In Brazil, Blog Is Beautiful

by

Paulo Rebêlo
Wired News
September, 2002

Weblogs certainly have a worldwide audience. Still, no one’s quite sure what makes them so hot in Brazil.

One of the leading countries in registered blogs at Blogger, Brazil has recently gotten its own local version of Pyra Labs’ creation — translated into Portuguese and complete with additional features, such as file upload and drafting.

Hosted by Globo.com, the Internet arm of Rede Globo — Brazil’s biggest TV and entertainment network — the Brazilian Blogger registered 16,000 users in its first week in late August, Globo officials said.

Although Globo’s offering is the first international version of Blogger, it’s not the first Brazilian blogging service.

As soon as blog fever took hold, iG — the only survivor of the free-ISP boom in Brazil — launched a blogging site called BliG. According to Alessandra Blanco, iG’s director, the year-old service has about 45,000 registered weblogs.

Add to the mix Brazil’s homegrown blogging service, Weblogger, founded in August 2001 by four computer enthusiasts.

Despite a few initial glitches, Weblogger has grown quickly. The service has more than 100,000 users and adds about 1,000 new blogs a day, said Iglá Lear Generoso, business director for Weblogger.

But what started as community fever has become a media tug-of-war among ISPs. Brazil’s Terra Lycos Network recently announced a hosting partnership with Weblogger. (Terra Lycos is Wired News’ parent company.)

“We already offer additional services for our users, so it’s more than logical to go after the blog boom,” said Caíque Severo, new business director for Terra Brazil. “It’s only a hosting partnership, but users may expect better resources and services for their blogging activity.”

According to company officials, blogging services from Terra, Globo.com and iG should remain free for the foreseeable future.

Rather than a new revenue stream, the goal instead is to increase audience. All three companies may have visions of toppling Universo Online (UOL), the No. 1 Brazilian portal.

According to July statistics from Ibope/Netratings, Globo.com has the third-largest audience in Brazil, after UOL and iG. Terra Lycos is fifth, after Yahoo Brazil.

Daniel Pádua, author of blogchalking, thinks the scramble to increase market share by going after bloggers is nonsense.

“These people should be concerned about bringing more and more people to the Internet, instead of attracting those who already are (online). About 90 percent of our population is offline,” said Pádua, a Web producer in Belo Horizonte.

But that may just happen. It’s fairly well-known that, besides soccer and Carnival, Brazil is also a country addicted to soap operas (known as novelas) — and Globo TV produces almost all of them.

“Globo has something that no other portal has: a huge communication empire with a great capacity for mobilization,” said Fabiano Denardin, a Web producer in São Paulo.

Globo.com has already created three blogs for the main characters of its newest novela The Vampire’s Kiss. The actors are supposed to refer to the blogs on camera to drive viewers to the Web.

For Daniel Rego Barros, who claims to have broken the news about the Terra Lycos/Weblogger partnership in his personal blog, it comes down to who maintains the best service.

“Blogs are here to stay; it’s not a simple hoo-ha,” he said. “If Globo or anyone else doesn’t provide the necessary support and quality for its users, they will surely migrate to a different service.”