12 May 2012
On a World Wide Web, sometimes your customers come from unexpected places. Let's take the dating web site, Ignighter (now called Step Out) as an example. Set up by a group of New Yorkers, it was founded in 2008 and, after an advertising blitz, by the end of that year had 50,000 registered users in the USA, which wasn't really enough for "critical mass".
In April 2009, the marketing manager noticed that there was a lot of traffic to the site from Singapore, Malaysia, India and South Korea. By June, they had more visitors from India than any other Asian nation. In January 2010, Ignighter made the decision to re-launch itself as an Indian dating site. It gains the same number of Indian users a week as it gained in America in its first year. (Read more about Ignighter.)
If Ignighter had only been coded with single-vendor prefixes and browser-sniffed to work only on iPhones, it probably wouldn't have been able to grow like this, as that's a highly aspirational product in India where it costs many times a professional's monthly salary. But it was a website, capable of being looked at on the feature phones that are so widespread in Asia.
Obviously, there's no guarantee that you'll have similar success if your website works across browsers and across devices. But if your website doesn't, it's pretty much guaranteed that you won't be able to develop a market in the fast-growing economies of India and China, where 40% of the world lives.