Google Japan Launches Minna no Business Online, Free Website Hosting For Small-Mid Business

Minna no Business Online (=business for everyone online) is a newly released web hosting service by Google in Japan, today on September 13 2011.

The site is, very different from typical Google web services, not under google domains but have its own jp domain (minbiz.jp), designed with vivid red, like the color which is used by the nation’s largest e-commerce mall Rakuten [J].

Features they post on the top page are:

  • Easy for everyone to build
  • Free for 1 year
  • Specialized designs for many industry categories
  • Your own domain

On your registration, you will be asked a new domain name you want to use, from the selection of “.jp”, “.com”, “.net”, “.org”, “.biz” and “.info”, which covers most top level domains Japanese companies usually choose.

You may choose about 100 different designs from 14 categories of industry. At the end of registration process, you need to receive an automatic phone call to get authenticated (that you are a real shop owner).

Google’s motivations for the service seem on 2 points. Firstly, this service will start charging after 1 year, for example with “.jp” domain, 1,470 yen (US$19) per month. The other part is the site guides the new website owners to its advertising platform, AdWords.

Google’s commercial film is up on YouTube,

“Free website building in 15 minutes”

The partner page shows that Google Japan is collaborating with some others. KDDI, 2nd largest cellphone carrier, and its subsidiary KDDI Communications who has been running website builder/hosting Jimdo in Japan. Actually, design choosing form on the Minbiz’s registration process is on Jimdo site.

Extra-governmental Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation and NPO IT Coordinators Association [J] are also on the partners list.

The first case studies are introduced on the site. There Google took a small island Kouzusima, and let some small business owners make their first websites.

via Google Japan Blog

Paperboy & co. goes public

18th November 2008, Japanese web hosting company Paperboy (J) (JASDAQ:3633) announced that the company will be listed to JASDAQ stock market on December 19th. Paperboy runs services like Lolipop (J), Heteml (J), and Jugem (J). Kazuma Ieiri started the business in October 2001 in Fukuoka. Paperboy is providing hosting services for consumers with very low prices.

Web hosting service ‘Lolipop’ offers a web space for 263yen ($2.6) per month. Domain name reseller ‘muumuu domain‘ (J) is providing dotcom domain with 950yen ($9.5) per year. Paperboy is a subsidiary of a global registrar GMO Internet.

In March 2005, Paperboy raised 128 million yen (1.28 million USD) from GMO Internet group with a 597 million yen (6 million USD) post-money valuation. GMO Internet group is one of the biggest Japanese Internet companies. In 2006, Ieiri sold 10% of Paperboy stocks to the GMO group.

Paperboy reported a revenue of 1.7 billion yen (17 million USD) for a FY2008. Its post-tax profit was 200 million yen (2 million USD). [1]

GMO Internet is the biggest shareholder of Paperboy, and has 59.6% of its shares. Ieiri has 38.4% share of Paperboy.

Kazuma Ieiri is known as a very funny person who is doing many funny projects. He released some web gadgets, including a Flash gadget which introduces items from his shopping site by a computer generated voice. Also Paperboy is operating a cafe called HI SCORE Kitchen (J) in Shibuya.

[1] FY2008 pre-tax profit was 356 million yen (3.56 million USD).

See also:
* A prospectus (J) (PDF)
* Kazuma Ieiri’s blog (J)

livedoor started “Geocities 2.0”

Japanese portal site livedoor announced today that they started a new free hosting service EDGE co. Lab.

Developers/entrepreneurs can get hosted servers from livedoor and run their web service without charge. The conditions are;

  • “Powered by EDGE” must be shown somewhere on the page
  • livedoor OpenID and (if possible) livedoor Auth API need to be supported on the user application

The site running on the EDGE server may get traffic livedoor portal, which is one of the Japanese portal sites chasing the giant Yahoo! Japan. livedoor portal has some competitive web services like Blog, News, Shitaraba(BBS), Cure(Cosplay social network, Engish/Japanese) and Clip(Social bookmark). The accepted websites also get scalability and server management consultation from livedoor staff.

The service could be a developers’ version of good old Geocities, or Japanese friendly Google Apps Engine, YAP or Ning, with more flexible programming language choice. Sakura Internet and Agilemedia Network is offering similar service Bloglabs from blog and social media point of view, Mashupedia.jp(vector) tried to provide free web app hostings for API/Mashup fans but failed to end this spring. The portal boasting their datacentre and scalability technology joined this field will attract more individual entrepreneurs/developers who has good ideas/apps but need help on resource and promotion.

The service name “EDGE” is the word used in a company name when livedoor was founded, at that time, it was “On The Edge” and renamed it when they bought free internet provider livedoor.