As some of you have already noticed, in the last few weeks The Reg has been running more locally-sourced stories in Australia-New Zealand. Our plans here are still in soft launch mode, but we think it's appropriate (possibly even overdue) that we give local readers a head up about them now.
For quite a few years now The Register has been writing stories about and/or from Australia. These - for some reason - often seem to play well with the rest of the world, and we've also noted that Down Under houses some of our more loyal and committed readers. We feel the love, and we deeply appreciate the fact that we're pretty well-read there without us having tried too hard.
So last autumn we decided we'd repay some of that by setting up a small Sydney-based sales and editorial operation, and by delivering a measure of localisation to our readers in Australia and New Zealand. Should we mention we also think we can make a profit out of this? Yes, we probably should. And we also think we can grow it, over time.
So what do we mean by "a measure of localisation"? Well, first and foremost we're not taking anything away from The Reg you're used to. We're currently using geolocation to identify local browsers (we've done this for the UK and US for some years now), and we're adding a few stories that will appear on the Australia-NZ front page, but not on the front page in the rest of the world.* We also have the ability to drop in locally important stories to the local front page lead slot, and into the local Top Stories slot.
At the moment, only two to three stories a day are restricted to the Australia-New Zealand front page, and while that might increase a tad, it won't do so vastly, for two reasons. First of all, we see The Reg as a global publication delivering information to a global audience. There are differences in that audience from country to country, but there's a whole lot more that brings it together than drives it apart.
Second, not all of the stories written by our local staff will necessarily be local-only stories. Some of them will be stories that are sourced locally but that are important to the rest of the world, and others will be industry stories that the local team happened to get to before either the San Francisco or the London office did. The Sydney operation is up before everybody else - what, we're not going to leverage that?
As I said at the outset, this is currently a soft launch. We'll probably tinker a little more with the mechanisms if we feel we can make improvements to the way we deliver relevant local content without it getting in the way of globally relevant content. And me might look at a few design tweaks to make the site stand out more when we formally launch the operation, in the next month or so. But we'll try to keep you tuned - questions? ®
* We're putting this on the front page as an Australia-New Zealand only item. However, some of you reading this may be pretty certain you're not there. Or indeed even in the same hemisphere. Geolocation errors and pesky proxy servers aside, there are several ways this could be happening. You could be reading The Reg via an RSS feed, Twitter or similar, and as we don't run territory-specific feeds (nor are we likely to), you're getting all the stories from everywhere. Similarly, if you're reading from The Week's Headlines (link near the bottom of the front page), you'll again get all the stories from everywhere.