When we think e-mail and search engines, we usually think Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. In fact, I have only come in contact with very few people who still use Hotmail and MSN accounts in the United States. Granted, I am sure there are plenty out there in the United States who uses Hotmail and MSN, but we don’t hear much about MSN on Twitter or Facebook. It makes me wonder if people don’t pay as much attention to MSN because it an older form of e-mail. Well, although in America several users prefer Google to MSN, the fact of the matter is we are just a small portion of the world.

I went to Belgium in December and learned some fascinating facts to use for my International SEO white paper; almost every person I met in Belgium uses an MSN account. When I went to Amsterdam and congregated with three Brazilians for two days, I found out that they all use MSN as well. Now I am not sure why Brazil and Belgium use MSN, but they do. And if anyone wants to consider International SEO, they may want to discover what the main search engine and e-mail platform is in the targeted country, because there is a high chance is it MSN.

But it isn’t just Hotmail that is being used. Windows Live Messenger is still the number one platform in the world for chat. In fact, 300 people in 76 countries and 48 languages use Messenger every month. The top messenger users are:

  • 48% of all Internet users in Canada
  • 65% of all Internet users in Brazil
  • 39% of all Internet users in the UK

So how does MSN continue to be used throughout the world, yet not as much in the United States? According to MSN Messenger Tips, MSN Messenger is “partnering with around 74 other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.”   So although Google and Yahoo are some of our top search engines and messaging systems, MSN is still the top used service.

When you compare the MSN statistics to the Visualize Yahoo! map, you can see that most of Yahoo’s! activity in the United States is far more active than overseas. Granted, people overseas are still sending Yahoo! Mail, but not as many. And according to Hitwise.com,  in the Top Ten visited U.S. websites for the week ending on 1/28/2012, Yahoo! Mail comes in 4th place, Gmail in 8th place, and Hotmail in 10th place. So although Hotmail isn’t as popular in the United States, it still holds a place as the largest e-mail platform used. According to Yahoo! in 2011, “Hotmail is the biggest webmail provider with over 330 million unique users.” So Hotmail, now referred to as Windows Live Hotmail, is the leading e-mail platform.

It’s amazing what you learn when you travel. And maybe that is the main beauty of travelling. Seeing how other cultures interact with one another and how they function, while enjoying their déclassé, but most of all, taking something away from the experience that could contribute to your work back home. So, what I learned is that if you want to target international users, you must consider the fact that several other countries still use the MSN platform.

To see what we can do for your International Strategy, check out our International Marketing page.