Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
The fall-out from Yahoo’s decision to lay-off 2,000 employees has hit Asia and, most notably, Koprol, the location-based social network that it acquired in 2010.
The company has made redundancies within its developer pool in Indonesia, which sees the entire team behind location-based social network Koprol now forced to find employment elsewhere, leaving the service’s future unclear.
Yahoo was widely praised when it acquired the Indonesian-born service in May 2010. The move was seen as Yahoo opening itself to new opportunities, and focusing on the potential of Asia. While it wasn’t a like-for-like replacement for Foursquare, which Yahoo had reported bid for previously, the two are both mobile-focused location social networks.
Koprol was seen as having significant potential as Yahoo bought it at a time when location-based services were just beginning to take root in Southeast Asia, and it started life well.
While Koprol was initially battling on reasonably equal terms with Foursquare in Indonesia and other pockets of Southeast Asia, the service began to suffer last year. Criticised as being outdated and under-innovated, Foursquare’s growing global presence saw it win out across the region, despite Koprol supporting more devices and enjoying a local base.
Despite the slump, there has been recent optimism around Koprol however. TNW’s partner in Indonesia — Daily Social — paid the firm a visit to check out the newly refocused service, which is aiming to be a neighbourhood message board, but these lay-offs leave its future unclear.
More importantly, not only is Yahoo letting the development team behind Koprol go, the cost cutting initiative will see more than 20 developers depart its base in Jakarta.
Given the rise of Indonesia, these soon-to-be former Yahooers are likely to be in demand, and Koprol lead Satya Witoelar has even gone so far as to pull together a list of each of them, including details of their specialist skills and LinkedIn profiles. Anyone running or planning a business in the country would be advised to take a look.
Daily Social says the new version of Koprol is due to relaunch next month but, while the developers are likely to secure new positions, their departures leave serious question marks hanging over the service.
Koprol dodged a bullet when it wasn’t part of a list of services that will close down, as announced in January, but it remains to be seen how things will progress.
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