Running an Internet Web Site or Business in Thailand?

If you’re running an internet business based in Thailand right now

– Is this the place you ought to be?

I started out a couple years ago thinking that the internet space in Thailand is so ripe for some major projects. Some cities have fast service that’s consistent enough to use for movie and photo transfer, FTP’ing whole sites and other info. I started thinking about opportunities here. I moved over here to find out.

Then, the more I used the internet here the more I realized – wow, we are back in 1998 in Communist China.

Expats, please understand something… the Thai government and those that will soon be government (maybe) are feeling the pressure from the international community. Countries like Laos are laughing at Thailand right now because Laos’ government appears more stable and viable than does this one.

In the short-term future there may be a serious backlash against those of you that are running adult sites from Thailand. It’s easy to find you, Google and a WHOIS search will find 70% of you. The other 30% can be found by requesting site owner information from the registrar the site was registered at. We’re all guests here – any one of us can be given the boot back home whenever they choose to do so.

You may soon have your sites blocked in Thailand. They may pursue some charge against you. If you’re teaching you might find your work permit cancelled and you have a trip back to your home country.

Thailand is making it very difficult for foreigners to stay and thrive. By blocking Youtube for instance, they have killed a large part of my marketing for some of my sites. Not killed, but put a serious hole in it. I think the time might be coming over the next couple years where Thailand gets rid of sites like stickmanbangkok, mangosauce, and some of the forums and sites that talk extensively about how to find the dirty business going on in Thailand. They might make efforts to restrict the bar scene in Nana, Patpong, Patong, Pattaya…

I see an effort that appears like they are starting to think seriously about cleaning up their image. There are many Thai people overseas, either as visitors or living. There are those that have high-connections with the Thai elite back here in Bangkok. They read the newspapers in America. They see the news in France, England, Germany… The government is aware of their standing internationally… They used to be on a good footing. They used to almost have some respect. They’re quickly loosing everything though and I think there will be serious efforts to quickly bring the country to a state of balance starting with eliminating the negative influences that exist among us.

The Thais’ hate to lose face, and though they’ve lost more than they can regain in 20 years, they seem to have some ideas about how to gain it back…

The ministry of Tourism is really changing who they market to. I think they believe they can have John & Mary Smith and their 3.4 kids come over from Switzerland and replace the 5 sexpats that are sucking the face right off of Thailand and bragging about it on their blogs.

There is a serious concern with what information is allowed to get across the routers and come into Thailand.

They block WHOLE services, not just a video or two. They block all the blogs from blogger, not just a couple. Do you think they’d think twice about blocking Stickmanbangkok if they wanted to? Do you think they’d think twice because the farangs got all bent out of shape over it? I don’t think so. I think they might do it in the future just so they can gain some face internationally (at least on the surface). Is stickman contributing to the face of Thailand? I’d say not. Though many articles are geared toward explaining Thai culture through the eyes of the visitors, too many articles are focused on the sexpat nature of their visits and what can be found and had in Thailand that can’t be found and had in their own civilized country that has a lot of “Face”.

I think they might clean up – block 2000 or more sites in the future, and celebrate that they cleaned up the internet for Thailand and that Thailand will no longer be seen as a sexpat destination.

Maybe they’ll choose 2008 – with the next electorates in place, to revolutionize the whole country – start a 5 year plan to remove negative influences on Thai people and convert their tourist base from sexpats to Ward and June Cleaver types with their kids Wally and Beaver.

Are you SURE they won’t?

I’m not sure anymore. I don’t like the whole uncertainty that’s here. I don’t feel like I want to be a part of it here really.

I think now would be a good time for those with questionable sites and blogs to diversify a bit and get something else going as well. Focus another site or sites on something positive – something that won’t get closed down. Host your sites and blogs on a server that isn’t related to some major entity. Host your site and a mirror of it – that you can activate if you are blocked at one server IP address.

Think about redundancy because you may need it.

Already if you had posted all your marketing videos and efforts at Youtube you’ve likely switched to Google and others. Think along those lines for everything you do online – and have backup plans since nothing is really stable here anymore. Anything can change tomorrow.

I don’t feel comfortable here anymore and I’m not even locked in here with business interests, a home, property or anything else that would keep me here… I can imagine that some expats that have been here for 5+ years have some things they’d not like to lose.

Time to think about what you have here – and if you had to move back to your home country, what is the process you’d need to go through to do that.

Time to think about – if you lost your web site which is bringing you $500 usd or more per month and is a nice supplement to your income, how could you replace it, mirror it, change it to be acceptable, or ditch it and go with something else quickly, smoothly?

Time to think about what you say on your blog, on your site. I had read something about those that are referring visitors to see banned Youtube videos via proxy servers – are going to themselves be prosecuted. And yet, this morning I saw some posts that talked about how to go find a proxy – and named them. If you’re going to operate a forum or a blog that allows comments you’ve got to be watching things all the time.

Everything you write and say on your blog – or that others write and say will be judged if found. I don’t understand the judging process here as it’s totally subjective and at someone’s whim. I’d rather play it really safe.

Ok – anyway – just something to think about…

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at ThailandeBooks.com. There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.

1 thought on “Running an Internet Web Site or Business in Thailand?”

  1. Mainstream prostitution in Thailand will eventually wind down as more people there enter the middle class, the same thing happened in 1890-1930s USA, post WWII Europe, and more recently Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong. It’s just a matter of time.

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