Written by Sebastian Moser from Austria and edited by Richard MacManus
4.6 million internet users (a penetration rate of 56.8%) and a broadband penetration rate of 61.8%, Austria is a little bit above the average for the European Union in internet usage. Besides the Internet, 8 million people use a mobile phone - which means that just 200,000 people do not use a mobile phone. However even though there are a great number of people using the internet (or who own an internet-enabled mobile phone), there is no real Web 2.0 industry in Austria. Nevertheless, this will change in the years to come - primarily because of the immense potential of the mobile phone market in Austria.With
Top Web 2.0 projects
Jajah provides a web-based telephony-service. You don't have to download any software to use it, it is browser based and you use your normal telephone or cell phone for the calls. Recently, they started to offer a mobile version of their software, making telephoning via cell phones much cheaper. Few people know that Jajah's founders are from Austria. After a Sequoia investment, their offices moved to Luxemburg, the United States and Israel.
blogr is a new blogging platform, also run by knallgrau. It is ramping up with international versions - they've now launched Austrian, German, Swiss, Mexican, Spanish, English, Finish and French versions of the project.
Power Of Politics is an online game in which every player is a politician for one of Austria's communes. After every election, the parties have to find a coalition to create a government for each region, state and the nation. Based on their work and their election campaigns, the politicians try to get as many votes as possible during the weekly elections. The founders plan to offer the service to the whole European Union.
Event-Photography Social Networks
In Austria, there is a healthy market for social networks which are a little bit different from MySpace, orkut, Facebook and the other major Silicon Valley SNS. We concentrate a lot on event-photography, which means authorized photographers who take pictures when they go out. These pictures are then uploaded to the respective websites. Around this, social networks are built.
There are dozens of projects. I know of at least 7 projects, but 5 of them are active in my region. The two biggest projects are Szene1 and EventShooters.
[Editor's comment: I checked with Sebastian whether this is a mainstream or niche activity in Austria. Sebastian tells me it is mainstream - and also that he runs a small Event-Photography SNS which has 8000 members. However he said he is not affiliated with either of the Event-Photography SNS mentioned in this post.]
Szene1 is Austria's biggest event-photography social network. They have partnerships with many companies, for example a big Austrian bank. Currently, they have about 150,000 registered users.
EventShooters is the second-biggest network. Like Szene1, they provide everything from event-calendars to video- and picture-sharing. They have 174,600 members (at the time of writing), but less page views than Szene1.
MySpace and other multinational social networks will have a difficult job entering the Austrian market, because there are many local networks which are difficult to simulate or replace because of their regional character.
This isn't by any means an exhaustive look at the web market in Austria, so if you have more info to contribute - please add to the comments.
This post is part of Read/WriteWeb's continuing coverage of international Web markets. Other countries profiled so far have been Germany, Holland, Poland, Korea, United Kingdom, Russia, Spain, China, Turkey, Italy, Brazil, France, Japan and India.