On Naver's Japanese site [naver.co.jp] there's an announcement [forum.naver.co.jp] that they will stop their Japanese service as of January 31, 2005. They will continue to offer their portal and blog services, but the search engine will stop. The announcement lists the following services will be stopped:
Animation and sound search
Live keywords (PPC?)
Although it's not mentioned in the announcement, the assumption behind the closure is that the Naver service has never been able to make much of a mark for itself in the Japanese search market. They have always been a minority player in this market and have never even come close to market leaders Yahoo, Google and MSN. It is somewhat surprising that Naver Japan made it this far at all given their sub-par performance since the late 90's. It is however unfortunate that Naver is leaving this market as it whittles down the number of active crawling SEs for Japan.
LOL, I wasn't even aware that Naver HAD a Japan division. In any case their 'impolite' (and even sneaky) spiders have been banned by many a webmaster - I wonder to what extent this played a role in Naver's 'low efficacity' - and demise?
I suppose Yahoo is still #1 in Japan. Which in itself is odd compared to Yahoo's popularity in the rest of the world : )
The number of webmasters who have banned Naverbot is extremely small, particularly in Japan. I doubt that played any part in the matter at all.
Naver in Japan has always been known more for its portal. Their ties to Korea are fairly obvious, and there may be some elements of discrimination at play here as well. The relations between Japan and Korea haven't always been rosy. At the moment there's a Korea boom going on, but this has not always been the case. There are people who wouldn't touch this site simply because of its Korean associations. I really don't have anything more than anecdotal evidence to support this idea, but I'd bet that this played a lot bigger role than a handful of webmasters banning a robot.
Yahoo Japan is also a very dominant player in this market. Their name is known to almost every person in Japan. Naver is only a small niche player here. I get the feeling they are taking this time to regroup and come at the Japanese market from other angles.
...there is a fair amount of animosity between the Korean and Japanese markets for sure. One could call it ignorance - and worse.
As for Naverbot being banned by many a webmaster - that I gleaned from my reading here. For sure that particular bot ignored robots.txt and would even try getting past .htaccess blocks in using different user info - could be spoofing but the bad behaviour ticked a lot of people off by what I read. I ended up banning the bot because I could find no info about my (Japanese-language) site in their search engine.