Batuhan Apaydın: Could you talk about yourself and what you did before joining Yonja Media Group?
Dilawar Syed: Before joining Yonja Media Group, I was working as the manager of strategy and operation in Yahoo’s platform and infrastructure unit. Prior to that, I contributed to the realization of many products in Siebel and SAP companies in the software industry. In the early days of my career, I worked as a consultant in companies such as Ernst & Young and Deloitte.
As the CEO of Yonja Media Group, Yahoo’s global approach model, product-oriented working style of Siebel and SAP, and the organizational experience I gained in Ernst & Young and Deloitte have contributed to me. With this experience, I work to consolidate Yonja Media Group’s leadership in the market and take it further.
B.A: What has changed for you to start working with Yonja on a local basis after your global work on Yahoo? What motivated you to be the CEO of Yonja Media Group?
D.S.: Yahoo is a global company. What we did at Yahoo was always for a global consumer base. That fact can not be called a job transition in Turkey.
Turkey is located at the peak of the market worldwide. What struck me the most was the dynamism of the country and the potential of the market. Yonja is one of the success stories of this country. I believe that with our experience in the local market and our communication with Silicon Valley, we will add new ones to our successes with the innovations we will bring to the sector.
B.A: You have been working with Yonja Media Group for about two years. What has changed in terms of Yonja Media and its products under your guidance during this time frame?
D.S.: We have repositioned our flagship brand of our company to ensure its success within the Facebook Social System. We have expanded our brand in areas such as mobile connectivity, content and location sharing. On the publishing services front, we help companies like Zynga create their local market earning strategies with our own tools.
More importantly, Turkey’s leaders are moving in a very aggressive manner in order to create a social web companies. We started a joint venture with FırsatBuFırsat, one of the most serious rising values in the sector in social trade. Social Trade will be one of our main strategic priorities in 2011. We will announce some exciting developments in the coming months.
We recently reached an agreement with Tiger Global for a new financing period, and we will continue to grow and scale with the additional resources we have obtained.
B.A: What does the existence of Facebook mean to you against Yonja.com? Facebook has been in local markets for more than three years, and like many other local market leaders, Yonja.com is among those affected. Do you see Facebook as a competitor?
D.S.: Yonja is a tool that complements Facebook. After Facebook, we have redefined our position. Now Yonja focuses especially on new friendships. We have also integrated with Facebook using Facebook plugins and thanks to this investment, we receive a significant part of our traffic from Facebook.
B.A: Yonja Media Group gives the impression that it focuses on the local market with the services of Yonja.com, Firsatbufirsat.com and Notpaylas.com. Is there a turn to the global market among your future plans?
D.S.: We can predict term, Turkey will continue to maintain its priority market for us.
B.A: Although companies are still investing in the traditional market, connecting to the internet from mobile devices is becoming more effortless and cheaper every day. This reveals a serious online advertising potential. What do you think about this environment change in advertising?
D.S.: Online media is evolving, and it has become imperative that publishers keep up with this evolution simultaneously with the changing needs of the advertising industry. In recent years, we have clearly observed the transition from pure branding effort in marketing preferences to performance-oriented marketing – where you earn through user reaction to advertising – so the mobile market is gaining great importance.
B.A: As someone who has a voice in this field, what are the trends that you expect to stand out in the world in terms of social media in 2011?
D.S.: In 2011, we will see that service delivery through social media continues to gain momentum. What we have seen in the past years in the fields of social games, friendship and marketing will be followed by developments that will take place at different levels. As Yonja Media Group, we will support our pioneering and leading role in the social media direction of this development with our initiatives in different directions.