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Mixi IPO day 2 review (and my latest swipe at TechCrunch) September 15, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in Internet, IPO, IT, Japan, TechCrunch.
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After posting a price of JPY2.95M at the beginning of the day and dipping as low as JPY2.56M in the early afternoon, the stock rallied to close at JPY3.12M, which translates to a valuation of JPY219B, just shy of $2B. Trading volume was 10,203 shares.

With approx 25% of shares held by VCs who aren’t subject to lock-up, it is certainly likely that there won’t be any supply side problems. It’ll be interesting to see if the 2 VCs offloaded a substantial portion of their holdings today.

Given this is the world’s first SNS IPO, and probably the biggest “Web2.0” exit thus far, it is surprising that TechCrunch haven’t felt this is a matter worth covering. You’d think that with their “Japanese Editorial Team”, they would have their finger on the pulse…..

Yes, this is my latest dig at TechCrunch regarding their reticence about giving us more details about TechCrunch Japanese, especially since they have not replied to my two emails. Maybe the problem is that I actually wrote to editor-jp@techcrunch.com in Japanese…. Maybe I’ll be bothered one of these days to redraft the letter in english and send it to Michael Arrington directly. Perhaps he is actually unaware of the fact that such an inquiry has been lodged with the “Japanese Editorial Team”. But then again, Gen Kanai did say his comment on TechCrunch regarding this issue was deleted…. Not the way I would have expected a self-proclaimed “Web2.0” blog media outfit to have handled this situation…..
Anyway, for those that read Japanese, here’s the original email I sent out…..

TechCrunch日本語版編集部殿、

はじめまして、TechCrunch及びTechCrunch日本語版の一読者の福重と申します。

いくつか質問がありますので、ご回答頂ければと思います。

1.TechCrunch日本語版編集部について

TechCrunch日本語版も開始から早二ヶ月以上が経ちました。

日本語版開始当時にMichael Arringtonに「TechCrunch本家や仏語版は記事の作者や翻訳者が明記されているのに、日本語版では翻訳・編集に関わっているメンバーの顔が見れず、Web2.0を題材にし、さらにブログフォーマットのメディアとしては違和感を覚えるが、どのように考えるか」と質問した経緯があります。その際、Arrington氏は立ち上げで多忙だが、いずれこの点に関しては対処するとの回答を頂きました。( Arrington氏曰く:”I totally agree that the “team” needs to be announced and hopefully it will soon. Let us just take our first steps.”)

しかしながら、既に何の変化も無く、2ヶ月以上経過しております。

先日英国版が発表されましたが、

本家では:

“TechCrunch UK is obviously not a translated blog like TechCrunch France and TechCrunch Japan (although both of these blogs have lots of original content as well).”

となっているものが日本語版では:

“TechCrunch UKはTechCrunch France TechCrunch 日本語版のようなTechCrunchの翻訳サイトとは明らかに異なるもの。”

となっています。

(TechCrunch(仏)は夏季休暇中ので該当記事が未掲載)

括弧内の文章を削除する編集行為は文章全体の意味合いを変えるものであり、単純な翻訳作業を大きく超えています。単純な翻訳作業だけでなく、編集作業を手掛けている現状を踏まえると、日本語版編集者の顔を見せることにより強い必要性を感じます。

・日本語版チームの発表が出来ない理由が何かあるのでしょうか?

・今後日本語版の編集に関わっているメンバーの紹介を行う予定はあるのでしょうか?

そもそも、日本語版には”lots of original content”があるのでしょうか。日本語版を読めない英語版読者向けの誇大広告のように映ってしまいます。(これは日本語版編集チームの問題ではありませんが)

ちなみに、日本語編集者の匿名性に関して知人がTechCrunch(US)へ書き込みましたが、このコメントも削除されましたので、この度公開質問状としてメールで送付すると同時に小生のブログにて公開させて頂きます。ご返信の際は、返信内容を公開されたくないようでしたらその旨明記願います。

2.TechCrunch日本語版の今後の活動内容について

Web2.0分野では日本でも動きが活発です。独自コンテンツの作成を通して日本の技術力を世界へ発信するメディアとしてTechCrunchネットワークは絶好のポジショニングを確立していると思っており、ご活躍を期待しています。

