Technorati in the US relaunched today, introducing a set of new features and a fresh overall look, and received a 2 million USD cash injection yesterday, but a few hours ago Technorati Japan has announced [JP] it will cease to exist as early as October 23. The move itself isn’t too surprising to many people in Japan’s web industry, but the speed with which Technorati Japan jumps into the deadpool is (that’s Thursday next week).
Technorati Japan is operated by Tokyo-based Digital Garage, a JASDAQ-listed company that also takes care of Twitter’s Japanese operations. But unlike Twitter, Technorati Japan is a separate entity that’s 70% owned by Digital Garage (there’s no “Twitter Japan” as such by the way).
And Digital Garage is in trouble: In fiscal 2009, net sales fell 13% year-on-year. Income only took a turn from red to black because of substantial Kakaku.com stock sales in May this year (180 million USD). Compared to 2008, the value of company assets were reduced by a whopping 25%. But there’s also a relation to Technorati in the US: In August last year, Digital Garage issued new shares to Technorati Inc., leading to a 30% ownership by the Americans (which cost them 700,000 USD).
Interesting factoid: Digital Garage itself mentions the word “Twitter” 21 times in its latest financial report (ENG, from August), while the word “Technorati” appears just two times. So even though they wrote they’ll try to move Technorati Japan “into different business areas in support of Twitter-focused efforts” (page 15), my guess is they knew what would come and they can now focus on making money with Twitter (no pun intended).
At least the closure of Technorati Japan probably makes another company happy: Technorati’s main competitor Kizasi, a Japan-only blog search engine and aggregation service (review), shouldn’t be too sad about the news.
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