Brazilians love to share

Top bloggers become top photo exhibitionists

By Paulo Rebêlo in Brazil
The Inquirer, Tuesday 17 February 2004, 10:15

ALL YOU NEED TO DO is open Fotolog’s web site in order to notice a mass domain of fotologs from Brazil. No one knows exactly why this happens.
As for number of fotologs (flogs), Brazil stands in the first place with 165,448 registered pages. It’s more than half of the full database, which totals 295,114 fotologgers. In 2nd place comes the U.S. with 19,051, about eight times lower. United Kingdom is way below, with 1,314 flogs.

Industry analysts usually say this could be caused by the digital cameras boom in Brazil, since recent researches show a ten-fold sales increase in 2003, when compared to 2002. Last Christmas, sales of digital cameras were up 170% over 2002’s Christmas.

But such figures aren’t enough. It’s evident that the digital camera is becoming common in countries like Brazil, it has already become a mere commodity in richer nations like the U.S. or the UK.

Moreover, one doesn’t necessarily need a digital camera to become a flogger. Since it’s all about uploading pictures, there are plenty of flogs carrying random images captured over the Internet and, often, scanned sketches and paintings.

It remains obscure what makes Brazilian users the top dogs of flogs. According to Fotolog’s officials, Brazilians are more outnumbered than we might expect. For example, there are many flogs registered as being held in Afghanistan that are updated by Brazilian people.

“Fotolog’s service is slow and most internet connections in Brazil are dial-up. This empire of Brazil’s fotologgers is funny and somewhat mysterious. Maybe we like to show off more? Who knows…” says Haidée Lima, a designer in Brazil who owns three different flogs.

With such success in Brazil, it’s now clear that Fotolog administrators are planning a commercial initiative in the country. What’s still unknown is what sort of business are they up to. For more than a month, Fotolog’s owners have been refusing to answer e-mails or agree to interviews. At least with us.

Meanwhile, new registrations are halted and an official announcement says that one of the owners is, “already working on closing a deal with potential partners in Brazil — something that is necessary to continue to support members there”.

Years ago, similar situation happened with blogs. Blogging became so popular in Brazil that, one of the biggest ISPs in the country, decided to customize a Portuguese version of Blogger, in partnership with Pyra Labs itself. It was and still is a huge success. µ

Paulo Rebêlo is a journalist in Brazil –