my digital nationalism

looking for Indonesia's significance on the web

Posts Tagged ‘indonesia

45 million users

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There are 45 million registered facebook users in Indonesia.

What does this even mean?

I guess you can use this figure to demonstrate that Indonesian youth are tech savvy, connected, and sophisticated.

I dont know what the precise number is but the 45 million figure must be close to the internet penetration number in Indonesia.

Meaning almost every Indonesian that uses the internet has a facebook account.

What I’d like to see are metrics showing how the internet has improved the quality of life in Indonesia.

After all thats what the internet should be, right? A tool to improve life.

Such metrics, for example, would be number of wikipedia articles created and viewed in bahasa. The number of online businesses created and transactions done. How much easier it is to find things and connect with people and create new value.

I wonder of there are such metrics and if there even is a way to measure such things.

Saying Indonesia has the most facebook users is nice, but so what?

It still means we are just users.


Written by randomwalls

April 4, 2012 at 11:46 am

Product Idea: Custom Retail Search Engine

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Following up from my last post I’ve been thinking about how to solve the problem in Indonesia of not being able to get quality information on products using search engines fast enough. In order to solve this I’ve tried creating a targeted search engine.

Using google custom search I’ve created a custom search engine targeted at local Indonesian retailers. The idea here is to find what you are looking for fast. So for instance, instead of googling for “beli blackberry gemini” and having to sift through irrelevant search results to get to the retail site, I bypass this process completely by specifically targeting the search to known local retail sites. So I can get to sites that I know are reliable and get information of what I am looking for quick and easy.

So here it goes.

Clicking on the image above will send you to the custom search engine page. I’m sorry I had to go this way, I just couldn’t figure out how to elegantly show the custom search bar on my blog post. Maybe someone out there can help me with this. I guess I’ll google around some more and if I find a solution I’ll go back and fix this.

Here are screenshots for the different search results using the same terms. The search term we use here is “hp nokia”

These are the results from normal google:


And these are the search results from my google custom search engine:


The results from my targeted search engine are much more focused, showing links directly to retail sites,,, and The results from normal google showed links to nokia indonesia’s website, a nokia phone price directory, and a blog post about nokia. If I was looking to purchase something I’d have to go deeper to find the links to the major retail sites.

So there we have it. What do you think?


P.S.: Credit to Netty Gritty for the google custom search image I used above. Here is the original post where it came from.

Written by randomwalls

March 28, 2012 at 5:10 am

The online retail experience: US vs. Indonesia

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In this post I want to compare the different online retail experiences in US and in Indonesia.

What I want to do in this experiment is to walkthrough the experience of looking for a specific item on google and in how many clicks can I find the item I am looking for up to checking out and actually purchasing it.

The objective of this post is by comparing the different experiences, maybe we can identify what are the key differences and what can be improved.

What we need is a scenario to start with. Please note that I am not comparing specific online retail sites, I am comparing whole experience starting from the search engine to the retail site.

The scenario here is that I am a guy looking for an 8 GB memory upgrade for my macbook pro.

The US experience

I could simply google “Macbook pro 8 GB memory upgrade”

The search results bring me to several online retail sites linking directly to the item I am looking for, there is also a link to a youtube video showing me how to do the upgrade. After that buying the item is as simply as clicking on the amazon link and checking out.

Of course in real life in the US it would be much easier to just go to for the best price on the internet and free shipping.

The Indonesian experience

What about the Indonesian experience? How would I google it?

Let’s try “beli memory 8 gb macbook pro”

What are the results?

The top link brings me to various postings in of people selling 8 GB macbook pro memory.  The second link under that brings me to the local mac forum, the third, fourth, and fifth link also brings me to forums.

Where are the Indonesian online retail sites? Apparently, I don’t know of any, or google can’t help me find local retail sites that have what I am looking for.

What have we learned from this simple demonstration?

Let’s count the steps it took to get to what we were looking for:

In the US –> 1)search engine, 2)click link to retail site, 3)login/register, 4)checkout, 5) purchase item

In as few as 5 steps I got from search engine to purchasing what I was looking for. It was easy and simple.

The search engine helped me find what I was looking for, I was linked to profesional retail sites that could tell me how much the item would cost and how soon I could have it shipped for how much.

In Indonesia –> 1) search engine, 2)forum post, item is sold out, 3)forum post again, item is still available, 4)contacting person who sells item, 5)haggle for price, 6)price not good, browse through google search results again or maybe try different search terms, 7)and on and on and on.

The search engine linked me to the most popular posts containing the terms I was looking for which are forum posts. Apparently forums have way more traffic than local retail sites explaining why the results are as such. The forum posts were from individual sellers rather than professionally run websites, so I had to go the traditional way of contacting the sellers and haggling for the price, and then we would have to work out how I would pay the seller and how the seller would send me the item, all done the old fashion way.


