Wednesday, September 13, 2006

SME Central - something for everyone online?

I just received an invitation to the launch of AsiaOne's SME Central. Whoever is behind their marketing has decided the right platform to be the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME).

Local Advertising

Undoubtedly, we are going to get a hyperlocal community portal. The invite mentioned something about online advertising opportunities for SMEs. For the longest time, AsiaOne's parent company, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), have not been able to get hold of SME advertising dollars. The reason is simple - the mothership newspaper ads are costly. Yes, we're talking about $30,000 - $50,000 for full page ads.

When SPH had it's freesheet paper - Streats - there were some attempts to get ad dollars from local businesses. But it has since "sold" the papers to its competitor in an effort for both media companies to stem losses.

Online presents a new opportunity. Already many SMEs in Singapore have dabbled with Google ads. The more savvy are reaping the returns. SMEs have been powering Google for ages. Why shouldn't SPH be powered by SMEs too?

Wait and See

It remains to be seen whether SME Central is going to make a big difference in the lives of SMEs. Being one myself, I am curious to see if this huge paper, run by individuals fed by a stable aristocratic company, can build something relevant and useful to me.

I'll update you guys after the launch.

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