現時点では海外版の記事の単純翻訳(+一言コメント、これも多くは日本ユーザ向けと言うよりは業界に詳しくない人向けの補足情報のレベルと見受ける)だけと断定せざるを得ませんが、日本独自の観点からの追加取材、検証等を行い、日本のユーザやデベロッパーにより意味のある記事を期待したい。(例えば米国では先進的なサービスと紹介された場合、果たして日本でも前例の無いサービスなのかなどの追加情報があると便利であり、これらの情報は原文へフィードバックして反映されることにより、原文記事もより質の高い物になる。また、記事内には類似サービスが挙げられている場合も、日本版では国内サービスも列挙されてもいいと思う)

・日本語版独自コンテンツの作成や上記のような追加取材・検証のご予定はありますでしょうか?
(事業戦略上、公に出来ない事柄もあろうかと察しますが、教えていただける範囲内でなんらかのコメントを頂ければと思います)

重ねて申し上げますが、TechCrunch(含む日本語版)にはWeb2.0業界の中核的なメディアの役割を期待しています。ブログもWeb2.0も根底には共通する「会話」という基本要素が存在します。まずはその精神に則って、編集作業に携わっている皆様のご紹介をお待ちしております。

また、文中の他の質問へのご回答も合わせてお待ちしています。

I really don’t have anything against TechCrunch, honestly. They provide a valuable service to the community of users who are interested in the whole “Web2.0” phenomenon/trend/revolution/fad/bubble/whatever. However I happen to think that it seems to be such a waste to have a Japanese team and then not cover what is what would be a pretty big deal for “Web2.0” (if social networking is “Web2.0”, and I think the consensus is that it is) if there was an SNS IPO (or billion dollar exit of any nature in the Web2.0 arena) in the US.

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Comments»

1. Gen Kanai - September 16, 2006

Bravo!

Mike- where’s our “original content” for the Japan site? Where’s our introduction to your vaunted “Japanese editorial team” ?

2. matt - September 16, 2006

awe man, I just heard Mike speak at his Carson Workshop presentation yesterday – had I known this was an issue I would have asked him what the deal was!

3. Payara-Confessor - September 16, 2006

流石慎ちゃんだ・・・記事ながっ!:-)

4. Michael Arrington - September 19, 2006

hah! I agree with everything in this post actually. The fault is all mine, not the Japanese editorial team. We should have covered this on techcrunch.com as well.

5. fukumimi - September 19, 2006

Michael,

It is all well and good that you stand up to take the blame for the oversignt, but I am assuming this is in reference to the fact that Mixi wasn’t picked up at TechCrunch.

However, I can’t help but feel that this is symptomatic of a fundamental problem with TechCrunch Japanese.

Contributors to TechCrunch and its French and UK counterparts identify themselves. They all create original content, as well as introducing (translated) content from HQ as appropriate. (as far as French is concerned)

Having had a look at TechCrunch Japanese’s archives, there have been a grand total of 2 comments (from one person, and neither have had a response) and 2 trackbacks in the whole of September.

I can’t help but think that the lack of activity is related to the anonymity and the inability to function independently. A situation where comments left in Japanese have to be translated into English for a response (which is then translated into Japanese again, probably) doesn’t sound like a viable plan for a thriving community. (Of course, the fact that the translations whilst acceptable (give or take the weird mistranslation or two) have a rather mechanical quality probably doesn’t help.)

The Japanese Editorial team should be taking a more visible role, and to do so the team requires people who live and breathe “Web 2.0”, understand what it is about, and have a solid set of opinions which they should be willing to voice.

The team’s unwillingness or inability to do so thusfar would indeed seem to be a misjudgement on your part (for selecting such a team who did not already have the required skills/outlook to feel like a part of the TechCrunch brand from day 1), but I would have thought 3 months is more than enough time for the team to get up to speed and embrace the TechCrunch ethos, and the fact that they do not appear to have done so is in my opinion a failing of the team rather than of the person who selected them.

To be blunt, the Japanese content doesn’t feel like it is being managed (or to be exact, just translated) by people who share your passion.

Much of TechCrunch’s value comes from the many comments left by readers who share that passion, and as yet that value remains very much inrealised for the Japanese version.


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