It is clear that in terms of the online retail experience, the Indonesian experience is still light years away from the US experience. However this is an opportunity . What I think we need to make online retail work in Indonesia are:

1. Have an encyclopedic inventory –> we wouldn’t even need to carry the inventory for real life, we could just link to other international retail sites and convert the item price and shipping price to local currency. What matters is that the information is there and we dont leave users up to dry with no matching search results.

2. Be up there in search engine results. Retail sites have to be able to generate traffic. If search engines can’t help then we have to generate te traffic ourselves by utilizing whatever means are out there, SEO, social media, or even buying keywords. This may be costly

3. Provide great service, have people ready to answer customers questions be it by phone, email, chat. Help people find what they are looking for.

4. Provide an easy alternative for payment. If Indonesians dont use credit cards, give them the alternative to pay by bank transfers. I think bank transfers is still the most popular payment method in online transactions in Indonesia. There is an opportunity here to streamline the bank transfer process.

So there is my take on the online retail experience in Indonesia. A lot of opportunity here and the marketplace is stil wide open.

Written by randomwalls

March 26, 2012 at 8:53 am

Why don’t we have better retail websites?

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In the states there are amazon and ebay, zappos and newegg. I can find detailed information on whatever I’m looking for, read user reviews, and find the best price fast.

People might argue that in Indonesia the problems as to why online retail hasnt really picked up is:

1. The internet here is really slow
2. Indonesia is a logistics nightmare
3. Indonesians don’t use credit cards
4. People just don’t trust websites to make big purchases

These are problems that, if one could solve, could become the king of online retail in Indonesia. I cant say how big the market is, but I do know it is big, or is gonna be big in the next 5 years.

The current online retail websites we have still suck. Ugly websites to begin with, Not much choice, no way to compare prices, payment is really a hassle.

These are problems waiting to be solved.

Written by randomwalls

March 21, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Indonesia top 250 sites

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Indonesia is a hotbed of internet growth. You can do a google search to find hundreds of articles citing the rapid growth of internet and mobile adoption in Indonesia, but none answer the question, what exactly are these people doing on the Internet?

I did a simple analysis using data gathered from Alexa and this is what I found:

Top 10 websites:

1 Facebook
3 Google
5 Yahoo!
6 YouTube
7 Kaskus
10 Twitter


Okay, so Indonesians like social networking (Facebook is the top site and social network, and also twitter), use google as their main search engine, a lot of them like to blog (blogger and wordpress are top sites) and watch youtube videos (probably at work? from my experience the 3G networks here suck making youtube painfully slow), for news they prefer detikcom (tabloid style sensasionalist headline selling news site, not exactly a standard for quality journalism), and they like to hang out at kaskus (the most popular local forum where you can find anything, and I mean anything.)

I tried to categorize each site in the top 250 and this is the graph I generated:



It’s interesting that news sites appear most frequent in the top 250, but what kind of news sites are indonesians browsing?


News Rank 9 13 14
Detiknews 16
Detik Sport 19! 24 31 Kalau Bukan Sekarang, Kapan Lagi? 32 36 40
Detikcom: Situs Warta Era Digital 50 51 63
LiveScore 76 79
Detikhealth : Situs Warta Era Digital 80
Republika Online 83
CNET 85 98
ANTARA News – The Indonesian News Agency 107
Media Indonesia – News & Views – 114
Kontan online 144
GSM Arena 145
Berita Liputan6 – Aktual Tajam Terpercaya 146
Metro TV News and Information 148
Eramuslim 172 175
BBC Online 192
Go 202
Suara Merdeka 203 226 248
The Daily Mail 249


What can we gather from here? You can note that out of the top 10 news sites, Kompas is the only site that is the digital version of an actual newspaper, the other sites are purely online platforms. The other (detik, inilah) are more a mix of news and lifestyle/entertainment news, and is a football site. I recall reading a report on the emergence of BRICI countries that showed in countries like India and China people use the internet to access financial news where global financial publications such as financial times and CNBC were top sites they accessed. Apparently that has not happened in Indonesia yet where lifestyle and entertainment still dominate internet news consumption.

Another top category was file sharing, so what sites do Indonesians use to get there hands on pirated content?


File sharing Rank
4shared 11
MediaFire 17
Ziddu 26 45 46
Scribd 58
Free Download MP3 Lagu Indonesia Gratis 61 72
Megaupload 102 105
Subscene 108
RapidShare 117 121
SlideShare 138
The Pirate Bay 158
iMesh 168
EnterUpload 173
File Hippo 178
Mp3Raid 193 204


What about online commerce? What are the preferred online retailers/services here in Indonesia?


Commerce Rank
Tokobagus 20 21
Apple Inc. 57
Bhinneka 66
eBay 71 87
OLX 93 99 167 177
Oriflame 190
Tokopedia 214


There still so much more information we can gather from this simple study. But if you’d like to dig around the data yourself, you can download the data set spreadsheet by clicking here –>

Thanks for reading!


Written by randomwalls

November 1, 2011 at 9:18 am

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