Web 2.0 | 2008/12/09 23:59 | Web 2.0 Asia
Not surprisingly, personal tutoring for college prep courses is a huge business in Korea. For tutors and students alike, proximity matters. Gawemaster ("Gawe" means "tutoring" in Korean) allows user to search for tutors based on different criteria, including their location. This is a case of map API mashup - in fact, Gawemaster won the first place (in terms of site traffic) in a recent Daum map mashup contest.
Gawemaster is a brokerage service between students (mostly highschool students prepping for college test) and tutors. Tutors enter data relevant to tutoring, such as what college they went to (or go to now), foreign language proficiency, tutoring experience (in years), monthly rates sought after, etc. They can also put up their pictures as well as other personal profiles - I guess good looks are always a plus, even in the world of tutoring.
The service has some rough edges, but it does work. Maybe a service like this can be filed under "only in Korea" category, given personal tutoring for highschool students isn't all that common/popular in other parts of the world. Even if that's the case, there is still some takeaways here, I think - If you are a local web entrepreneur, you probably want to start from where your local market needs are (in this case, personal tutoring for Korean highschool students), and think about how cutting-edge web technologies such as API mashups can be used to help addressing such local customer needs. This will be a better long-term strategy than to quickly copy a Valley service and roll out a local version, especially now that the so-called web 2.0 is maturing and therefore creating another Xing or Xiaonei (i.e. early copycats) may no longer be as easy or effective.