com
Their first advertisement strategy for promoting their web-site was to plaster posters on city electric poles.
They understood pretty quickly that targeting the Romanian public was not to bring them profit. So they dropped the domain .ro and went for the ending .com, which to international customers looks more reliable. Then they gave up on the Romanian version all together, with only discussion forums still kept for Romanian speakers.
They are coy about disclosing their companyâs financial data. They reckoned though that the company falls under the small and medium size category, which means that their turnover stays under the 100,000 euros mark.
However, this is not to stay like this for long: 2005 should bring the two menâs company over that threshold.
One way is to make competitive software for sale over the Internet.
The two company owners use their week-ends to load up information on their web-site, when their employees are not at work, so as to keep the site up-to-date.
Gheorghe and Garmacea think their success is due to the fact that they built their site with the usersâ needs in mind, and packaging information in a way suited for their needs.
The development of the runner-up in the popularity contest of Romanian web-sites was similar with that of the one at the top, with one difference though. Mihai Lucian Todea, the owner of soft32.com web-site wanted from the very beginning to promote Romanian-made software. One year later he understood that income from advertising was not enough. So he revamped his web-site for an English speaking readership. Some 60% of the income currently comes from advertising, with the rest coming from affiliations with foreign sites dealing in electronic trade. The company staffed by only two men exceeded 100,000 euros in turnover.
When Todea started his company he was still a student, and the fact that he has returned to his native Sibiu city, in central Romania, after university graduation did not impact on his business: his customers are foreign anyway. Todeaâs plans for immediate development are to still cater to foreign customers. For 2005 Todea plans to buy a headquarters for his company and also hire three or four more people.
Translation: ANCA PADURARU